Posts filed under Heathcare

LANDRY: Allowing Louisianans To Make Their Own Healthcare Choices

Opinion by Jeff Landry, Attorney General of Louisiana

 Source: Parish News Acadiana

Source: Parish News Acadiana

Recently, I participated in a national TV interview on CNN regarding an important lawsuit. I joined this lawsuit with 17 other Attorneys General and two Governors on the legality of the Affordable Care Act. It is an important topic.

Unfortunately, while our lawsuit is focused solely on the rule of law, the television producers used my time on air in a farcical attempt just to attack the strategy and get a soundbite. Though I anticipated some sky-is-falling hysteria that has become a staple of extremists when discussing the ACA, I felt strongly someone needed to get the truth to CNN’s flailing audience.

That truth is the Republican state officials who signed onto this suit are resolved in our efforts to fight unconstitutional policies, and we understand that the remains of the unconstitutional ACA need to be dismantled before their inevitable collapse does any further damage to families and businesses.

Rising costs, undesirable plans, and declining choices have been the status quo since the 2,300-page ACA was forced onto the American people. While a fortunate few in Louisiana may finally see, for the first time since 2011, less painful premium hikes – we know something different must be done to reduce the crippling financial burdens and to ensure our people can once again have the freedom to choose their own doctors.

But make no mistake about it: those involved in the lawsuit are not attacking sound law based on its policy failures. Policy decisions are for the Legislative Branch, which is something the Governor and his allies had to learn the hard way when I became Attorney General.

The ACA is unconstitutional. When the Supreme Court ruled on NFIB v. Sebelius – they found the individual mandate unlawful on its own, but legally permissible if attached to the federal government’s taxing authority. And since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has been signed into law, the tax penalty has been removed and the mandate now stands alone.

The hoops that the Supreme Court jumped through to uphold the individual mandate telegraphed the true extent of the ACA’s constitutional problems. Now that those hoops have been removed, the rule of law must prevail and the ACA must fall. This should be welcomed by all who cherish the Constitution and support our great republic.

If our lawsuit is successful and the ACA is removed from the books, states will be allowed to implement their own healthcare plans for their own citizens. Maine may be able to employ its previously preempted framework; Nebraska may realize the full potential of its direct primary care option for state workers; and most importantly, Louisiana – through our Legislature – would be free to enact rules and restrictions without fear of conflict pre-emption. In essence, Louisiana could use a system that works for Louisiana.

While I, like the overwhelming majority of my fellow Republicans, believe those with pre-existing conditions should be protected; I know that decision is up to our Legislature. If our lawsuit is successful, our own Legislature will craft future regulations and policies. Our own Louisiana House and Senate can work on better solutions to our healthcare problems, right here in our State. I stand ready to assist them.

As I have done since filing the lawsuit in February, I will continue discussions with our legislators. And as I have always done, I will keep fighting against government overreach and keep doing all that I legally can to make Louisiana an even better place to live, work, and raise our families.

Jeff Landry is the Attorney General of Louisiana. Originally from St. Martinsville, General Landry holds a Law Degree from Loyola University, he is a veteran of Desert Storm, and a former member of the United States House of Representatives.  www.agjefflandry.com

Source: Allowing Louisianans To Make Their Own Healthcare Choices


Posted on October 5, 2018 and filed under Heathcare, Jeff Landry, Louisiana.

Fix The 340B Program

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In recent weeks, the 340B program has resurfaced as a topic of interest for policymakers and patient advocates alike. As the Alliance for Integrity and Reform of 340B (AIR340B Coalition), we are encouraged that much of this interest is geared toward ensuring the sustainability of the program for the future and strengthening it to make sure it serves vulnerable or uninsured patients. However despite this recent increased interest in the program, it is still relatively unknown.

The 340B drug discount program was created to help certain health care safety-net providers that serve a large number of uninsured or otherwise vulnerable patients reduce prescription drug costs by requiring drug manufacturers to provide deep discounts on medicines. For example, the 340B drug discount program provides discounted drugs to community health centers, cancer hospitals, children’s hospitals, and clinics for Indian Health, HIV/AIDS, Black Lung, Hemophilia, and Tuberculosis.

