Trending News Today: Congressman Urges Hearing on Proposed CVS-Aetna Merger

A ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is calling for deeper scrutiny of the proposed merger between CVS and Aetna, according to The Hill. The merger agreement between CVS Health and Aetna has a transaction value of $77 billion and would combine CVS’ thousands of pharmacy locations and pharmacy benefit management services with Aetna’s insurance offerings. Rep Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) wrote a letter to the Energy and Commerce Committee chair Rep Greg Walden (R-OR) asking for a hearing on the potential ramifications of the deal. “As the business of healthcare continues to morph, it is critical that Congress closely examine the changing relationships among healthcare entities and the impact these changing relationships have on the way healthcare is delivered in this country,” Pallone wrote in the letter, according to the report.
 
A potential bipartisan fix to address the impact of a repeal to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate as part of the tax reform plan approved by the Senate last week may not gain approval from GOP legislators in the House. The Wall Street Journal reports that the fate of a bipartisan bill that moderate Republicans pushed for to offset some of the impact from the repeal of the individual mandate remains uncertain. Some top moderate Republicans supported the Senate tax reform bill in exchange for a promise to pass a bipartisan measure to lower premiums. However, the move may not gain enough support to pass in the House, and experts are concerned the mandate repeal will likely cause premiums to spike.
 
Researchers are exploring a potential strategy to address the ongoing opioid epidemic starting in the hospital setting by limiting the amount of painkillers patients are prescribed post-surgery, according to Kaiser Health News. In a study published by JAMA Surgery, the authors recommended early interventions with patients about proper use and the risks associated with opioids. “We’re trying to prevent addiction and misuse by making sure patients themselves who are receiving opioids know how to use them more safely—that they are getting a more consistent amount and one that will reduce the risk of them getting addicted,” study author Jay Lee said, as reported by Kaiser.
 



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