Must-Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes

This week wins the award for providing one of the more fascinatingly disturbing reads I’ve had in a while in Stat’s coverage of antibiotic-resistant leeches. I’m glad no one could see my contorted face whilst learning about the exact method and usage of the creatures in medical settings. Still, the story provides a very cool look at a treatment we tend to think of as medieval.

Here’s what else you may have missed on this rainy week:

The government claims it has met its court-ordered deadline to reunite all “eligible” migrant families, but stories of chaos and failures plagued the last hours of the scramble to beat the ticking clock. There are also still hundreds of kids in custody, some of whom have parents who were deported without them. Politico has a blistering story out about officials failing to get consent for those separations.

The Washington Post: Hundreds of Migrant Children Remain in Custody, Though Most Separated Families Are Reunited at Court Deadline

Politico: Most Deported Migrants Were Not Asked About Leaving Children Behind, Trump Official Says

So, about that court order … who exactly is this judge who’s holding the government’s feet to the flames?

The Associated Press: Judge, Calm in Court, Takes Hard Line On Splitting Families

“Medicare-for-all” is becoming a litmus test for progressive Democrats, especially ones looking to take back the House (even though the party itself is divided on actually campaigning on that phrase). It’s gotten enough attention now that Trump administration officials are taking swings at the plan, saying that “Medicare-for-all” is going to quickly become “Medicare for none,” and making references to spending “our children’s” money.

The New York Times: Trump Officials Scoff at ‘Medicare for All’ Drive

Lifting back the curtain on all the recent drug-pricing news reveals some implicit (bordering on explicit, really) threats that if pharma companies didn’t fall in line with the administration’s wishes, they were going to be in store for some distasteful policies.

The New York Times: How the Trump Administration Is Browbeating Big Pharma on Drug Prices

You’re not alone if you don’t know all the details of President Donald Trump’s blueprint to lower those drug costs (only about 1 in 4 adults say they have heard or read about it). Stat offers a quick primer.


Stat: Unpacking the Bold — and the Bluster — in Trump’s Plan to Bring Down Drug Prices

The administration took a bit of a mulligan and reinstated those insurer payments (meant to stabilize the health law marketplace) that it froze recently. The move to halt them in the first place had received widespread bipartisan criticism.

The Associated Press: Trump Administration to Resume ‘Obamacare’ Insurer Payments

Although it was expected, it should be noted that the Senate approved Robert Wilkie as VA secretary. He picked up some rare “no” votes, but those were mostly from lawmakers who were either in a tough re-election fight or who are eyeing a 2020 presidential run.

The Associated Press: Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie for Veterans Affairs Secretary

If simple safety practices can drastically cut maternal mortality rates, why are hospitals skipping over them? USA Today offers an absolutely heartbreaking package on a problem that sets the U.S. apart from most other developed countries, despite our advances in technology and medical care.

USA Today: Hospitals Know How to Protect Mothers. They Just Aren’t Doing It.

In the miscellaneous file for the week: Everyone was on edge for the results of a promising Alzheimer’s drug, but while the trial was “encouraging,” it didn’t quite live up to the hype surrounding the treatment; men have started panicking about the trend of falling sperm counts, and companies are stepping in to reassure them — at a price; Maine is still locked in its battle over Medicaid expansion, so what does that mean for all the states that followed the model of getting the option onto ballots?; and IBM’s supercomputer has been touted as the future of medicine, but documents show it was diagnosing unsafe and incorrect cancer treatments.

The New York Times: New Alzheimer’s Drug Shows Big Promise in Early Trial Results

The New York Times: Men Are Panicking About Their Sperm Count

The New York Times: A Vote Expanded Medicaid in Maine. The Governor Is Ignoring It.

Stat: IBM’s Watson Recommended ‘Unsafe And Incorrect’ Cancer Treatments

Have a great weekend, and if you’re a Goldfish lover, my heart goes out to you!

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