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.
So, about that court order … who exactly is this judge who’s holding the government’s feet to the flames?
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have a great weekend, and if you’re a Goldfish lover, my heart goes out to you!