News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

 

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Poll: Americans Support Government Action To Curb Prescription Drug Prices
National Public Radio

About a quarter of Americans surveyed say they’ve had trouble paying for their prescription drugs, and a majority welcome government action to help cut the cost of medications.

A survey released Friday by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many people have skipped or rationed their prescription medications or have substituted cheaper over-the-counter drugs.

The result? Those who ration their meds are often sicker, the poll finds.

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Insurer, hospital lobbyists unite against Medicare for All proposals
Modern Healthcare

The audience of healthcare executives had expected the heads of the influential insurance and hospital lobbying groups to butt heads.

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Pelosi on single-payer health care: ‘How do you pay for that?’
The Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) expresses some skepticism about single-payer health insurance in a new interview, asking how the trillions of dollars in new spending would be paid for.

“That is, administratively, the simplest thing to do, but to convert to it? Thirty trillion dollars. Now, how do you pay for that?” Pelosi said of single-payer in an interview with Rolling Stone.

The roughly $30 trillion price tag over ten years of single-payer health insurance, sometimes referred to as “Medicare for all,” has been one of the leading criticisms of the proposal.

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Medicare Trims Payments To 800 Hospitals, Citing Patient Safety Incidents
Kaiser Health News

Eight hundred hospitals will be paid less by Medicare this year because of high rates of infections and patient injuries, federal records show.

The number is the highest since the federal government five years ago launched the Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Reduction Program, created by the Affordable Care Act. Under the program, 1,756 hospitals have been penalized at least once, a Kaiser Health News analysis found.

This year, 110 hospitals are being punished for the fifth straight time.

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Blues association hopes to convince Congress to stabilize ACA exchanges
Modern Healthcare

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association wants to resurrect congressional efforts to stabilize the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges by boosting tax subsidies and cost-sharing payments.

The association, which represents more than 30 Blues plans across the U.S., released a legislative proposal on Thursday to boost subsidies for ACA exchange customers to entice younger people to sign up on the exchanges and help customers that earn too much to get a subsidy.

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CMS considers tossing hospital star ratings methodology
Modern Healthcare

The CMS is considering scrapping the model it uses to assign hospital star ratings, signaling a big shift from the agency’s stance just seven months ago.

In conjunction with releasing new ratings on the Hospital Compare website Thursday for the first time in nearly 15-months, the agency also opened a public comment page for stakeholders to provide feedback on potential changes to the ratings program, and one them is tossing out the latent variable model used to assign hospitals ratings.

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States Move To Restrict Parents’ Refusal To Vaccinate Their Kids
National Public Radio

All U.S. states require most parents to vaccinate their children against some preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, to be able to attend school. Such laws often apply to children in private schools and day care facilities as well as public schools.

At the same time, beyond medical exemptions, most states also allow parents to opt out of this vaccination requirement for religious reasons. And 17 states permit other exemptions — allowing families to opt out of school vaccination requirements for personal or philosophical reasons.

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Americans Ready To Crack Down On Drug Prices That Force Some To Skip Doses
Kaiser Health News

Large majorities of Americans from both major parties support steps to control prescription drug costs such as showing prices in ads, removing barriers to generics and letting patients get less expensive drugs from Canada, a new poll shows.

By a 9-to-1 ratio, Republicans, Democrats and independents favor making drug companies show list prices in their advertising, says a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Highly advertised medicines such as Humira, for arthritis, cost tens of thousands of dollars a year, even after discounts.

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Health care consolidation putting pressure on real estate market
Sacramento Business Journal

As the number of independent physicians dwindles, larger health systems are requiring larger spaces.

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The Business Case for Social Determinants of Health
The Health Care Blog

How can understanding the underlying social risks impacting patient populations improve health outcomes AND save health plans some serious per-member-per-month costs? You’re probably familiar with the concept of ‘Social Determinants of Health’ (SDOH) but Dr.

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Flu-related emergency room activity increases at San Diego hospitals
San Diego Union-Tribune

An increase in emergency room activity at local hospitals shows that flu season is not over.

In its weekly influenza report, the county Health and Human Services Agency states that 6 percent of local emergency department cases showed flu-like symptoms last week, a rate not seen since the final days of December.

Dr. Eric McDonald, medical director of the county’s epidemiology and immunization services branch, said Wednesday that emergency cases have continued at similar, or perhaps even slightly worse, rates this week. While H1N1-type flu viruses continue to be the most common sources of infection, McDonald noted that H3N2 viruses have become the most prevalent in many parts of the country, especially the southeastern states.

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