What we know about the Supreme Court’s ACA case

November 11, 2020
Today, we take a deep dive into news from the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Also, a look at America’s plastic problem—and how biotech can help. (790 words, 4 minutes)    P.S. It’s Veterans Day. Thank you…
BIO

Today, we take a deep dive into news from the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Also, a look at America’s plastic problem—and how biotech can help. (790 words, 4 minutes)   

P.S. It’s Veterans Day. Thank you to our veterans and your families for your service. Learn more about how we’re working with the VA to accelerate COVID-19 research and improve veterans’ access to clinical trials.

 

What we know about the Supreme Court’s ACA case

 
 

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here’s what we know about the case so far and what the outcome means for the biotech industry.

The case: Brought to the Supreme Court by the Trump administration and Attorneys General from several Republican states, California v. Texas challenges the constitutionality of the individual mandate and calls for the entire law to be struck down. 

With a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, it's thought that the individual mandate could be at risk.

However: “Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, one of the three justices on the court appointed by President Trump, both signaled they disagree with arguments from Republican-led states that Obamacare should fall if its individual mandate is deemed unconstitutional,” reported CBS News.   

“If the Court strikes down the ACA in its entirety, 20 million people would lose health insurance, a variety of protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be eliminated, and an extensive set of policies affecting Medicare, Medicaid, prescriptions drugs, and other parts of the health care system would be reversed,” explains Brookings

A few other things would happen if the Court strikes down the entire law:

The Medicare Part D “donut hole” coverage gap would be reopened—creating chaos for seniors, insurance companies, and manufacturers. (The ACA eliminated the “donut hole.”)

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) would be eliminated. Both President Obama and President Trump used CMMI to drive proposed changes to Medicare payment policies.   

This would also strike the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), which creates an approval pathway for biosimilars. 

Without BPCIA, “[n]ew approvals would immediately cease, and the status of 28 biosimilars currently approved would be uncertain,” explains Brookings. “Manufacturers of the approved products would not know if it was legal to continue making their products, pharmacies would not know if they could legally dispense them, and patients would not know if they would continue to have access to them in place of higher-priced brand name biologics. Moreover, further litigation on this question seems likely, extending the period of uncertainty.”

So, what’s next? “[T]hough the majority of justices on Tuesday appeared unlikely to side with the Trump administration and red state arguments that the entire law should be struck down, the uncertainty will hang over health care markets possibly through spring. And if Republicans keep control of the Senate and the law is struck down, Democrats’ hopes for passing a replacement would be quashed,” says Yahoo! News.
 

More Health Care News: 

FDA: FDA offers guidance to enhance diversity in clinical trials, encourage inclusivity in medical product development
“This guidance offers recommendations on how product sponsors can improve clinical trial diversity by accounting for logistical and other participant-related factors that could limit participation.” 

STAT News: The story of mRNA: How a once-dismissed idea became a leading technology in the COVID vaccine race
“There are about a dozen experimental vaccines in late-stage clinical trials globally, but the ones being tested by Pfizer and Moderna are the only two that rely on messenger RNA.”

The Hill: Fauci says he trusts Pfizer, will take vaccine if FDA approves it
“Asked by MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell whether he would take the vaccine, Fauci replied, ‘Well, I'm going to look at the data, but I trust Pfizer, I trust the FDA. These are colleagues of mine for decades, the career scientists.’”

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 

America’s first…in plastic waste

 
 

The United States is the world’s #1 producer of plastic waste, finds a new study from Science Advances. Clearly, it’s time to scale up the production of bioplastic.

The United States produced 42 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2016—nearly TWICE the amount of the next two highest countries, India (26.3 million metric tons) and China (21.6 million metric tons), says National Geographic’s report on the study.

Less than 10% of it is recycled—and a lot of it was exported to other countries, including China. 

Yeah, recycling is good, as we’ve said before—but we need other solutions to fully address the problem. 

This is yet another example of the need to scale bioplastics—recyclable and biodegradable plastic alternatives that look and feel like the bad stuff but are made of renewable chemicals and waste

As we build back from COVID-19, let’s think about supporting the bioeconomy and biotech solutions like bioplastics—which can create jobs and economic growth while providing a solution to help clean up the environment and reduce our impact on animal and human health.    

Learn more about bioplastics.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

The New York Times: COVID infections in animals prompt scientific concern
“Mink are not the only animals that can be infected with the coronavirus. Dogs, cats, tigers, hamsters, monkeys, ferrets, and genetically engineered mice have also been infected.”

 
 
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook
 
 
BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
Paragraph (sm) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus vel facilisis sample link.
 

President Trump’s Wednesday: Observing Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery. 

President-Elect Biden’s Wednesday: The Biden-Harris team launched a transition website, and announced agency review teams

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Yesterday, Senate Appropriations released 12 proposed funding bills for FY2021; links to the text, explanatory statements, and highlights are available on the committee website. Meanwhile, Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were reelected as leaders of their caucuses, though control of the Senate is still TBD.

 
 
Paragraph (normal) - Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida. Risus commodo viverra maecenas accumsan lacus sample link.
 
Twitter
 
LinkedIn
 
Facebook