Our Coalition’s diverse membership is indicative of our goal to make improvements that lead to better health outcomes for the neediest patient populations. The AIR340B Coalition is comprised of patient advocacy groups, clinical care providers, and biopharmaceutical innovators, and we believe in preserving the intent of the 340B program. When Congress created the program in 1992, it was relatively small and targeted only toward those entities that truly served the most needy patients. Few hospitals participated in the program at first and initially the clinics and hospitals that participated predominantly focused on serving vulnerable or uninsured patients who truly could not afford to access prescription medications.

Since then, poor oversight and lack of clear program rules have led to a rapid expansion of the program. It is not clear, however, that vulnerable or uninsured patients are the beneficiaries of this expansion. Today, DSH hospitals, which are only about 9 percent of 340B entities, represent 80 percent of sales associated with the 340B drug discount program, and they are rapidly expanding. One source of this expansion is the increased use of 340B discounts by hospital-acquired outpatient clinics. These clinics are often in wealthier areas than the 340B hospitals but, once acquired, are able to obtain 340B discounts, even though they do not share the hospital’s obligations to treat uninsured patients. Another concerning source of growth stems from a 2010 change to the program that vastly expanded the role of for-profit retail pharmacies in the 340B program. Hospitals are allowed to partner with an unlimited number of these pharmacies, which then share in 340B profits. A recent Office of the Inspector General study that scrutinized these arrangements found many of the hospitals required uninsured patients who filled their 340B prescriptions at retail pharmacies to pay full price for their medicines.

Recently, POLITICO looked at the top seven hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, of which more than half are 340B, and found that those hospitals’ charity care fell by 35 percent between 2013 and 2015 while their combined revenue increased by $4.5 billion. Further, more than one-third of 340B disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) provide charity care that represents less than 1 percent of their total patient costs.

We believe many covered entities are providing critical services to uninsured or vulnerable patients, but at the same time, studies show that there are a number of hospitals taking advantage of the program with little to no benefit to patients.

As a Coalition, we believe there are several ways the program could be fixed to ensure it meets its original intent. We suggest three key areas for change:

1. Define a 340B Eligible Patient: The 340B statute clearly states that covered entities are not permitted to provide 340B discounted drugs to individuals who are not their patients. Unfortunately, that has proved difficult to enforce at 340B hospitals due to a lack of clarity regarding the definition of a 340B eligible patient and hospitals’ complex operating structures.

2. Tighten Hospital Eligibility Standards and Curb Incentives for Consolidation: Tighter rules around which hospitals and patient eligibility are needed to ensure discounts are targeted to facilities truly serving the uninsured or vulnerable. Also changes are needed to curb the financial incentives driving 340B hospitals to acquire community-based physician practices, particularly given the substantial increase in health care costs associated with the site of care shifting from physician offices to hospital facilities in the last decade.

3. Restrict Contract Pharmacy Arrangements: Under current guidance, all covered entities are permitted to contract with multiple outside, for-profit retail pharmacies that share in the profits from the 340B program. New policies are needed to address the dramatic growth of contract pharmacy arrangements between 340B entities and for-profit, retail pharmacies.

We look forward to fixing the 340B program by working with Congress, the Administration and other stakeholders to ensure the program is sustainable and achieves its intended goal of helping the neediest patients access the care they need through federally-funded clinics and true safety net hospitals. If you are passionate about preserving and strengthening the 340B program, and want to learn more about the work that AIR340B is doing, please contact info@340breform.org.

Source: Fix the 340B Program

Posted on September 9, 2017 and filed under Heathcare.

Bernie Sanders’ Bill Would Make Painkiller Epidemic Worse

 Photo source: LA Times

Photo source: LA Times

Meghan Hynes has had to learn to work quickly in recent months.

She manages AAC Needle Exchange in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she and her staff provide clean needles, packages of naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses, and other needs for those addicted to hard drugs.

Sometimes, drug addicts receive their fresh needles and don’t even leave the office before locking themselves in the bathroom and shooting up. And as Hynes told NPR, some of them can’t make it to the door afterward.

“Recently we had a guy leave the bathroom, and all the color just drained from his face, like immediately, and he just turned blue, ”Hynes said[1]. “I’ve never seen anyone turn blue that fast. He was completely blue and he just fell down and was out—not breathing.”

When she bent down to try to pump his heart, she couldn’t. He had been hit with “wooden chest,” in which “your chest just seizes up,” Hynes said. “You literally have paralysis, and that’s obviously really dangerous, because if someone needs CPR, you can’t do it.”

The wooden chest spread, and soon the man also had lockjaw. His mouth would open but only a tiny bit, which meant Hynes could barely even help with rescue breathing.

