- Millions of people who buy individual health insurance policies and get no financial help from the Affordable Care Act are bracing for another year of double-digit premium increases.
- Opioid addicts are now using pets to prescription drugs like opioids for themselves from their veterinarians. And now states are bounding into action to prevent pill-popping puppy-owners from treating their furry companions as enablers.
- When the U.S. Congress returns from summer vacation on Tuesday, for the first time in years gutting Obamacare will not be the main order of business on the healthcare agenda.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 8th of September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
Millions of people who buy individual health insurance policies and get no financial help from the Affordable Care Act are bracing for another year of double-digit premium increases, and their frustration is boiling over. Some are expecting premiums for two thousand eighteen to rival a mortgage payment. What they pay is tied to the price of coverage on the health insurance markets created by the Obama-era law, but these consumers get no protection from the law’s tax credits. Instead they pay full price and bear the brunt of market problems such as high costs and diminished competition.
On Capitol Hill, there’s a chance that upcoming bipartisan hearings by Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican from Tennessee and Patty Murray, Democrat from Washington , can produce legislation offering some relief. But it depends on Republicans and Democrats working together despite a seven-year health care battle that has left raw feelings on both sides. Buying health insurance has always been a challenge for people getting their own policies outside the workplace. Before “Obamacare,” insurers could turn away those with health problems or charge them more. Former President Barack Obama sold his plan as the long-awaited fix.
About seven point six million people buy individual health insurance policies, and half of them get no subsidies under the law, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. The number of unsubsidized customers with ACA plans outside the health insurance marketplaces dropped by twenty percent this year, after the big premium increases.
Opioid addicts are now using pets to get drugs for themselves from their veterinarians.
And now states are bounding into action to prevent pill-popping puppy-owners from treating their furry companions as enablers. Veterinarians don’t typically prescribe some of the most commonly abused opioids, like oxycodone and fentanyl, but do dispense other heavy drugs like hydrocodone, a semi-synthetic opioid often used to treat nagging coughs in dogs, and alprazolam or Xanax, an addictive benzodiazepine used to treat household animals for anxiety stemming from thunderstorms, fireworks and vacuum cleaners.
In recent years, as the opioid crisis in the U.S. has worsened, vets say they’ve seen an increase in the number of patients who are making repeated visits to their offices in search of such drugs, prompting some states to add them to a list of prescribers required to report suspicious activity.
The first sign that usually suggests something is amiss is when a pet-owner comes in and asks for a drug by name. In two thousand sixteen a record three hundred seventy six people died of a drug overdose in Maine— helped prompt Republican Governor Paul LePage to sign into law late last year a measure that required any professional who can prescribe drugs — including veterinarians — to check a statewide database called the Prescription Monitoring Program before writing prescriptions for opioids and benzodiazepines.
In April, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed into law a similar bill, requiring veterinarians to flag pet-owners who they have reason to believe are committing drug abuse. Like Maine’s measure, the law allows veterinarians to use a statewide electronic prescription drug monitoring program in order to search the pet-owner’s name.
When the U.S. Congress returns from summer vacation on Tuesday, for the first time in years gutting Obamacare will not be the main order of business on the healthcare agenda. But leftover hard feelings in the wake of the long, partisan Obamacare wars could poison other issues.
Among them will be a measure to keep federal funding flowing to an insurance program that helps millions of children and pregnant women. The Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP must be reauthorized by a vote of Congress by September thirty. If that does not happen, the program is expected to run out of money.
Another issue will be stabilizing the individual insurance market created under the two thousand ten Affordable Care Act, former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement. In recent months, the Trump administration has worked to undermine it and insurers have raised premiums by double digits or exited the market. Republicans in Congress spent six months trying to make good on a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare, also a top campaign promise by President Donald Trump, while Democrats remained unanimously opposed. The effort, which has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, ended with a dramatic failed Senate vote in July, leaving the law in place, but damaged.
Trump’s administration has moved to undercut Obamacare, slashing its advertising budget by ninety percent and backing off enforcement of the so-called individual mandate, the requirement that everyone purchase insurance or pay a fine.