Washington, D.C.—The need to reauthorize the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) before it expires Sept. 30, 2007, has set the stage for Congressional action on broader legislation to enhance government regulation of drug safety. Bills under consideration aim to expand Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight by establishing new requirements for postmarket risk assessment, for posting information on active clinical trials and the resulting study data, and for completing agreed-upon postmarketing studies.
Detroit's Big Three automakers are considering shifting future retiree healthcare costs to union-controlled trust funds and are eyeing a new contract between Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers (USW) union.
Wal-Mart and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have formed what industry watchers have called an "unusual" partnership to push for quality, affordable healthcare.
Legislation encouraging more equitable coverage of mental illness is moving forward in Congress following important modification of previous requirements. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently approved a bill that requires health plans to offer similar benefits for mental and physical illness in terms of deductibles, copayments and treatment limitations. But the new measure no longer mandates that group health plans cover mental illness.
The Bush administration spending plan for 2008 proposes major funding curbs for Medicare, Medicaid, children's health and other government health programs.
The campaign to provide healthcare to all Americans is making headlines once more as business, labor and consumer groups join with healthcare insurers and providers to urge major changes in the nation's healthcare system.
An annual government analysis of healthcare spending indicates that outlays for healthcare rose only 6.9% in 2005, continuing a three-year slow-growth trend. Total U.S. healthcare spending reached almost $2 trillion, or $6,697 per person, but this reflects the slowest growth in outlays since 1999, when "enrollment in more tightly managed care plans peaked," according to analysts at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).