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CMS Administrator Seema Verma spoke of her concerns about drugs that cost upwards of $2 million. That kind of innovation doesn’t mean anything if people can’t afford the treatment, Verma said. In other news from CMS, the agency announced it would crack down on nursing home inspectors.
An analysis by ProPublica reveals that more than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million. In other news on the health industry, costs and insurance: workers’ benefits, refunds from insurers, out-patient surgery policies, universal coverage, and more.
Lawmakers bickered over the pros and cons — “jaw dropping savings” that come with a warning that some pharma companies may not develop as many new drugs — but in the end House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug plan passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Education and Labor Committee. There had been a chance that Pelosi could get President Donald Trump on board as he’s previously supported the proposals in the plan. But that became less certain in recent days with the impeachment proceedings.
The ruling on the law’s constitutionality, expected in the next few weeks, could reignite the same concerns that helped propel Democrats into taking back the House in the 2018 midterm elections. It would also possibly let the Democrats re-frame their messaging, which has been centered on pro- or anti-“Medicare for All,” a plan that’s losing popularity in the polls.
CMS warned state Medicaid programs in 2015 that they may be violating federal law by restricting access to hepatitis C medicines, but restrictions are still in place for many states. Other Medicaid news comes out of California, Tennessee and Michigan.
Pharma companies are pumping money into research on drugs that utilize CBD oil in an effort to cash in during the ingredient’s boom in consumer popularity. Meanwhile, a look at the benefits and risks of the oil.
Some progressives have been unsatisfied with the House Democrats’ long-awaited proposal to address high drug costs. Despite the changes to the plan in an effort to entice the reluctant lawmakers, some Democratic representatives are still expressing doubts that it does not go far enough.
According to former VA Secretary David Shulkin’s new book, obtained by The Associated Press, President Donald Trump suggested using an executive order to “begin to close the VAs.” Shulkin responded that it was a legislative issue, and according to the book Trump then asked if they could declare a national emergency.
Former Vice President Joe Biden used Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) stance on “Medicare for All” to take a dig at her “credibility.” That criticism followed a debate where Warren, a new front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, drew rivals’ attacks over how she was going to pay for the plan. Meanwhile, an unearthed tweet shows that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was particularly vocal at the debate, supported Medicare for All in 2018.
The class-action lawsuit accused Sutter Health of using its dominance in the region to corral insurers so that patients could not go elsewhere for less expensive or higher quality care. Health care costs in Northern California, where Sutter is dominant, are 20% to 30% higher than in Southern California.
In the midst of a soaring crisis over health care costs, the debt collection court in Coffeyville, Kansas is emblematic of a larger problem that’s been getting national attention. Providers, like hospitals, are suing some of the sickest clients, who are losing everything they own because they needed care. In other industry and insurance news: stocks, Amazon employees’ coverage, antitrust suits, and more.
The Urban Institute researchers evaluated six different levels of change that would build on the groundwork laid by the ACA.The options include two that they say could achieve universal health coverage. Both rely heavily on boosting subsidies.
The latest Democratic debate on Tuesday night highlighted the rising popularity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the polls as many of her rivals went on the attack. Most notably South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who struck a more aggressive tone than in previous debates, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is fighting for her place in the 2020 presidential race, had sharp words for the scope of Warren’s health plans. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said. Klobuchar joined in with, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up.”
A weekly round-up of stories related to pharmaceutical development and pricing.
Media outlets report on news from North Carolina, California, Tennessee, Minnesota, Mississippi, Arizona, Missouri, Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, Louisiana, New York and Iowa.
Opinion writers weigh in on these health issues and others.
It’s “not because they don’t want the positions, it’s not because they don’t work hard enough, it’s not because they’re not qualified for the positions,” says Julie Silver, a physician and director of Harvard’s leadership course. But at the very early stages of health careers, opportunities for mobility decline, in part because of strict credential requirements for jobs in clinical care and patient management. In other health industry news: Amazon’s efforts to control health spending on employees, Johnson & Johnson’s legal woes, executive pay at big insurers and more.
A shortage of a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer in children highlights the serious perils of the rampant shortage problem facing the industry. “It’s our bread and butter,” said Dr. Yoram Unguru, a pediatric oncologist. “There is no substitution … You either have to skip a dose or give a lower dose — or beg, borrow or plead.” While the FDA has been trying to address the issue of shortages it’s fallen short in its efforts to grant addition approval of generics. Meanwhile, companies are trying other methods to combat the problem.
NPR looks at the five biggest changes made beneath the Trump administration, including the zeroing out of the individual mandate and allowing the addition of work requirements to some states’ Medicaid programs.