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Rising drug prices, changing health care pay models likely to dominate in 2018 | Ionia Sentinel Standard

Many of the biggest issues in health insurance in 2018 took root last year: Skyrocketing prescription drug prices. Big changes in the way we pay for health care. The fate of the Affordable Care Act.

Here is a breakdown of stories that are likely to develop throughout 2018:

Drug costs: Prescription drug prices continued surging in 2017. Spending by the pharmaceutical industry on lobbyists, patient groups and politicians significantly increased, too. There’s a connection, one we will likely be talking about again.

How to combat rising drug prices is not a mystery. Many experts over the years have offered recommendations, including a recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which advises Congress.

Among the ideas: limit direct-to-consumer advertising by drug makers, allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare patients, get generics to market more quickly, provide greater transparency for consumers on drug pricing, and establish limits on the total annual out-of-pocket costs paid by enrollees in Medicare Part D plans that cover prescription drugs.

“Many medical conditions that were long deemed untreatable can now be cured or managed effectively. Yet this success has come at a cost: Spending on prescription drugs has been rising dramatically, to the point that many people have difficulty paying for the drugs that they or their family members need,” the report concluded.

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Rising drug prices, changing health care pay models likely to dominate in 2018.