Oregon's governor signed a bill creating a reference formulary for Medicaid. The new law bases reimbursement for all medications in a class on the cost of a chosen "reference" drug in that class.... Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is suing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly HCFA) for approving Maine's new drug-discount program. PhRMA claims Healthy Maine violates Medicaid laws because manufacturers must shoulder the cost of rebates.... Weiss Ratings reports that fewer than three dozen large plans are driving HMO-industry profits, which totaled $908 million in 2000, through September.... Aetna will shed much of its small-employer (50 or fewer employees) business, as part of its financial strategy, the Hartford Courant reports.... On a per-capita basis, inpatient admissions have not changed in 40 years, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study.... The same can not be said for ER visits; federal statistics indicate a 14-percent increase in annual ER visits from 1992 to 1999. Considering that the number of hospitals remained static during the '90s but Census figures show an 11-percent U.S. population growth from 1990 to 2000, ERs are maxed out.