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Paduda: A Roundup of News I Missed on Vacation

By Joe Paduda

Monday, October 21, 2019 | 247 | 0 | min read

OK, here’s what I missed while on vacation in France.

The Workers Compensation Research Institute's annual conference is back in Boston March 5 and 6. It sells out every year, so sign up here.

More less-well-off folks in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are going to die. Patricia Powers is a minister living in non-expansion Missouri across the river from Illinois, which did expand Medicaid. If she’d lived a few miles farther east, her breast cancer would likely have been diagnosed much earlier.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance opined on the impact of a recession on workers’ comp. Key takeaways:

  • Frequency drops off sharply at the beginning of a recession, then bounces up as things start to improve.
  • As there are fewer people working in manufacturing or construction these days, actual injury counts likely won’t decline as much as they did in past recessions.

I wrote on this a couple of weeks ago, noting past recessions have had a couple other characteristics not discussed in NCCI’s piece.

In D.C., a bill to reduce drug spending is progressing through the House of Representatives. Among other measures, it would require the feds to negotiate prices on 35 drugs with manufacturers. I would encourage readers to focus on the actual components of the bill and not get caught up in critics/supporters’ use of inflammatory language.

Key takeaway: It would reduce Medicare costs by $345 billion over the next six years (that sound you hear is taxpayers clapping). Other key takeaway: The public is really focused on drug prices.

Non-medical use of opioids will cost our economy about $200 billion this year. The finding came from the Society of Actuaries’ report. Almost half of the costs are from health care expenses and lost productivity, issues that are key concerns for workers’ comp. Have any work comp insurers sued the opioid industry?

What does this mean for you?

Drug pricing and opioid litigation should have a major impact on workers’ comp. Note emphasis on “should.”

Joseph Paduda is co-owner of CompPharma, a consulting firm focused on improving pharmacy programs in workers’ compensation. This column is republished with his permission from his Managed Care Matters blog.

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