Chris Murphy’s stealthy single-payer pitch
Elana Schor, Politico
While Bernie Sanders readies a single-payer health care bill that the GOP is itching to attack, one of his Democratic colleagues is proposing a step toward that goal that could give cover to the party’s vulnerable incumbents. Sen. Chris Murphy, a potential presidential contender, is working on legislation expected this fall that would let individuals and businesses buy into Medicare as part of Obamacare’s exchanges.
Dollar Tumbles as Yen, Euro Rally on Irma, ECB: Markets Wrap
Eddie Van Der Walt and Andreea Papuc, Bloomberg
The dollar tumbled to its weakest level since the start of 2015 amid fading expectations of another U.S. rate increase this year. Stocks declined and havens including gold and the yen rallied as North Korea tensions and natural disasters unsettled investors.
Plan to Fund Health Insurer Payments Coalesces
Michelle Hackman, The Wall Street Journal
The contours of a deal to fund insurer payments critical to the Affordable Care Act took shape Thursday, even as conservative lawmakers and the White House pushed an alternative plan to repeal parts of the law. Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.) said he hoped to reach an agreement with Democrats by the end of next week on the insurer payments, which offset subsidies they provide low-income consumers.
Orrin Hatch, Ron Wyden signal long Senate reauthorization for child insurance program
Robert King, Washington Examiner
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters he would be in favor of extending the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five years in a move sure to please Democrats and program supporters. The statement came after a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, which Hatch chairs, on the fate of CHIP, which needs to be reauthorized by the end of this month.
New York extends ObamaCare enrollment deadline
Jessie Hellmann, The Hill
New York will extend its open enrollment period for ObamaCare plans, citing concerns about an earlier deadline set by the federal government. New York’s open enrollment will now begin on Nov. 1 and end on Jan. 31, officials said on Thursday.
Aggressive diagnoses and care spark big rise in Medicare sepsis discharges
Maria Castellucci, Modern Healthcare
The number of Medicare inpatient discharges for sepsis has been on a steady rise, and in 2015 it beat out major joint replacements as the most common discharge for the first time. On first glance, the results are jarring considering how the federal government and providers have made concentrated efforts in recent years to curb sepsis.
Health centers urge Congress to act to avoid mass closures
Virgil Dickson, Modern Healthcare
Brian Toomey is worried about uninsured patients that come to his community health centers in North Carolina. The majority of the federal funds that help keep the center on track will disappear at the end of the month baring congressional action.
Why scaling back bundled payment programs won’t stop the shift to alternative models
Shannon Muchmore, Healthcare Dive
Most of the healthcare industry has been collectively holding its breath as President Donald Trump and his administration settle in to their new roles. The biggest worry has so far not come to pass, as Republicans in Congress failed in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Pharma, Biotech and Devices
Eli Lilly to eliminate 3,500 jobs globally
Justin L. Mack and Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star
Eli Lilly and Co. on Thursday announced it will cut 3,500 positions as the drugmaker focuses on developing new medicines and improving its cost structure. The cuts will save an estimated $500 million annually beginning next year.
F.D.A. Accuses EpiPen Maker of Failing to Investigate Malfunctions
Katie Thomas, The New York Times
The Food and Drug Administration this week accused the drugmaker Pfizer of failing to properly investigate reports of malfunctioning EpiPens, including incidents when patients died or became severely ill after the device failed to work. Pfizer manufactures the EpiPen, which treats allergic reactions, for the drugmaker Mylan.
This Shield of Patents Protects the World’s Best-Selling Drug
Cynthia Coons, Bloomberg
Humira, a treatment for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis made by AbbVie Inc., is the planet’s best-selling drug. It’s also been around almost 15 years. Those two facts alone would normally have rival drugmakers eagerly circling, ready to roll out generic versions that could win a piece of the aging medicine’s $16 billion in annual sales.
Meningitis B Vaccine’s High Price Tag Poses A Health Care Conundrum
Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News
Four years ago, when meningitis B, an extremely rare but potentially lethal form of the infection, sickened a small number of college students at Princeton and the University of California-Santa Barbara, there was no vaccine against the disease sold in the U.S. Despite its availability abroad, it had never been licensed in the country due to its limited marketability.
It’s not just one suspect herpes vaccine trial: Most experimental drugs are tested offshore — raising concerns about data
Rebecca Robbins, Stat News
The clinical trial for a herpes vaccine flouted just about every norm in the book: American patients were flown in to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts for experimental injections. Local authorities didn’t give permission.
Abortion via telemedicine as safe as seeing doctor in person
Ronnie Cohen, Reuters
Though 18 states insist that doctors see abortion patients in person, new research shows that medication abortion is just as safe when doctors guide patients in the use of abortion-inducing drugs using remote video technology. “We can really say definitively now that there is no increased risk of complications among women who obtain medication abortion by telemedicine as opposed to women who have an in-person visit with a physician,” said lead author Dr. Daniel Grossman, an obstetrician-gynecologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Experts agree on HITECH’s value but diverge on ONC’s new role in enhancing interoperability
Evan Sweeney, Fierce Healthcare
Some of the nation’s foremost health IT experts see the value in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) of 2009 that created federal incentives to entice thousands of hospitals and physician offices to adopt EHR systems in a matter of years. Those same experts also concede that the industry is facing entirely new challenges when it comes to EHR usability and interoperability.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Quality Affordable Health Care Is Within Our Reach
Annette Guarisco Fildes and David Lansky, Morning Consult
At the heart of almost every conversation about health care reform is one question: “How do we make health care affordable and accessible for everyone in America?” As representatives of America’s largest employers, we believe the most important strategy for transforming our nation’s health care system is to accelerate payment and delivery reforms that share support among both Republicans and Democrats — value-based health care.
Putting a price on new cancer treatments
Alison Snyder, Axios
Last week, the FDA approved a new immunotherapy for treating a type of leukemia that affects children and young adults. The manufacturer, Novartis, expects it will cost about $475,000 for the one-time personalized treatment in which a patient’s immune cells are removed, modified so they attack cancer cells and then infused back into the body.
How good is a doctor at the end of a 28-hour shift?
Christopher Lee Bennett, Stat News
Somewhere around the eighth hour of my 28-hour shift in the hospital, a nurse told me that a patient had just been transferred from the intensive care unit to my floor. I stopped by the patient’s room to introduce myself.
Following the ACA Repeal-and-Replace Effort, Where Does the U.S. Stand on Insurance Coverage?
Sara R. Collins et al., The Commonwealth Fund
After Congress’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some policy leaders are calling for bipartisan approaches to address weaknesses in the law’s coverage expansions. To do this, policymakers will need data about trends in insurance coverage, reasons why people remain uninsured, and consumer perceptions of affordability.