Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP considers opioid funding in ObamaCare repeal | AARP targets six GOP senators | Supreme Court rules may speed marketing of lower-cost 'biosimilar' drugs

Overnight Healthcare: Senate GOP considers opioid funding in ObamaCare repeal | AARP targets six GOP senators | Supreme Court rules may speed marketing of lower-cost 'biosimilar' drugs

Senate GOP considers adding opioid funding to ObamaCare repeal bill

Senate Republicans are considering adding funding for opioid abuse treatment to their ObamaCare repeal bill, according to senators and aides.

The move appears aimed at easing concerns about the effect on opioid addiction treatment that could come from rolling back ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid, which currently plays a major role in providing coverage for such treatment.

But it's unclear how much funding would be included and whether that could meaningfully fill the gap.

Read more here.


Supreme Court rules to speed marketing of lower-cost 'biosimilar' drugs

Manufacturers of copycat "biosimilar" medical products will be able to bring their drugs to the market more quickly, after a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday.

The court in Sandoz v. Amgen ruled 9-0 in favor of generic drugmaker Sandoz in a dispute with rival company Amgen. The court ruled that manufacturers of low-cost biosimilars don't need to wait an extra six months after FDA approval to launch their product. The ruling is expected to save consumers — and the U.S. health system — billions of dollars.

Sandoz is the generics arm of the drug company Novartis.

Read more here.


Iowa proposes plan to stabilize its insurance market

Iowa is asking the federal government to let it alter parts of the Affordable Care Act in an effort to entice insurers into selling plans in the state.  

The state has proposed a “stopgap measure” in the face of the possibility that it may not have insurers willing to sell plans in its individual insurance marketplace. At least one carrier, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has said it would re-enter Iowa’s individual marketplace and offer plans in all of the state’s 99 counties if the measure is approved “in a timely manner.”  

Two carriers, including Wellmark, exited the marketplace earlier this year. The two remaining — one of which only sells plans in about five counties — hadn’t yet committed to selling health plans in Iowa’s insurance marketplace for 2018, a decision affecting 72,000 of the state’s residents. 

Read more here.


AARP targets six more GOP senators with seven-figure ad buy

AARP is ramping up pressure on senators to vote against provisions in the House-passed ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill that the influential lobbying group says would hurt older adults. 

It's launching another seven-figure television ad buy that will run as long as the Senate healthcare reform debate lasts. It’s targeting six more GOP senators than a previous ad buy in May.

The new senators include Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst (Iowa), Rob Portman (Ohio), Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (Tenn.), and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.).

Read more here.


Conservative groups ask Senate to repeal ObamaCare taxes

Conservative groups are demanding the Senate repeal all ObamaCare taxes in its healthcare reform bill.

In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), 45 groups, led by Americans for Tax Reform, called on the Senate to repeal nearly 20 taxes created under ObamaCare. 

"Recent media reports suggest that the Senate may be wavering on repeal of these taxes. This would be a mistake," the letter reads

Read more here.


Sanders trolls GOP over lack of hearings on ObamaCare repeal

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday took to Twitter to mock Senate Republicans for the process behind their ObamaCare repeal bill.

“BREAKING: Senate Republicans just released the schedule of hearings, committee markups and public testimony for their health care bill,” Sanders tweeted with a photo of a blank piece of paper.

A number of Democrats have criticized the Senate GOP for the handling of its healthcare reform legislation. 

Read more here


What we’re reading: 

Senate GOP won’t release draft health bill (Axios)

Obamacare is in real danger (Vox)

A drugmaker tries to cash in on the opioid epidemic, one state law at a time (NPR)


State by state: 

Medical responses to opioid addiction vary by state, analysis finds (Kaiser Health News)

In Texas, Abstinence-Only Programs May Contribute To Teen Pregnancies (KERA)

Nevada moves closer to a landmark Medicaid-for-all healthcare model (Los Angeles Times)

Arizona's 'Obamacare' insurers to stay put in 2018 (The Arizona Republic)

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