By Claire Vernon, PhD and former NPHR editor
- You have undoubtedly seen the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) summary  of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the House GOP’s proposed Affordable Care Act replacement legislation. The CBO predicts major health coverage losses through Medicaid, the individual market, and employer-provided coverage. Even before the CBO review, the American Medical Association rejected  the new legislation based on its expected reduction in health care, which runs counter to the AMA’s objectives for health reform.
- The projected reduction of Medicaid care proposed in the AHCA would particularly damage reproductive health. Removing all Medicaid reimbursement from Planned Parenthood, even for one year, would undercut a major source of family planning care for low-income women that is not likely to be adequately filled by other providers like health departments or federally qualified health centers. This concern is supported by the poor expansion of care by an alternative provider in Texas despite increased funding.
- Last week, Dr. Scott Gottleib was named as the pick for FDA commissioner. Support for his nomination was voiced from both political sides; although he envisions aggressive reforms, they would not go so far as to remove the requirement that a drug be efficacious. The idea that the free market will automatically weed out ineffective drugs does not hold true, and several researchers recently argued that dropping efficacy requirements doesn’t make economic sense.
- New reports from the WHO underscore that a healthy environment is critical for human health, particularly for young children as over 25% of deaths in children under age 5 can be attributed to unhealthy environments. Elements of unhealthy environments include high air pollution, poor water sanitation and hygiene, and hazards such as drowning and poisoning.
 AP Newswire. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HEALTH_OVERHAUL_GLANCE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-14-04-00-24 Accessed March 14, 2017.
 AMA Wire. https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/physicians-reject-house-aca-replacement-bill Accessed March 14, 2017.
 Guttmacher Policy Review, Adam Sonfield. https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2017/03/why-protecting-medicaid-means-protecting-sexual-and-reproductive-health Accessed March 14, 2017.
 Guttmacher Policy Review, Kinsey Hasstedt. https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2017/01/understanding-planned-parenthoods-critical-role-nations-family-planning-safety-net Accessed March 14, 2017.
 AP Newswire. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HEALTH_OVERHAUL_PLANNED_PARENTHOOD_TEXAS_TXOL-?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-03-14-07-24-42 Accessed March 14, 2017.
 The Hill. http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/323725-trumps-fda-pick-faces-questions-over-drug-industry-ties Accessed March 14, 2017.
 Science Magazine. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/heres-what-likely-new-fda-director-has-mind-nations-medicine-cabinet Accessed March 14, 2017.
 Nature News. http://www.nature.com/news/show-drugs-work-before-selling-them-1.21582 Accessed March 14, 2017.
 WHO News Release. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/pollution-child-death/en/ Accessed March 15, 2017.
Cover Photo by Kaboompics via Pexels: Creative Commons