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    CQ's Carey Discusses Generic Drug Market Entry, Movements To Cover Uninsured U.S. Residents, Genetic Discrimination

Mary Agnes Carey, associate editor of CQ HealthBeat, examines pharmaceutical companies' deals to delay sales of generic prescription drugs, initiatives to expand health insurance coverage and legislation that would ban genetic discrimination in this week's "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ." According to Carey, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at a hearing said the committee has made it a high priority to end "collusion" between brand-name and generic drug manufactures to delay market entry of drug equivalents. Carey says Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz and Democrats "expressed support for legislation to accomplish that goal." Carey also discusses several proposals unveiled last week by groups representing a broad spectrum of interests to reduce the number of uninsured U.S. residents and make health care more affordable. Lawmakers also have proposed legislation that would provide grants to states, groups of states and parts of states to test health care strategies, Carey says. According to Carey, despite the demand for Congress to address the issue of the uninsured, passing legislation to provide more coverage will be difficult because of Democrats' "pay-as-you-go" pledge, which requires that any new spending be offset by tax increases or spending cuts. In addition, Carey discusses a scheduled vote by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this week on genetic discrimination legislation that would prohibit health insurers and employers from requiring genetic tests or basing employment or coverage decisions on genetic tests. Proponents of the bill say stronger legal protections are required to encourage people to take advantage of medical breakthroughs that identify genetic markers for certain conditions, Carey says. Opponents say the bill is irrelevant because states already have laws prohibiting employers and health insurers from discriminating based on genetic information (Carey, "Health on the Hill from kaisernetwork.org and CQ, 1/22).

The complete audio version of "Health on the Hill," transcript and resources for further research are available online at kaisernetwork.org.

"Reprinted with permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Publication Date: 2007-01-24 19:00

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