California gov candidate backs universal healthcare for undocumented immigrants
Megan Keller, The Hill
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who is running for governor, said in an interview released Tuesday that he would like to see the state pay for universal healthcare for all illegal immigrants. “I did universal healthcare when I was mayor — fully implemented, regardless of pre-existing condition, ability to pay, and regardless of your immigration status,” Newsom told the podcast Pod Save America, referencing his stint as San Francisco’s mayor.
Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging petition to put Medicaid expansion before Nebraska voters
Joe Duggan, Omaha World-Herald
A judge has tossed out a lawsuit intended to prevent voters from deciding whether more Nebraskans should qualify for Medicaid assistance. Lancaster County District Judge Darla Ideus on Tuesday rejected arguments that the successful Medicaid petition is “invalid and legally insufficient.”
GOP eyes another shot at ObamaCare repeal after McCain’s death
Alexander Bolton, The Hill
Senate Republicans say they would like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to appoint a successor to late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who, unlike McCain, would support GOP legislation to repeal ObamaCare. GOP lawmakers say they won’t have time to hold another vote to repeal the law in 2018 but vow to try again next year if they manage to keep their Senate and House majorities.
Gun-related homicides, suicides kill more people than war, study says
Jen Christensen, CNN
Mass shootings and acts of terrorism may dominate headlines, but it’s the homicides and, to a lesser extent, the suicides that happen out of the spotlight that make up the bulk of firearm-related deaths around the world, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal JAMA. More gun deaths happened outside of war than in it during the years researchers examined (1990 through 2016) in 195 countries and territories.
South Dakota asks Trump administration to approve Medicaid work requirements for parents, caretakers
Jessie Hellmann, The Hill
South Dakota health officials are asking the Trump administration to approve a program that would impose work requirements on some Medicaid recipients who are parents or caretakers. Under the proposal, parents aged 19 to 59 and other caretakers on Medicaid who live in South Dakota’s two most populous counties would have to work at least 80 hours a month, take classes or complete other activities to keep their coverage.
Former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala wins Democratic House primary in Florida
Max Greenwood, The Hill
Democrat Donna Shalala, a former Health and Human Services secretary under President Clinton and a long-time educator, won her House primary on Tuesday. Shalala emerged from a crowded Democratic primary in Florida’s 27th District with 32 percent of the vote, the Associated Press projected with 95 percent of precincts reporting.
NIH Comes Out Swinging On Opioid Abuse With Anticipated $40.4 Million To Research Chronic Pain
Robin Seaton Jefferson, Forbes
The NIH is pulling out all the stops to make President Donald Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand a reality. And older Americans are likely to benefit every bit as much as young people.
McMaster’s SC Planned Parenthood Medicaid ban thwarted, for now
Gregory Yee, The Post and Courier
An attempt to ban South Carolina abortion clinics from receiving taxpayer money in the form of Medicaid payments has been thwarted for the time being. U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted a preliminary injunction against Gov. Henry McMaster’s ban, which originated in an executive order he issued in July.
Trump administration warns California against ‘safe’ opioid injection sites
Victoria Colliver et al., Politico
The Justice Department is threatening to shut down San Francisco’s proposed test of supervised injection sites amid the opioid crisis even before the governor has a chance to sign the pilot program into law. The looming showdown could affect similar efforts in New York, Philadelphia and Seattle, where officials have grappled with the ramifications of setting up spaces where drug users could shoot up while gaining access to clean syringes, medical professionals and treatment services as an approach to curb opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
Worldwide gun deaths reach 250,000 yearly; US ranks high
Gun deaths worldwide total about 250,000 yearly and the United States is among just six countries that make up half of those fatalities, a study found. The results from one of the most comprehensive analyses of firearm deaths reveal “a major public health problem for humanity,” according to an editorial published with the study Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Stocks Edge Higher With Treasuries; Dollar Steady: Markets Wrap
Samuel Potter, Bloomberg
European stocks and U.S. equity futures edged higher on Wednesday after a lackluster Asian session, with investors largely treading water as they await the next developments on trade. The euro slipped and the pound drifted.
Thousands plead with the feds to stop Bevin’s Medicaid overhaul
Deborah Yetter, Louisville Courier Journal
An unprecedented number of comments — 11,561 of them — poured in by the Aug. 18 close of a 30-day federal public comment period on Bevin’s plan, compared to about 1,800 public comments the first time Bevin introduced his plan in 2016. Comments are running about 20 to 1 against the plan known as a “waiver,” according to an analysis by a team of Kentucky health advocates who have been working since Aug. 18 to read all of the comments.
Why CBO won’t estimate cost of Bernie Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill
Peter Sullivan, The Hill
A recent study concluding that Sen. Bernie Sanders’s “Medicare for all” bill would cost $32 trillion has set off a furious debate over the cost of the plan. But there’s one estimate that would make an even bigger splash: the score from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
Obamacare premiums set to increase by 5% in 2019
Naseem S. Miller, Orlando Sentinel
The cost of premiums in the 2019 Obamacare marketplace is projected to increase by 5.2 percent, a modest rise compared with last year’s rates, which went up by as much as 45 percent, according to data released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Tuesday afternoon. Seven insurance companies have signed up to offer plans in the marketplace next year, with rate increases ranging from 2.4 percent to 9.8 percent.
TennCare favors insurers over hospitals for needy
Jonathan Mattise, The Associated Press
A large hospital system in Tennessee has sued the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare, saying it’s purposefully siphoning money from hospitals that treat the neediest patients in order to favor insurance companies that often employ former TennCare employees. Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga says Tennessee officials are ignoring a 2007 state law in terms of how it pays some hospitals.
