Healthcare Roundup—Opioid package heads to Trump's desk; deductible and premium hikes eat employees' wage growth

Addiction
A massive package of legislation aimed at addressing the nation's opioid addiction crisis is heading to the president's desk after passing the Senate on Wednesday. (Getty/BackyardProduction)

Massive opioid package heads to Trump's desk

The Senate passed a massive package aimed at addressing the nation's opioid addiction crisis, sending the bill to the president's desk on Wednesday.

The opioid package includes more than 70 bills, including the STOP Act to halt illegal drugs at the border. The legislation would allow the Food and Drug Administration to require prescription opioids to be packaged in set amounts and would support the development of nonaddictive drugs for pain.

It also includes something called Jessie's Law, named after a Michigan woman who died of an opioid overdose, which would ensure that doctors have access to a consenting patient's prior history of addiction as they make treatment decisions.

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The legislation also lifts limits on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities, the Hill reported. (The Hill

Employee healthcare costs continue to rise as premium and deductible hikes exceed wage growth

Premiums in employer-sponsored healthcare plans continued their seven-year trend upward, widening the gap between employee healthcare costs and wages.

Family plans saw premiums rise 5% this year to an average of $19,616, while individual premiums increased 3% to $6,896, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

KFF's Employer Health Benefits survey, released on Wednesday, noted that these premium hikes are close to, but still larger than, workers' wage increases and inflation—2.6% and 2.5%, respectively. Such increases have consistently outpaced wages and inflation, reducing employees' buying power overall.

FDA to include cybersecurity ‘bill of materials’ in medical device premarket guidance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing an update to premarket guidance for medical devices that would recommend that manufacturers provide a list of internal hardware and software to help providers respond to cyberattacks.

The change, which would recommend that device companies submit a “cybersecurity bill of materials,” is one of several efforts by the agency to help hospitals better respond to a cyberattack involving medical devices. The list would include commercial and/or off-the-shelf software and hardware components of the device.

The “significant update” will be published in the “coming weeks,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said in a statement earlier this week. (FierceHealthIT)

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