Health Reform Updates: Biotech Grants, Privacy Issues And Birth Control Coverage
Firms vying to tap the fund a $1 billion fund meant to catalyze research on new biologic treatments for cancer and other diseases may be disappointed in the outcome, The Washington Post reports. "[W]ith so many companies applying for a share of the money, many firms got much smaller allotments than requested and said the financial boost won't go as far as they had initially hoped. Rockville [Md.]-based RegeneRx received three grants for work on therapies to repair tissue and organ damage, totaling just over $733,000. President and chief executive J.J. Finkelstein said the company sought $5 million, the most a single company was eligible to receive," though individual projects were limited to $244,479.24 (Overly, 11/8).
Meanwhile, American Medical News reports, the federal government's Office of Personnel Management, "which manages benefits for federal employees, intends to create a giant database of medical claims information about those employees and enrollees in two programs created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In an Oct. 27 letter, the Center for Democracy & Technology, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for health privacy, asked the OPM for more information about its intentions, raised preliminary concerns about the idea and asked the office to delay its launch from Nov. 15" (Berry, 11/8).
And, Minnesota Public Radio notes that as "health insurance companies try to determine what the new health care reform law will require them to cover, birth control is emerging as one of the more controversial issues at stake. A panel of experts meets for the first time next week to determine whether both public and private health plans should cover the entire cost of contraception. Several medical and women's groups say women should have access to free birth control, but the Catholic church is fighting the idea" (Stawicki, 11/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.