A Little-Known Windfall for Some Hospitals, Now Facing Big Cuts
Austin Frakt, The New York Times
Most hospitals are nonprofit and justify their exemption from taxation with community service and charity care. But the Trump administration could require some of them to do more to help the poor, and the hospitals that are in the cross-hairs are those benefiting from an obscure drug discount program known as 340B.
Henry Ford, DMC aim to get closer to patients
Jay Greene, Modern Healthcare
Henry Ford Health System is planning at least two other new outpatient medical centers in Bloomfield Hills and Macomb County and two expanded medical centers in Royal Oak and Downriver to further build out its 28-center network in metro Detroit, health system officials say. Looking to provide care closer to patients in a less costly and more convenient way than hospitals can, six-hospital Henry Ford also wants to stay ahead of its competitors, which include health systems like Detroit Medical Center, Beaumont Health and Ascension Health in Southeast Michigan, but also a growing number of physician and corporate-owned outpatient centers.
Doctors Would Like Trump To Reduce Paperwork Without Cutting Their Pay
Bruce Japsen, Forbes
In a rare showing of support for a Trump administration healthcare policy, 150 medical groups praised a White House effort to ease “documentation requirements” but they don’t want billing codes so simple they cut doctor pay. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has introduced a “Patients Over Paperwork” initiative as part of the administration’s proposed 2019 Medicare physician payment rule, which establishes regulations and fee schedules for hundreds of thousands of doctors.
Pharma, Biotech and Devices
Watchdog asks ethics officials to probe Azar over industry ties and views on rebates
Ed Silverman, Stat News
A watchdog group has asked ethics officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the relationship between Alex Azar, who heads the department, and Eli Lilly (LLY), his former employer, over a recently proposed rule that would benefit drug makers. The request by the Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit, comes in response to a proposal the Trump administration is considering to reduce or restrict rebates, which are essentially a type of discount that drug makers provide pharmacy benefit managers off the wholesale, or list, price for their medicines in order to receive favorable placement on formularies, which are lists of insured drugs.
The Trump administration is starting to overhaul its guidelines for companies that make mail-order DNA
Ike Swetlitz, Stat News
The Trump administration wants to modernize the federal guidelines for companies that sell made-to-order DNA in hopes of keeping dangerous genetic material — like smallpox or the Ebola virus — out of the hands of malicious potential customers, federal officials confirmed to STAT this week. The administration’s work is still in early stages, and it’s too soon to tell whether or how the government will make the guidelines more stringent, as companies and experts in the space have called for.
MetroHealth sues Purdue Pharma, other drug companies over nation’s opioid epidemic
Eric Heisig, cleveland.com
MetroHealth, the Cuyahoga County-based hospital system, filed suit Tuesday against drug companies over the nation’s opioid epidemic. The hospital system says companies like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson overstated the benefits of powerful pain medication such as OxyContin and downplayed the addiction risks of prescription opioids.
Epic cautions against irresponsible data-sharing
Rachel Z. Arndt, Modern Healthcare
Judy Faulkner and other leaders from Epic System Corp. issued words of warning about the data-management practices of companies outside of healthcare, urging customers to be wary of products claiming to do anything for free. These companies often do not comply with HIPAA and they sometimes steer patients toward inappropriate services or share too much data, as Facebook did with Cambridge Analytica, Faulkner said at Epic’s users group meeting where she donned a scout costume, duck boots, and a ranger hat to celebrate the meeting’s “great outdoors” theme.
A Message from Purdue Pharma:
For more than 25 years, Purdue Pharma has developed opioid medications for patients with acute and chronic pain. Due to the public health risks opioids can create, we support doctors and pharmacists in reducing prescription drug abuse; educators in addressing the crisis in schools; and law enforcement in providing the overdose rescue drug naloxone. Together, we can develop meaningful solutions to this complex crisis.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Advanced Practice Providers Critical in Reversing America’s Opioid Crisis
Jonathan Sobel, Morning Consult
For Richard Bottner, a physician assistant practicing hospital medicine and palliative care at a community hospital in Texas, it’s common for him to encounter patients suffering from opioid use disorder. So, he decided to learn more about OUD, but he had no idea that what he would learn would end up saving a patient’s life.
Trump might actually lower drug prices
Dana Goldman and Anupam Jena, The Washington Post
Surprise! The Trump administration is actually making progress to reduce drug prices, and not just by “browbeating” pharmaceutical executives. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced new options to increase competition for physician-administered drugs and lower the cost of some innovative medications, and the Food and Drug Administration is exploring importation to create more competition in the generics market.
FDA’s continuing use of ‘black box’ for antidepressants ignores the harms of this warning
Stephen Soumerai and Ross Koppel, Stat News
The Food and Drug Administration’s “black box” warnings and advisories give important safety information about drugs. But they can sometimes go too far and harm more people than they help. Take the FDA’s highly publicized warnings that taking antidepressants increases the risk of suicidality (defined as serious thoughts about taking one’s own life or planning or attempting suicide) among children, adolescents, and young adults. We have evidence, as do many others, that these warnings have decreased youths’ access to mental health care and increased suicide attempts.
Analysis of the Impacts of the ACA’s Tax On Health Insurance In Year 2020 and Later
Chris Carlson et al., Oliver Wyman
This report provides an analysis of the impact of the tax on health insurance premiums beginning in 2020. In addition, we provide the allocation of these taxes across each state and line of business and describe the number of individuals whose coverage is impacted by the tax on health insurance.