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Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Family Foundation

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s website, kff.org, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License which allows for the sharing of our information with proper attribution and without alteration.

While health care was not central to the 2016 Presidential campaign, the election’s outcome will be a major determining factor in the country’s future health care policy. A number of issues have garnered media attention, including the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), rising prescription drug costs, and the opioid epidemic.

Health insurance premiums on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces (also called exchanges) are expected to increase faster in 2017 than in previous years due to a combination of factors, including substantial losses experienced by many insurers in this market and the phasing out of the ACA’s reinsurance program.

During the Medicare open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, beneficiaries can enroll in a plan that provides Part D drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) as a supplement to traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage drug plan (MA-PD), which provides all Medicare-covered benefits including drugs.

KEY FINDINGS:
  • In the wake of the news about the increase in cost for the Epinephrine injection, the majority (77 percent) of Americans say prescription drug costs are unreasonable, up slightly from 72 percent a year ago.

Overview of Medicare Spending

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for 57 million people ages 65 and over and people with permanent disabilities, helps to pay for hospital and physician visits, prescription drugs, and other acute and post-acute care services. In 2015, spending on Medicare accounted for 15% of the federal budget (Figure 1).

Zika is a virus transmitted primarily by mosquitos; it can also be spread through sexual contact, from mother to child, and via blood transfusion. In 2015, Zika was reported for the first time in the Western Hemisphere. Zika infection during pregnancy has been linked to microcephaly and other serious birth defects.

Reproductive health is an essential element of women’s healthcare. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) greatly expanded coverage for these services for millions of women.  Access and availability of abortion services and federal payments for contraceptive providers, however, have emerged as key issues in this year’s presidential election.

In recent years, the use of prescription painkillers for nonmedical purposes, as well as drugs derived from opium (such as heroin), has emerged as a major public health issue. In 2013, 1 in 20 nonelderly adults used opioids for nonmedical purposes.

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