The James Group Newsletter Vol. 6, Num. 2: UT Plan for Medicaid Expansion, 'Medicare For All', Medicare Adv Plan, Measles Outbreak, MS Abortion Bill, Counseling for Mothers, CVS HC Services, MD Payment Ins Plan, FDA and Supplements, Youth Vaping, Immunotherapy

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February 15, 2019 

Volume 6, Number 2

In This Issue

UT Plan for Medicaid Expansion

‘Medicare For All’?

Chance to Change Medicare Adv. Plan

Measles Outbreak

MS Advances Strict Abortion Bill

Counseling Covered For New Mothers

CVS: Health Care Services

MD: Payment Insurance Plan

FDA: Oversight of Supplements

Youth Smoking Decline Stalls—Vaping?

Immunotherapy Results in Extended Survival

Processed Foods: Shorter Life

TJG On Facebook

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Kaiser Health News: Utah’s Novel Plan For Medicaid Expansion Opens Door To Spending Caps Sought By GOP
Utah this week became the 35th state to approve expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but advocates for the poor worry its unusual financing could set a dangerous precedent and lead to millions of people losing coverage across the country. That’s because the plan includes unprecedented annual limits on federal and state spending. Those restrictions would be a radical change for Medicaid. Since it began in 1966, the state-federal health program for low-income residents has been an open-ended entitlement for anyone who meets eligibility criteria. State and federal spending must keep pace with enrollment. (Galewitz, 2/14)

Source: Kaiser Health News

The Hill: Dems Offer Smaller Step Toward ‘Medicare For All'
“This is something that is not pie in the sky or aspirational,” said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), a co-sponsor of the buy-in bill. “This is a piece of legislation where you could turn the switch on overnight.” The measure was introduced by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Tammy Baldwin (Wis.) and Reps. Courtney, Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and John Larson (D-Conn.). Meanwhile, progressive House Democrats are preparing their Medicare for all bill, which would largely eliminate the private insurance industry and move everyone into a single-payer, government-run system. (Hellmann, 2/13)

Source: The Hill

The Associated Press: Now's Your Chance To Change Your Medicare Advantage Plan
Medicare Advantage enrollees get a new, second chance to find the right health coverage this year. The government added another enrollment window that started Jan. 1 and lasts until March 31. It gives people with privately run versions of the federal Medicare program a chance to change plans or switch to regular Medicare. Until now, Medicare Advantage customers who wanted to make a big switch outside the program's annual fall sign-up period had to rely on a shorter, more limited window. (2/13)

Source: The Associated Press

The Washington Post: Measles Outbreak: As Americans Reject Vaccines, Health Workers Abroad Risk Death To Deliver Them
In early October, three cases of measles were confirmed in Antanarivo, the capital of Madagascar. The highly contagious virus quickly spread across the island nation; by the next month, thousands of cases had been confirmed. The crisis only grew from there. Madagascar has poor health-care infrastructure and a low vaccination rate. But public health experts say its dangerous measles outbreak still offers a warning for anti-vaccination campaigners in the United States, where a smaller-scale flare-up has led to more than 100 confirmed cases since the beginning of the year. (O'Grady, 2/13)

Source: The Washington Post

The Associated Press: Mississippi Advances Ban On Abortion After Fetal Heartbeat
Mississippi is working toward enacting one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation, in a race with other states to push a legal challenge to the more conservative U.S. Supreme Court. The Republican-controlled Mississippi House and Senate passed separate bills Wednesday to ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, about six weeks into pregnancy. Efforts to pass similar bills are underway in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee. (2/13)

Source: The Associated Press

The New York Times: Depression During And After Pregnancy Can Be Prevented, National Panel Says. Here’s How.
Some kinds of counseling can keep some women from developing debilitating symptoms that can harm not only them but their babies, the panel reported on Tuesday. Its report amounted to a public call for health providers to seek out women with certain risk factors and guide them to counseling programs. The recommendation, by the United States Preventive Services Task Force, means that insurers will be required to cover those services — with no co-payments — under the Affordable Care Act. “We really need to find these women before they get depressed,” said Karina Davidson, a task force member and senior vice president for research for Northwell Health. (Belluck, 2/12)

Source: The NY Times

USA Today: CVS Concept Store Introduced With Space For Health Care Services
Someday soon you may walk into your local CVS Pharmacy with your prescription in one hand and your yoga mat in the other. That's because CVS Health is testing a new concept store format as the company plans to shift more of its floor space to health care services. The drug store chain, one of America's largest retailers, is debuting three HealthHUB locations in Houston as it heads toward a future with less space devoted to retail goods like seasonal items. (Bomey, 2/13)

Source: USA Today

The Associated Press: Health Groups Back Down Payment Insurance Plan In Maryland
Health organizations in Maryland are backing a proposal to create an individual health care mandate at the state level. Several groups and lawmakers will gather in Annapolis on Wednesday to endorse legislation in the Maryland General Assembly that would revive the mandate that was gutted at the federal level. But instead of requiring those who remain uninsured to pay a penalty, the measure would require them to pay a down payment on health insurance. (2/13)

Source: The Associated Press

The Washington Post: FDA Launches Tougher Oversight Of Supplements
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency is planning policy changes that could lead to the most important regulatory modernization since enactment of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which set up the regulatory regime. Under the law, dietary supplements are regulated as food and, therefore, are not subject to premarket approval or the kind of safety and effectiveness testing required for drugs. Since the law was enacted, the industry has grown from 4,000 products and $4 billion a year in sales to as many as 80,000 products and $50 billion in sales, according to the FDA. (McGinley, 2/11)

Source: The Washington Post

The Associated Press: Youth Smoking Decline Stalls, And Vaping May Be To Blame
Cigarette smoking rates have stopped falling among U.S. kids, and health officials believe youth vaping is responsible. For decades, the percentage of high school and middle school students who smoked cigarettes had been declining fairly steadily. For the past three years, it has flattened, according to new numbers released Monday. There may be several reasons, but a recent boom in vaping is the most likely explanation, said Brian King of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2/11)

Source: The Associated Press

Stat: In Small Brain Cancer Study, Immunotherapy Results In Extended Survival
Giving patients with lethal brain tumors a powerful new form of cancer treatment before they underwent surgery helped them live longer on average than patients who started the drugs after surgery, researchers reported in a study published Monday. While the study was small, and while most patients still died by the end of the study period, researchers said the results suggested timing could be an important factor when trying to treat glioblastoma, or GBM, with immunotherapies, which are designed to unleash the immune system on cancer cells. (Joseph, 2/11)

Source: Stat

The New York Times: Eating Processed Foods Tied To Shorter Life
Eating highly processed foods could shorten your life, a new study suggests. The study, in JAMA Internal Medicine, tracked diet and health over eight years in more than 44,000 French men and women. Their average age was 58 at the start. (Bakalar, 2/12)

Source: The NY Times


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