News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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As Its Drug Pricing Plans Fall Through, Trump Administration Turns To Congress To Act
National Public Radio

The Trump administration has dropped one of the meatiest portions of its plan to reduce drug prices.

The Department of Health and Human Services said it will no longer pursue a rule that would have prohibited the payment of certain rebates on drugs in Medicare Part D and Medicaid plans.

The idea was to target the middlemen, pharmacy benefit managers, whose negotiations with drugmakers and insurers influence the costs consumers pay for drugs.

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Trump kills key drug price proposal he once embraced
Washington Post

The Trump administration has withdrawn a key proposal to lower drug prices, which its top health official had touted seven months ago as the most effective way to curb medicine costs for consumers.

The drug rebate rule would have ended a widespread practice in which drugmakers give rebates to insurance middlemen in government programs such as Medicare. The idea was to channel that money to consumers instead.

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DOJ Lawyers Try New Tricks To Undo Obamacare. Will It Work?
Kaiser Health News

Once again, the fate of the Affordable Care Act is before the courts. The health law has traveled all the way to the Supreme Court (twice!) and is highly likely to make another visit.

On that path, the law made a stop Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Both sides presented arguments, interrupted, at times, by sharp questions from two of the judges.

For those just tuning in, the Trump administration is not defending the nine-year-old ACA.

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Listen: Young Undocumented Californians Cheer Promise Of Health Benefits
Kaiser Health News

Medicaid provides health care to low-income people. And California is set to be the first state to offer it to immigrants younger than 26 living there without legal permission. Starting in January, California will expand eligibility to include undocumented people ages 19 through 25. The change allows them to apply for full health coverage under Medi-Cal, the state’s version of Medicaid. It’s part of a bigger plan to eventually get everyone in the state covered.

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CMS seeks to reduce state reporting on Medicaid access, pay cuts
Modern Healthcare

The CMS wants to lower states’ requirements for showing that their Medicaid fee-for-service payment rates are adequate to enlist enough providers to offer beneficiaries satisfactory access to care.

The rule proposed Thursday would rescind a 2015 Obama administration rule requiring states to file an access monitoring review plan and update it at least every three years.

The CMS said the proposed rule would save states money, and that it would issue a separate guidance reminding them that they must ensure beneficiaries have adequate access to care. The public will have 60 days to comment.

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Sweeping mental health proposal pulled from November ballot
San Francisco Chronicle

Two San Francisco supervisors agreed Thursday to postpone a sweeping ballot measure to overhaul the city’s mental health care system, following weeks of heavy pushback from Mayor London Breed and the Department of Public Health.

Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Matt Haney originally wanted to place the measure on the November ballot, citing extreme urgency in mending the city’s broken mental health care system.

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Kidney dialysis stocks soar as investors see Trump executive order as good news
USA Today

President Donald Trump’s executive order to transform kidney care lays out ambitious goals for shifting 80% of patients now on kidney dialysis out of high-cost clinic settings to more convenient and cost-effective home care by the end of the next decade.

Yet the details of the proposal for achieving that goal appear to be far less threatening to the major dialysis providers than initially feared by many investors.

“The encouragement to build out home (dialysis) and the penalty for not building out is not as great as we thought would be necessary to spur that to quickly change behav

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Diagnosis errors account for one-third of severe harm malpractice claims
Modern Healthcare

About 34% of medical malpractice claims over a 10-year period that resulted in permanent injury or death to a patient were caused by diagnostic errors, according to a new study.

The findings, published Thursday and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, highlight the serious injuries that may result from diagnostic errors, among of the most common mistakes in medicine.

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Editorial: Paid family leave should be a U.S. priority
Modern Healthcare

All men and women are created equal, but their fate is determined shortly thereafter. It rests on a foundation built in the first few years of life, when the developing brain acquires language and social skills.

Former Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, who stressed prevention throughout his healthcare career, has dedicated his semi-retirement to early childhood development. “Children whose brains get exercised in the first three years of life are more likely to stay in school, avoid challenging health situations, and literally stay out of jail,” he’s written.

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Shortening trainee doctor hours hasn’t harmed patients
Modern Healthcare

When reforms shortened working hours for U.S. doctors-in-training, some worried: Was that enough time to learn the art of medicine? Would future patients suffer?

Now a study has answers, finding no difference in hospital deaths, readmissions or costs when comparing results from doctors trained before and after caps limiting duties to 80 hours per week took effect.

“Some still long for the old days of 100-hour work weeks, but most of the world has moved on and realized there are better ways to train residents,” said Dr. Karl Bilimoria of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research published Thursday in the journal BMJ.

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A Call For More Research On Cancer’s Environmental Triggers
National Public Radio

We already know how to stop many cancers before they start, scientists say. But there’s a lot more work to be done.

“Around half of cancers could be prevented,” said Christopher Wild in the opening session of an international scientific meeting on cancer’s environmental causes held in June. Wild is the former director of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

“Cancer biology and treatment is where most of the money goes,” he said, but prevention warrants greater attention. “I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work to improve treatment, but we haven’t balanced it properly.”

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Commentary: Data segmentation, hidden medical records are driving inequity in addiction treatment
Modern Healthcare

When it comes to substance use and addiction, frontline healthcare providers are often in the dark.

As our country battles opioid addiction, the healthcare data that doctors, hospitals and public health professionals need is inaccessible. Separate privacy laws that govern access to medical records for substance-use disorders, versus every other medical condition, including HIV/AIDS, mental health and cancer, are affecting how providers treat patients suffering from addiction.

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Reckitt Benckiser Agrees To Pay $1.4 Billion In Opioid Settlement
National Public Radio

British company Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to pay $1.4 billion to resolve all U.S. government investigations and claims in what is the biggest drug industry settlement to date stemming from the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic.

In a statement Thursday, Reckitt Benckiser denied wrongdoing but said the settlement deal “avoids the costs, uncertainty and distraction associated with continued investigations, litigation and the potential for an indictment.”

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Prolific UCSF benefactors pledge $25 million for psychiatry unit
San Francisco Business Times

The Susan and Bill Oberndorf Foundation’s gift is the latest in a string of major donations to the public university.

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