Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump issued an executive order that aims to increase low-cost insurance plans, allow employers to help employees to purchase their own insurance, and consolidate the insurance and hospital industries, according to Kaiser Health News. Despite the potential immediate impact, Trump’s order will not affect the upcoming open enrollment period for 2018. The executive order allows numerous government agencies to loosen rules related to association and short-term health plans, which tend to be less costly than more regulated plans, according to Kaiser. Critics report that this may pull healthier Americans out of Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans and result in higher premiums for those who remain in these plans.
Trump also disclosed plans to get rid of subsidies for ACA health plans, which are given to lower-income individuals, according to The New York Times. In addition to the recent executive order, this plan may increase premiums and drive individuals away from more regulated ACA plans. Without subsidies, insurers said they would be forced to increase premiums or have to withdraw from the marketplace, according to the article. The White House said that the government is not authorized to provide subsidies and decided to cut the funding. Previously, both Democrats and Republicans urged the president to continue paying subsidies, the Times reported.
An FDA panel recently endorsed a novel gene therapy for a rare, progressive form of blindness that affects children, according to NPR. After testimonials from physicians, parents of patients, and those helped by the treatment, the panel issued a unanimous recommendation. While the FDA is not required to follow the panel’s recommendation, it typically has in the past. The cost of the novel gene therapy may reach up to $1 million to treat both eyes, but the manufacturer said they would help patients access the drug, according to the article. If approved, the gene therapy would be the first approved treatment for the condition and the first approved gene therapy for the eyes.