The James Group Newsletter Vol. 6, Num. 1: Shutdown Breaks Record, Birth Control Mandate, Remodel Medicaid, Hospitals Post Rx Prices, Flu Sickened 7M, TN Scientist, Americans Took 26T Steps in 2018, Real Pain Measurements, Rx Prices Take Center Stage....









January 14, 2019 

Volume 6, Number 1

In This Issue

Shutdown Breaks Record

Birth Control Mandate Blocked

Efforts to Remodel Medicaid

Hospitals Must Now Post Med Prices

Flu Has Sickened 7M

TN Scientist Responds to Anti-Vax Politician

Americans Took Over 26T Steps Last Year

Scientists Seek Real Measurements of Pain

Rx Prices Take Center Stage in House Hearing

Reform Drug Rebate System

LA Adopts “Netflix” Model

Hard to Fit Exercise Into Your Day?

TJG On Facebook

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The Wall Street Journal: Shutdown Breaks Record For Longest In Modern History
The partial government shutdown became the longest in modern U.S. history on Sunday as the impasse over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stretched into its 23rd day. (Peterson, Bender and Ballhaus, 1/13)

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times: Judge Blocks Trump’s Attempt To Roll Back Birth Control Mandate
The plaintiffs, he wrote, had done enough to bolster their claim that the religious exemption and the moral exemption sought by the Trump administration were “not in accordance with” the Affordable Care Act. After Judge Gilliam blocked the initial rules, the Trump administration appealed. Last month the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the District Court’s ruling but limited the injunction’s scope. With that ruling in mind, Judge Gilliam made clear that the preliminary injunction he granted on Sunday bars enforcement in only the states that sued. (Stevens, 1/14)

Source: The NY Times

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Plans Effort To Let States Remodel Medicaid
The Trump administration is readying guidance that could let states remodel their Medicaid programs to more closely resemble block grant proposals favored by Republicans during their failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, according to people familiar with the discussions. (Armour, 1/11)

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times: Hospitals Must Now Post Prices. But It May Take A Brain Surgeon To Decipher Them.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center, responding to a new Trump administration order to begin posting all hospital prices, listed a charge of $42,569 for a cardiology procedure described as “HC PTC CLOS PAT DUCT ART.” Baptist Health in Miami helpfully told consumers that an “Embolza Protect 5.5” would cost them $9,818 while a “Visceral selective angio rad” runs a mere $5,538. On Jan. 1, hospitals began complying with a Trump administration order to post list prices for all their services, theoretically offering consumers transparency and choice and forcing health care providers into price competition. (Pear, 1/13)

Source: The NY Times

The Washington Post: The Flu Has Sickened About 7 Million In The U.S. So Far, CDC Estimates
“We decided that this year, we would try to release these preliminary numbers of illnesses each week so that we could give people a better picture,” said Alicia Fry, who heads the CDC’s epidemiology and prevention branch in the influenza division. The CDC releases a report each week on seasonal influenza in the United States, along with detailed graphs and charts. But until Friday, the reports did not provide data on how many people have gotten sick, gone to the doctor, been hospitalized or died. The agency released that information at the end of each season after analyzing the data. (Sun, 1/11)

Source: The Washington Post

The Associated Press: Tennessee Scientists Weighed Response To Anti-Vax Politician
What should a state health department do when its newly elected congressman gets a rush of social media attention for challenging the science behind vaccines? Department of Health officials in Tennessee struggled on the best way to respond after Republican Rep. Mark Green told a town hall meeting last month, without citing evidence, that vaccines cause autism. Green also claimed that the federal government was hiding information about the negative side effects of vaccines. (1/11)

Source: The Associated Press

The Washington Post: Americans Took More Than 26 Trillion Steps Last Year, According To Fitbit
Health experts have been saying for years that the path to a healthy self, starts with being physically active. Apparently, people have been listening. Americans wearing a fitness tracker, specifically a Fitbit device, took more than 26 trillion steps last year — actually, precisely 26,857,655,603,500 steps. They accomplished this over 118.9 billion minutes; they also slept 12.4 billion hours. Fitbit says its U.S. clients averaged 7,994 steps a day, ranking 33rd worldwide (Hong Kong residents topped the list, averaging 10,493 steps a day). (Searing, 1/12)

Source: The Washington Post

The Associated Press: Scientists Seek Ways To Finally Take A Real Measure Of Pain
There's no stethoscope for pain. Now, U.S. health officials are pushing for development of a pain meter, the first objective way to measure it. The National Institutes of Health stresses the goal isn't a lie detector for pain, but to spur better treatment. A device that peeks into patients' eyes is among the approaches in early-stage studies. The theory is that patterns of pupil reactions could signal pain, and what drug might help. (1/10)

Source: The Associated Press

The Hill: Drug Prices To Take Center Stage In First House Oversight Hearing
The House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing to examine drug price increases later this month, the committee’s first since Democrats took control of the House. In a statement, Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the hearing will serve to launch a “broad review of the skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs.” (Weixel, 1/10)

Source: The Hill

The Wall Street Journal: Senator Collins Presses HHS To Reform Drug Rebate System
The impact that rebates can have on prescription drug prices is drawing more scrutiny of the practice. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, has asked the Department of Health and Human Services to take action on the Trump administration’s pledge to change drug rebates, saying legislation may be necessary to reform the system. (Hopkins, 1/10)

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post: Louisiana Adopts ‘Netflix’ Model To Pay For Hepatitis C Drugs
Louisiana officials announced Thursday that their state would become the first to move forward with a new way to pay for expensive hepatitis C treatments, which could dramatically increase the number of people who can be cured of the liver-damaging disease and provide a model for others struggling to afford the medications. Instead of paying for each prescription individually, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said the state would essentially pay a subscription fee to a drug company, an alternative payment arrangement that has become known as the “Netflix model.” The state would then get unlimited access to the drug, similar to how consumers pay a monthly fee to stream unlimited television shows and movies. (Johnson, 1/10)

Source: The Washington Post

NPR: Get Fit — Faster: This 22-Minute Workout Has You Covered
Hard to fit exercise into your day? Then, maybe this workout is for you. It covers everything you need — from cardio to strength-training to stretching. "You can get a fantastic work out in 22 minutes," says Tim Church. He's a physician and researcher who's spent his career studying exercise. (Aubrey, 1/13)

Source: NPR


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