3 healthcare policy battles in 2018 other than repealing and replacing the ACA

Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the ACA captured public attention and bombarded healthcare legislation last year, but there will be other important battles waged on Capitol Hill in 2018, according to STAT News.

Here are three healthcare policy debates to follow in 2018.

1. User fees for over the counter drugs. This effort, which will see manufacturers of over-the-counter drugs pay the FDA user fees in exchange for a more efficient regulatory process, has received bipartisan support. Pharmacy benefits managers and consumer groups played a role in shaping the legislation — alongside manufacturers — and it should be addressed once more pressing legislation has been debated.

2. Funding for the opioid epidemic. While President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in October, there has been little legislative action taken to remedy the situation. Democrats, along with Republicans in areas affected by the epidemic, have called for funding responding to the opioid crisis to be included in a major funding package, though it is unclear how much a Republican-led Congress will be willing to spend.

3. Funding for programs under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparation Resources Act. Funding for many PAHRA programs is set to expire in September, including resources to purchase vaccines. This expiration will force Congress and the Trump administration to decide how much funding they are willing to dedicate to public health preparedness, especially with recent crises — like the Ebola outbreak — still on many Americans' minds.

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