It’s been nearly five years since President Trump signed into law the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), was intended to make hearing amplification devices much cheaper and more readily accessible. The Act gave the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) three years to formulate a guidance proposal and an extra six months to collect comments and issue final guidance. Then COVID got in way. Or was it bureaucratic inertia that got in the way. Perhaps it was both.
Ever since Obamacare became law, my colleagues and I have been writing about a race to the bottom in the exchanges – where health plans try to attract the healthy and avoid the sick. The result: people with serious health problems are being denied access to the doctors and hospitals they desperately need.
Matthew Holt at The Health Care Blog writes:
Critics (notably ex CMS veterans Berwick & Gilfillan) claim that risk adjustment games played by the private plans who run Medicare Advantage have cost up to $200bn over 10 years. Medpac (the independent body that advises Congress) estimates that “Medicare spends 4 percent more for MA enrollees than it would have spent if those enrollees remained in FFS Medicare” …. However data from the Medicare Trustees and other research from ACHP & the trade group Better Medicare Alliance suggests that Medpac’s analysis is incorrect and that Medicare Advantage saves the government about 9% per enrollee.
An advisory committee at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently voted against fast-track approval for an experimental drug to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. You can watch the committee meeting, and learn more, in this post.