Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.
Recently, 2 fundamental aspects of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) pharmaceutical market oversight have become controversial. First, the FDA created and increasingly uses expedited development and approval pathways, emphasizing greater reliance on postmarketing drug data.1 Some argue that approval standards are becoming inappropriately low and postapproval evaluation too lax. (Kesselheim et al, 1/22)
With many states expanding Medicaid eligibility, individuals leaving jail or prison are now often able to enroll in health coverage upon release. It is increasingly clear, however, that coverage alone is insufficient to address the often complex health and social needs of people who cycle between costly hospital and jail stays. (Guyer, 1/11)
The longest-ever government shutdown will soon enter its fifth week. The shutdown has disrupted much more than government services like airport security screenings or tax return processing. Thousands of American families and their children now face mounting instability and hardship. (Abare, 1/18)
Medication treatment (MT) is one of the few evidence-based strategies proposed to combat the current opioid epidemic. We examined national trends and correlates of offering MT in substance use treatment facilities in the United States. According to data from national surveys, the proportion of these facilities that offered any MT increased from 20.0 percent in 2007 to 36.1 percent in 2016—mainly the result of increases in offering buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone. Only 6.1 percent of facilities offered all three MT medications in 2016. Facilities in states with higher opioid overdose death rates, facilities that accepted health insurance overall (and, more specifically, those that accepted Medicaid in states that opted to expand eligibility for Medicaid), and facilities in states with more comprehensive coverage of MT under their Medicaid plans had higher odds of offering MT. The findings highlight the persistent unmet need for MT nationally and the role of expansion of health insurance in the dissemination of these treatments. (Mojtabai et al, 1/7)
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