Trump phones a friend on health care
Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen, Axios
A Trump tweet this morning confirms last night’s Axios scoop: “I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!”
Trump vents to wealthy donors about failure to repeal Obamacare
Alex Isenstadt, Politico
President Donald Trump told a gathering of wealthy donors in North Carolina on Saturday evening that he is determined to push forward on health care reform — but acknowledged that he is facing serious obstacles in doing so. At a time of widespread frustration in the Republican Party about its repeated failure to repeal Obamacare, the president said he wants to restart the talks.
Fearsome Plague Epidemic Strikes Madagascar
Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times
Madagascar has been struck by a fast-spreading outbreak of plague, creating panic and prompting the World Health Organization to send 1.2 million doses of antibiotics to the island nation. Since August, the country has reported over 200 infections and 33 deaths.
European Stocks Rise Led by Spain; Sterling Gains: Markets Wrap
Cormac Mullen, Bloomberg
European stocks edged higher, led by equities in Spain after a weekend of mass demonstrations in Catalonia in favor of Spanish unity. Sterling gained as Prime Minister Theresa May looked poised to reassert her leadership, while Turkey’s lira tumbled amid tensions with the U.S.
Trump Executive Order Could Divide the Health Insurance Market
Louise Radnofsky et al., The Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump’s executive order on health insurance, the most significant step so far to put his stamp on health policy, is designed to give more options to healthy consumers. It also could divide the insurance market in two.
States plead for federal flexibility on health spending
Kimberly Leonard, Washington Examiner
In a strongly worded letter to the Trump administration, Oklahoma’s health commissioner recently expressed frustration that a state waiver to lower costs for Obamacare customers had not been approved as quickly as federal officials had promised. The proposal called for a reinsurance program in which government funding pays for costly medical claims while keeping prices down for other customers.
Democrats accuse Trump of ‘sabotage’ on Obamacare sign-ups
Paul Demko and Adam Cancryn, Politico
Obamacare’s first open enrollment season under the Trump administration is expected to be a flop — and even the law’s most ardent supporters are worried there’s little they can do to change that. With less than a month before sign-up begins, the federal government has gutted outreach and marketing, slashed funding to outside enrollment groups and left state officials in the dark on key details.
Overlooked By ACA: Many People Paying Full Price For Insurance ‘Getting Slammed’
Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News
Paul Melquist of St. Paul, Minn., has a message for the people who wrote the Affordable Care Act: “Quit wrecking my health care.” Teri Goodrich, of Raleigh, N.C., has the same complaint.
Trump Officials Dispute the Benefits of Birth Control to Justify Rules
Anna Edney, Bloomberg
When the Trump administration elected to stop requiring many employers to offer birth-control coverage in their health plans, it devoted nine of its new rule’s 163 pages to questioning the links between contraception and preventing unplanned pregnancies. In the rule released Friday, officials attacked a 2011 report that recommended mandatory birth-control coverage to help women avoid unintended pregnancies.
Bundled-payment joint replacement programs winning over surgeons
Harris Meyer, Modern Healthcare
When administrator Dr. Geoffrey Cole found out last year that his hospital would be participating in Medicare’s mandatory bundled-payment program for total hip and knee replacement procedures, he started meeting with orthopedic surgeons. Cole initially was skeptical about the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement, or CJR, program the CMS Innovation Center launched in April 2016.
In Puerto Rico, lives depend on volunteer doctors and diesel generators
Robin Respaut and Nick Brown, Reuters
At a community center in Orocovis, an isolated agricultural town of 23,000 in the mountains of central Puerto Rico, six oxygen-dependent patients drew breath with the help of the diesel generator powering their equipment. Then the generator sputtered as if it might die.
Pharma, Biotech and Devices
As Cancer Tears Through Africa, Drug Makers Draw Up a Battle Plan
Donald G. McNeil Jr., The New York Times
In a remarkable initiative modeled on the campaign against AIDS in Africa, two major pharmaceutical companies, working with the American Cancer Society, will steeply discount the prices of cancer medicines in Africa. Under the new agreement, the companies — Pfizer, based in New York, and Cipla, based in Mumbai — have promised to charge rock-bottom prices for 16 common chemotherapy drugs.
