Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Whiplash

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this week agreed on a bill they say could help stabilize the struggling health insurance exchanges. But despite the compromises made by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), it’s still unclear whether Congress can pass the measure, particularly in time for …

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Viewpoints: Learning Cybersecurity Lessons From Medical Devices; Big Pharma Should Be Embarrassed — But Are They?

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. JAMA: Cybersecurity Concerns and Medical Devices: Lessons From a Pacemaker AdvisoryMedical devices increasingly include capabilities for wireless communication and remote monitoring systems that relay clinical information from patients to clinicians. For example, many cardiac implantable electrical devices can transmit data regarding arrhythmia burden and …

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Some Tips To Help Decide Whether Popular Medicare Advantage Plans Are Right For You

These private insurance plan take the place of traditional Medicare and vary in coverage and cost. CNBC: Here’s How To Snag The Best Medicare Advantage PlanMedicare open enrollment is underway, which means you have until Dec. 7 to sign up for an Advantage Plan or to make changes to the one you already have. If …

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Parsing Health Policies And Politics: Examining The Alexander-Murray Obamacare ‘Fix’; Why Does It Have To Be So Difficult?

Opinion writers offer a variety of takes on the deal announced this week by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) as well as what it can and cannot accomplish. They also take a tough inventory of the politics in play and examine other health policy issues, such as Medicare Advantage networks and …

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Longer Looks: PTSD Or Hate?; In The Wake Of Hurricanes; And Male Fertility

Each week, KHN’s Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web. The New York Times: A Marine Attacked An Iraqi Restaurant. But Was It A Hate Crime Or PTSD?The DarSalam Iraqi restaurant, with its steaming plates of falafel and kebab, has for years served as a popular community gathering spot here. The Iraqi family …

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State Highlights: Md. Website Will Help Consumers Compare Costs For Common Medical Procedures; NYC’s Public Hospital System To Get Infusion Of Funding

Media outlets report on news from Maryland, New York, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota. The Washington Post: Maryland To Offer Online Shopping Tool For Common Medical ProceduresThe Maryland Health Care Commission, the state’s independent regulatory agency, is unveiling a website on which people scheduling a hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy or vaginal delivery can …

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Despite Growing Trend, Doctors Warn Against Women Eating Their Placenta

Proponents have said eating placenta reduces pain, improves mood and energy level, increases milk production, but scientists find any evidence to support those claims lacking. In other public health news: diabetes during pregnancy, other viruses to look out for this flu season, concussions in teenagers, infectious diseases, and postpartum depression. The Washington Post: Don’t Eat …

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Rumor Mill Churning About Who Next Drug Czar Will Be After Original Pick Bows Out

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) withdrew his name from consideration after reports tying him to legislation that undermined the Drug Enforcement Administration’s power during the opioid crisis. Stat: Next In Line As Trump’s Drug Czar? Candidate Names Start To CirculateThe Trump administration has gone nine months without a permanent drug czar. But within hours of the …

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Second Version Of Groundbreaking Immunotherapy Treatment Approved By FDA

The therapy is part of a hot new field that uses a patient’s own immune system to turn the cells into a “living drug” that attacks disease. The New York Times: F.D.A. Approves Second Gene-Altering Treatment For CancerThe Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the second in a radically new class of treatments that …

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Anthem, Spurning Express Scripts, Will Join With CVS To Start A Drug Plan Business

The new business, which will start in 2020, will be a new pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) company. PBMs serve as intermediaries between drug companies and the prescription plans, but they have come under increasing pressure for not being transparent about how much money they save and how much is passed along to consumers. The New …

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Federal Judge Rules Undocumented Pregnant Girl Can Get An Abortion

Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the government to move “promptly and without delay.” The administration is appealing the ruling. The Associated Press: Judge Orders Government To Allow Abortion For Immigrant TeenA federal judge on Wednesday ordered the government to allow a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant, who was detained after entering the country illegally, to undergo an abortion. …

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Desperate Quest For Herpes Cure Launched ‘Rogue’ Trial

As 20 Americans and Brits flew to a Caribbean island for a controversial herpes vaccine trial, many of them knew there were risks. The lead U.S. researcher, William Halford, openly acknowledged he was flouting Food and Drug Administration regulations in the consent forms they signed. He would be injecting them with a live, though weakened, …

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First Edition: October 19, 2017

Oct 19 2017 Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations. Kaiser Health News: Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage: How To ChooseAs health insurers struggle with shifting government policies and considerable uncertainty, one market remains remarkably stable: Medicare Advantage plans. That’s good news for seniors as they select coverage for the year ahead during Medicare’s …

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Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage: How To Choose

As health insurers struggle with shifting government policies and considerable uncertainty, one market remains remarkably stable: Medicare Advantage plans. That’s good news for seniors as they select coverage for the year ahead during Medicare’s annual open enrollment period (this year running from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7). For 2018, 2,317 Medicare Advantage plans will be …

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Despite GOP Efforts To Corral Medicaid Spending, States Expand Benefits

While congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump have been seeking major cuts in federal funding of Medicaid, 26 states this year expanded or enhanced benefits and at least 17 plan to do so next year, according to a report released Thursday. The increased benefits were largely for mental health and substance abuse treatment, but states …

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Lack of Sleep Tied to Diabetes of Pregnancy

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR October 18, 2017 Lack of sleep may raise the risk for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes — abnormally high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy — can lead to excessive birth weight, preterm birth or respiratory distress in the baby, among other problems. It can also increase the mother’s risk for Type 2 diabetes later …

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Viewpoints: In Defense Of Sanctuary Hospitals; Medicare, Medicaid Funding Fairness For Puerto Rico

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. JAMA: Making A Case For Sanctuary HospitalsIn July 2017, Jose de Jesus Martinez, an undocumented immigrant, wept at the bedside of his 16-year-old son Brandon, who was comatose in the intensive care unit of a San Antonio, Texas, hospital after being found in a …

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Thoughts On The Drug Industry And The Opioid Epidemic: Look No Further Than The Swamp; Examining Enforcement Tools

Opinion writers continue to examine the government’s role in the opioid crisis and strategies to curb it. Chicago Tribune: Drug Industry Swims In Washington’s SwampBut not so fast. More than most of the controversies that have tested this president, the opioid crisis tragically plagues some of the most desperate communities in Trump’s political base. To …

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Examining The Alexander-Murray Plan: A Bipartisan Deal On Obamacare? Stop The Presses; It’s Not A Bailout

Editorial pages examine the agreement announced yesterday to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces after President Donald Trump announced last week that he would end federal payments to fund the law’s cost-sharing reductions. Los Angeles Times: Two Senators Announce A Bipartisan Deal On Obamacare, But Don’t Celebrate Yetn a window into how the U.S. Senate …

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Viewpoints: It’s Time To Stop Drug Companies From ‘Gaming The System And Gaming The Rules’

Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues. USA Today: Stop Big Pharma From ‘Getting Away With Murder’Few things are more infuriating to consumers than the constant, surging increases in drug prices. Americans under 65 are projected to pay an additional 11.6% this year, while seniors are expected to see increases of 9.9%. These increases follow similar …

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‘I’m Not Interested In Their Money,’ Trump Says Of Pharma. But He Took It Anyway.

News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing. Stat: When It Comes To Pharma Money, Trump Was With The Elephant In The RoomPresident Trump on Monday addressed a well-established tenet of life in Washington: The pharmaceutical industry has loads of money and doesn’t hesitate to spend it on Congress. “They contribute massive amounts of …

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