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HEALTH ACTION NETWORK - ADVOCATES FOR BETTER HEALTH CARE SOLUTIONS

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This Week in Health Care Reform - August 7th, 2015

With pharmaceutical sales projected to reach new heights, the spotlight shines even brighter on drug spending; meanwhile, the telehealth market also finds itself poised to explode; and, tax-filing issues could prove to be costly for millions of Americans.

 

Week in Review

Pharma Sales: With new heart, cholesterol, and cancer drug cocktails already threatening to obliterate the health care cost curve, rumors abound that we may soon see the first drug in this country with a seven-figure price tag.  Developed by Spark Therapeutics, the gene therapy for blindness, called SPK-RPE65, is still undergoing testing, but owing to its promising trial results, has some experts projecting a $1 million asking price.  With so many health care dollars now flowing to the prescription drug market, it’s no wonder that pharmaceutical sales are poised to hit $1.3 trillion by 2018.  Having now firmly established that Gilead Science’s $1,000-a-pill hepatitis C treatment, Sovaldi, released last year amidst a tidal wave of price warnings, was more harbinger than outlier, a growing chorus of voices is calling for systemic change in drug manufacturers’ pricing model and a new focus on drug spending. 

Telehealth Market:
Whatever your reservations may be, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to deny that telehealth has a transformative role to play in our health care system’s future.  It’s already shown the ability to increase access, while decreasing costs.  Now, through the use of predictive analytics and big data, the introduction of technology in the health care equation has the potential to revolutionize the solution to some of the biggest challenges still plaguing our system.  Hardly a surprise, then, that many expect the telehealth market to maintain its upward trajectory in the coming years.

Subsidies Jeopardized:
Tax-filing discrepancies threaten to jeopardize subsidized health care coverage for the 1.8 million Americans that received financial help to purchase that coverage last year.  At issue, filers’ confusion with how to properly fill out their tax forms, which saw many of them file those returns without having properly accounted for their health coverage.  Without those attestations, they could easily be deemed ineligible to have received those subsidies in the first place, putting them at risk for losing them next year.

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We encourage you to stay involved as implementation efforts surrounding health care reform progress.  Visit the Health Action Network and be sure to let us know what's on your mind.


 

Looking Ahead

California and Texas face changes and challenges as they get further down the road of implementation.  And, a new analysis projects that health care spending – as a share of the overall economy – will continue to accelerate


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