Hynes did succeed, and the man did survive. But across the United States, junkies are dying because the drugs they’re buying on the street are not what they think they are.

Increasingly, they are laced—or even promiscuously mixed with—fentanyl, a painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than heroin. Police nationwide say people are buying what they think is heroin or oxycontin. But with fentanyl mixed in, the drugs are much more powerful than users anticipate, and many aren’t ready.

Hynes tells her clients to stick with dealers they know, and always use with a buddy because the overdoses come so quickly.

It is the fentanyl that caused the man in Hynes’ office to collapse instantly and for his chest to seize up and almost prevent his rescue.

And it is fentanyl that is changing the complexion of emergency room overdose treatment nationwide. Fentanyl deaths climbed more than 400 percent in Philadelphia from 2014 to 2015[2]. They climbed nearly 700 percent in the two years from 2014 to 2016. Four people died from fentanyl overdoses in Cincinnati in 2013. In 2014, the total was 124.

Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from neighboring Vermont, which has had its own fentanyl problems, has proposed legislation that could cause the amount of this extremely dangerous drug to grow exponentially on America’s streets—all so he could fashion himself the enemy of drug manufacturers.

[See the other side of this argument, ‘Wrong: Cheap drugs from Canada won’t heighten opioid crisis,’ here][3]

Sanders’ legislation would make it legal for Americans to order prescription drugs from pharmacists outside the country. It is sold as a cost-cutting measure—on the theory competition from foreign pharmacies would bring down prices.

But most who have studied the issue say it brings little in the way of real savings, and what little savings does occur must be weighed against broad new challenges to the security of the supply chain for prescription drugs in the United States.

As Leona Aglukkaq, former health minister of Canada, has pointed out[4], a recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found 85 percent of the drugs supposedly imported from Canada did not in fact come from there, but rather 27 other countries.

Moreover, fentanyl is made in Mexico and China, and neither Canada nor the United States has the resources to make sure drugs exported from those nations match their labels.

Derek Arnson, former police chief in Nogales, Ariz., on the Mexican border, said Sanders’ bill would encourage a boom in fentanyl production drug cartel-plagued Mexico and thus “vastly increase the flow of illegal narcotics and counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl into the United States.”

Moreover, drug companies won’t take this lying down—they can limit sales of drugs to countries, such as Canada, that would be likely to export drugs to the United States, and can respond by limiting the sale of drugs in certain countries known for exporting to the United States, such as Canada, creating shortages in those countries.

“The rising prices for drugs are not sustainable in this country, and there’s a major concern for affordability,” Joshua Sharfstein, a former deputy commissioner at the FDA now at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg for Public Health told theWashington Post[5]. “That’s why people are seriously considering these sorts of solutions.

“But I’d like to think we could have a more rational approach that doesn’t require what is, in effect, a massive workaround.”

An unintended consequence of Sen. Sanders’ idea is that some people will use this system to drive to Canada to fill “prescriptions” for fentanyl to mix with illegal drugs. When politicians pitch the cost savings for consumers of importing drugs from other countries, they tend to gloss over the serious consequences of a major policy change.

Brian McNicoll, former senior writer for The Heritage Foundation and director of communications for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is a conservative columnist based in Reston, Virginia.

Source: The American Conservative  

Posted on June 26, 2017 and filed under Democrats, Heathcare.

Boustany on Rate Hikes: “All Our Worst Fears About ObamaCare Are Coming True”

Congressman-Charles-Boustany.jpg

Dr. Charles Boustany issued the following statement after news reports surfaced showing millions of Americans who have signed up for health insurance plans under ObamaCare will likely experience double-digit rate hikes in November.

Boustany said: “All our worst fears about ObamaCare are coming true. The President said you could keep your plan and your doctor – that’s been rated ‘Lie of the Year.’ The President said rates would go down, but instead rates have gone up. Now rates are projected to spike again by November.

“As a doctor, I know working families in Louisiana just can’t afford ObamaCare. We need a Senator who doesn’t just talk about how terrible this law is. We need a Senator who can actually get something done about it. As Louisiana’s next U.S. Senator, I’ll make sure ObamaCare is a distant memory, and I’ll work on policies that will actually lower costs and increase access to high-quality care for Louisianians.”

