Health Policy News March 2018

This month’s edition focuses on efforts underway across the country to protect consumers from rising prescription drug costs and reduce or cap state drug spending. Health Policy News subject matter experts released a special report and legislative tracking tool outlining state and federal efforts, along with suggestions for states on how to approach this high profile health policy issue.

As a complement to our reporting on prescription drug costs, we include a summary of the March 6th Center for Disease Control report highlighting the impact the opioid crisis is having on emergency departments across the country. This report includes action steps both state and local personnel can take in order to reduce overdose deaths and emergency department opioid related usage.

At the time of publishing this month’s edition, many discussed policy developments remained in flux at the federal level. Regulators across the country continue to await the final annual Marketplace guidance – the Final Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters and the Final Letter to Issuers in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces for 2019. Additionally, the long-discussed market stabilization package was not included in the federal spending legislation that just passed and it remains uncertain whether it will move independently or through a different vehicle. At the same time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did just issue a proposed rule that would exempt states from requirements to analyze and monitor access to care in the Medicaid program under certain circumstances. HPN subject matter experts are closely monitoring all of these pending developments. Stay tuned for further updates.

As always, you can contact us at for more information on any of these pieces.

Tackling Rising Prescription Drug Costs – a report on state and federal efforts

On March 29th, subject matter experts from Health Policy News held a webinar and Q&A to discuss efforts at the state and federal level to address the rising cost of prescription drugs. Many states are in the midst of their legislative cycles, with the issue of rising pharmaceutical costs on agendas across the country. This webinar coincided with the release of a legislative tracking tool and report – “Rising Prescription Drug Costs: A report on state and federal efforts to contain costs“. To read the full report along with the legislative tracking tool click here.

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CDC issues new report on the growing opioid crisis

On March 6, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report which shows that, over the period of July 2016 – September 2017, hospital emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose as much as 70 percent in certain areas of the country. This report outlines action steps that local and state emergency personnel and health officials can take to reduce the strain on emergency departments related to opioid abuse, as well as reduce the amount of opioid related overdose deaths. To read the full summary and CDC report click here.

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