This Week in Health Policy #4

“Describing sweetened drinks as “a grave health threat to children and adolescents,” the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association issued a set of bold policy recommendations they say are necessary to stem the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other diet-related illnesses responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths and billions of dollars in annual health care costs.”

The opioid crisis is partly fueled by insurers’ and employers’ approach to back pain

“Our entire health care system is built on a vast web of incentives that push patients down the wrong paths. And in most cases it’s the entities that manage the money — insurance carriers — that benefit from doing so. They negotiate prices with health systems and pharmaceutical companies, all of which share the objective of increasing revenues, to craft and sell health plans that offer trumped up “discounts.” As long as carriers negotiate a high price with a provider or a rebate scheme with a drug maker, they can still make a sizable profit even after a 50 percent discount.”

“Scientists believe they now understand why. In a paper published Thursday in The British Journal of Anaesthesia, researchers attributed Ms. Cameron’s virtually pain-free life to a mutation in a previously unidentified gene. The hope, they say, is that the finding could eventually contribute to the development of a novel pain treatment. They believe this mutation may also be connected to why Ms. Cameron has felt little anxiety or fear throughout her life and why her body heals quickly.”

House Democrats’ new plan to strengthen Obamacare, explained

“House Democrats are rolling out a plan to strengthen the Affordable Care Act that would expand federal insurance subsidies and reverse the Trump administration’s attacks on the health care law — but avoids the party’s internal fight about more ambitious proposals to extend health coverage. Democrats released the bill the day after the Trump administration said it wanted the entire health care law thrown out by the courts, underscoring the striking divide between the two parties on an issue at the top of voters’ minds.”

Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s

“A study published recently in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that it’s harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise…They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher.”

Federal Judge Again Blocks States’ Work Requirements For Medicaid

“Boasberg said that the approval of work requirements by the Department of Health and Human Services “is arbitrary and capricious because it did not address … how the project would implicate the ‘core’ objective of Medicaid: the provision of medical coverage to the needy.”…In his decision on Kentucky, Boasberg criticized HHS officials for approving the state’s second effort to institute work requirements partly because Bevin threatened to end the Medicaid expansion without it.”

Next Phase in Effective Cost Control in Health Care

“Even though the United States is doing better on controlling cost growth, the extremely high costs of health care remain a significant financial and emotional strain. Although national trends suggest a significant slowdown in cost growth, those gains are not evenly distributed. Between 2007 and 2014, Medicare spending decreased by 1.2% per capita, whereas spending in private insurance increased by 16.9% per capita.5 Consequently, the federal treasury may be feeling some financial relief, whereas many individuals in the employer-based and individual insurance markets are feeling financial pain.”

World’s First HIV-To-HIV Kidney Transplant With Living Donor Succeeds

“The world’s first kidney transplant from a living HIV-positive donor to another HIV-positive person was successfully performed Monday by doctors at a Johns Hopkins University hospital. By not having to rely solely on organs from the deceased, doctors may now have a larger number of kidneys available for transplant. Access to HIV-positive organs became possible in 2013, and surgeries have been limited to kidneys and livers.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s