Last month, UnitedHealth Group announced it was pulling out of the ObamaCare exchange in Louisiana after an internal review showed the company expects to lose more than $1 billion nationwide in the exchanges for 2015 and 2016. UnitedHealth represents 13% of Louisiana’s 214,000 enrollees in the ObamaCare exchanges.

Dr. Boustany is the author of the largest legislative defeat to ObamaCare to date. Boustany wrote the bill and built the coalition in Congress to repeal the CLASS Act – an $86 billion budget-cooking scheme in ObamaCare even former Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted was “totally unsustainable.”

Read more: Obamacare's November surprise

Posted on May 3, 2016 and filed under Charles Boustany, Heathcare.

Boustany Announces Iberia Parish Healthcare Grant

(Lafayette, LA) – Dr. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $3,546,420 Health Center Cluster Grant to the Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center in New Iberia, Louisiana. The grant program provides funding for community health centers in rural and underserved areas.

Boustany said: “As a doctor, I know the health of Louisianans in rural communities depends on access to high-quality healthcare close to home. This grant supporting healthcare services in Iberia Parish will help improve outcomes for patients and improve public health in the surrounding areas.”

Win Against Planned Parenthood Yesterday in the US Senate

 Photo source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

The Planned Parenthood provision to strip taxpayer funding from the House budget reconciliation bill survived hostile amendments yesterday to refund. Louisiana Family Forum sent an appeal to the U.S. House and Senate regarding this issue.

Louisiana Senators David Vitter and Bill Cassidy both voted to defund Planned Parenthood.

Per LFF, the following was achieved with this victory yesterday:

"It not only defunds Planned Parenthood, but it redirects that Federal money to women's health care organizations that provide far greater health benefits to women than Planned Parenthood ever provided, not just because they do not provide abortion, but rather because they offer far more services than Planned Parenthood does, and are more readily available then Planned Parenthood is."

We can only hope this is a sign of more good things to come in the pro-life movement.  Planned Parenthood's vision of the slaughter and sale of body parts is the exact reason why the taxpayers should not be funding this organization and why those resources should be focused elsewhere for women's health.

Bill Banning Gender Based Abortions Pass Louisiana House

 Photo source:  Louisiana House

Photo source: Louisiana House

An abortion banning bill introduced in the regular session by Lenar Whitney (R-Houma) has passed the full House.  The bill, known as the Prenatal Non-discrimination Act, would ban abortions based on gender in the State of Louisiana.  Only two members of the House, both Democrats, voted against legislation that would ban the selective abortion procedure that has been done in overseas countries to females in the womb.  For a party that trumps "women's rights", both of these members should be ashamed for not supporting this legislation.  They are Helena Moreno of New Orleans and Marcus Hunter of Monroe.  Their House web pages are here and here

The full vote roll call can be found here.

Posted on May 15, 2015 and filed under Heathcare, Louisiana.

Louisiana Republican Delegation Support H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

 Photo source:  Wall Street Journal

Photo source: Wall Street Journal

In what amounted to a party vote, H.R.36 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was approved by the House of Representatives today and was supported by all of the Louisiana Republican delegation.  A roll call of the vote can be found here.

Vitter Stands Alone in Fight Against ObamaCare in Committee

 Photo source:  National Review

Photo source: National Review

In no clearer example of the collusion between the parties in DC, we have this.  Republicans, working along with Democrats on the Small Business Committee, voted to stop an effort by Sen. David Vitter to subpoena Congress’s application to the District of Columbia’s health exchange.

It is apparent that the games being played in DC are to the benefit of the political class, much to the grand words that are spouted to the citizens of this country.

Read more: How Five Republicans Let Congress Keep Its Fraudulent Obamacare Subsidies

Posted on May 14, 2015 and filed under Heathcare, David Vitter.

Boustany Comes Out in Support of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act - H.R.36

Congress is currently considering legislation that would place limitations on abortions, a bill known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  The purpose of the legislation is as follows:

Prohibits the abortion from being performed if the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater, except: (1) where necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury, excluding psychological or emotional conditions; or (2) where the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the result of incest against a minor, if the rape has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency, or if the incest has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to an appropriate law enforcement agency or to a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse or neglect. Permits a physician to terminate a pregnancy under such an exception only in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive, unless that manner would pose a greater risk than other available methods would pose of the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, excluding psychological or emotional conditions, of the pregnant woman.

Congressman Charles Boustany (LA-03) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of the bill.

Posted on May 13, 2015 and filed under Heathcare.