People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V. and were less likely to need contraceptives, according to a new study that provides a much-anticipated look at the population that signed up for coverage under the new health care law. […]That's because, of course, people with HIV, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis could have been barred from getting health insurance before the law. It's not terribly surprising that the first enrollees out of the gates—and the first to be registering prescriptions—would be the people with serious, chronic conditions that kept them out of the market previously. As the study's authors write, "This early analysis suggests this new benefit is providing patients with access to the medication they need."
The study, to be released Wednesday by the major pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts, suggests that early enrollees face more serious health problems and are older than those covered by their employers. The study also showed a higher use of specialty drugs, which are often used to treat diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; the use of such drugs could hint at more costly medical problems.[…]
In addition to finding increased use of drugs to treat pain, seizures and depression, the study also found that 6 in every 1,000 prescriptions in the marketplace plans were for drugs that treat H.I.V., a number that was nearly four times the figure among those with employer coverage.
That's just one more thing Republicans want to shut down with repeal: people getting the treatments they need to survive.