Latest Morning Briefing Stories
The FDA issued a warning letter to Dollar Tree for allegedly selling over-the-counter medications from Chinese manufacturing companies that have violated U.S. federal law for not properly testing products and cited an example where “rodent feces (were) found throughout the manufacturing facility.”
The children were the first generation to be raised at home rather than in institutions. But as their parents age, families and advocates wonder what will happen to the vulnerable population. In other health industry news: sky-high medical bills, supply chain tweaks, hospital care at home, and more.
While nearly 23 percent of Americans in general said they couldn’t afford a prescription, the gender breaks down into 27.5% of women reporting difficulties and 18.9% of men. Read about that and more pharmaceutical development and pricing stories in this week’s Prescription Drug Watch round up.
“Everyone sat up and said: ‘Wow, we’re not very good. Not only are we very expensive, we kill a lot of people,’ ” recalled Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at University of California at San Francisco, who who has written about patient safety issues for years. Many of the report’s ambitious goals, such as creating a reliable system of measuring errors, have yet to be realized. In other news on hospitals: debilitating lawsuits, financial struggles at rural facilities, infant deaths from contaminated equipment, and more.
Media outlets take a look at what area hospitals rated on the closely watched Leapfrog Group report, which bases its rankings on preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals.
Legal rulings have made red states more hesitant to try to implement work requirements, but Republicans aren’t throwing in the towel yet. Work requirements “are not dead, but they’re certainly on life support,” said Joan Alker, of Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “The reasons for states not to go down this path are piling up.” Medicaid news comes out of Missouri, Wyoming and Maine, as well.
The rule makes it easier for medical personnel to avoid assisting in procedures that they say violates their morals. “Wherever the outermost line where persuasion gives way to coercion lies, the threat to pull all HHS funding here crosses it,” said U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan, noting that the rule would have let HHS withhold billions from hospitals, clinics, universities and other healthcare providers that did not comply. Engelmayer also wrote that the “stated justification for undertaking rule making in the first place — a purported ‘significant increase’ in civilian complaints relating to the conscience provisions — was factually untrue.”
So far, more than 177,000 people enrolled for coverage under the health law. But during the first week of open enrollment last year — which spanned three days instead of this year’s two — 371,676 people signed up. Meanwhile, anyone signing up for Medicare during its enrollment season should be on high alert for scams.
Although many in the health landscape are starting to look at the economic and environmental drivers of health outcomes to figure out how they can better improve a community’s health, experts say this pledge is “the first time that systems have acknowledged that this strategy of impact investment should be part of their overall strategy for improving health and well-being in their communities.”
While plans from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) target the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies — both subjects of public ire — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg takes on politically powerful hospitals with his health care overhaul proposals. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden bristled over Warren’s dismissal of his criticism of her health plan.
Fifteen states and Puerto Rico were given either a D or an F on the March of Dimes’ annual report card on premature births. Only Oregon nabbed an A grade.
More than half of seriously ill Medicare beneficiaries struggle with medical costs, a report finds. The research surprised experts since Medicare is considered to offer relatively good coverage and most people have supplemental insurance to fill its gaps.
Overturning the Affordable Care Act would eliminate several taxes created to help pay for the law’s expansion, including a 0.9% Medicare tax on single Americans who earn more than $200,000 a year or couples who make $250,000. A court decision is expected soon on the constitutionality of the law.
The plan from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) includes work or volunteer requirements despite troubles other states are experiencing with such measures. Supporters of a full Medicaid expansion under the health law estimated it could cover about 500,000 Georgia residents, while the governor’s office envisions this limited expansion will cover around 52,000 people in its fifth year.
The Washington Post Fact Checker takes a deep dive into the “Medicare for All” cost analysis offered by experts and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Critics continue to focus on the assumptions — such as getting hospitals accepting near-Medicare rates from all patients — that the proposal relies on. If those fall apart, so does the plan.
“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” wrote Judge Michael Simon in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon of the Trump administration’s policy that would require new immigrants to show proof of health insurance or the means to afford it.
Democratic rivals, conservatives and some analysts sounded off about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for “Medicare for All.” Much of the criticism about the proposal centered around accusations that it’s not realistic when the starting point is the country’s current health care landscape.
Medicare enrollment can be daunting, but in the midst of open enrollment for the program, media outlets offer suggestions on how to make the most of the program.
“Can’t we figure out a simpler way so that people who are eligible can get into these programs?” Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said during a Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare subcommittee. Republicans are worried about waste in the program. Other Medicaid news comes form Texas, Ohio and Michigan as well.
Although the FDA doesn’t have to follow the guidance, the vote could call into question the use of the medication, which to this point has been viewed as standard treatment. Other pharmaceutical news looks at Alzheimer’s research, as well as a recall of a generic version of Xanax.