Drug lobby’s patent law
Helen Collis, Politico
Europe is attempting to play mediator in a politically charged, high-stakes dispute involving one of its most powerful industries — the drugs lobby. The pharmaceutical industry has a host of intellectual property rights to choose from to protect its novel medicines from competitors once they are approved for sale.
China to accept overseas trial data in bid to speed up drug approvals
Adam Jourdan, Reuters
China said it plans to accept data from overseas clinical trials to speed up approvals of drugs, a potential boon for international drugmakers as well as patients who often face lengthy delays for new medicines to reach the market. The move, outlined by the Cabinet late on Sunday, seeks to address high medicine costs and access to healthcare for China’s population of nearly 1.4 billion.
HHS gives University of Mississippi Medical Center, Medical University of South Carolina national telehealth designation
Evan Sweeney, FierceHealthcare
An agency within the Department of Health and Human Services has appointed medical centers in South Carolina and Mississippi as the country’s two designated Telehealth Centers of Excellence. This week, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) named the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) as national coordinating centers for telehealth.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
A Chance to Do Right By Congestive Heart Failure Patients
Peggy Hardesty, Morning Consult
Imagine being so sick that you cannot bathe or dress yourself without assistance, never mind shop for groceries or go for a gentle walk around your yard or neighborhood. Now, imagine there’s a medicine that can be administered at home that helps you overcome those problems and improves quality of life, but for legacy historical reasons your health insurance — Medicare — will not pay for it until 2021.
A Health Care Plan That’s Universal and Bipartisan
Ed Dolan, The New York Times
After the collapse of Republican efforts at one-party health care reform, many Democrats have embraced Senator Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All proposal. Few liberals would object to this “single payer” plan if it could be enacted with a magic wand, but the political realities of getting it through Congress are daunting.
Congress quietly puts a crucial part of Obamacare on the chopping block
Editorial Board, The Washington Post
THE OBAMACARE debate has been out of whack from the start. Republicans have criticized the wrong things, allowing Democrats to ignore the Affordable Care Act’s biggest flaws. Now, this off-kilter debate may lead to the quiet loss of one of the law’s most important provisions, currently on Congress’s chopping block.
Can the U.S. Repair Its Health Care While Keeping Its Innovation Edge?
Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt, The New York Times
The United States health care system has many problems, but it also promotes more innovation than its counterparts in other nations. That’s why discussions of remaking American health care often raise concerns about threats to innovation.
Here’s how a loophole in a transparency law can distort medical practices
Ed Silverman, Stat News
For the past four years, the federal government has required drug makers to report any meals they buy for doctors, as well as any payments for speaking, consulting, and running clinical trials. The system has succeeded in shining a light on financial ties that may unduly influence medical practice and research, a concern heightened by a series of pharma scandals involving illegal marketing, as well as studies showing such payments sway prescribing.
The Beltway Factor Drug Shareholders Must Take Seriously
Charley Grant, The Wall Street Journal
Pharmaceuticals investors have learned by now not to worry about big talk coming from Washington, D.C., politicians. They should be taking the words of Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb very seriously, however.
Reverse Patent Trolls Are Harming Drug Innovation—and Patients
Brent Saunders, The Wall Street Journal
Allergan ’s agreement with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has inspired a lot of commentary. Under the deal, my company transferred the patents for Restasis, a prescription eyedrop, to the Native American tribe as a way of protecting the intellectual property from unfair challenges.
Long-Term Care Insurance: Knowledge Barriers, Risk Perception and Adverse Selection
Martin Boyer et al., The National Bureau of Economic Research
We conduct a stated-choice experiment where respondents are asked to rate various insurance products aimed to protect against financial risks associated with long-term care needs. Using exogenous variation in prices from the survey design, and objective risks computed from a dynamic microsimulation model, these stated-choice probabilities are used to predict market equilibrium for long-term care insurance using the framework developed by Einav et al. (2010).