RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 01/26/2016

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Trump Backs Medicare Negotiating Drug Prices
Donald Trump said tonight he could save Medicare billions of dollars by allowing it to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies -- embracing a position Democrats have championed and Republicans have opposed for years.

CBO Lowers Projected Growth in Obamacare Enrollment
Roll Call
The Congressional Budget Office on Monday cut by more than a third its estimate for how many people will buy health insurance this year through government exchanges, dropping the projection to 13 million from 21 million.

Senator Holds Up FDA Nominee over Opioid Crisis
Brady Dennis, WP
A second senator has announced plans to stall the confirmation of a new Food and Drug Administration commissioner, saying the agency needs to reform the way it approves a type of powerful painkillers at the heart of a national epidemic of overdoses from prescription drugs and heroin.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are helping people understand how to use their health benefits so they can get the right medication for them at the most affordable price. Learn more.

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Grand Jury Indicts Abortion Foes Behind Videos
Alex Ura, Texas Tribune
A Harris County grand jury on Monday indicted the videographers behind undercover recordings of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston and cleared the women's health provider of any wrongdoing.

SCOTUS Won't Let North Dakota Enforce Tough Abortion Law
Associated Press
The justices on Monday turned away the state's appeal of lower court rulings that struck down the 2013 fetal heartbeat law as unconstitutional. The law never took effect, and abortion rights supporters said it was the strictest anti-abortion measure in the country.

Rural Coloradans Struggle to Pay for Insurance
David Olinger, Den. Post
In Colorado's high country, few things loom larger than the price of health insurance — a situation that worsened this year when a low-cost provider closed its doors. Elected officials in mountain counties say they have a crisis on their hands. Some frustrated residents talk of moving to Utah for cheaper medical coverage. Others are driving hundreds of miles to Denver to see a doctor.

Is Medicaid Expansion Near a Tipping Point?
Christine Vestal, Stateline
Ever since the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision making Medicaid expansion a state option, the issue has been more political than practical. Many Republican governors and lawmakers have rejected the deal, fearing they would lose their jobs if they were seen cooperating with President Barack Obama on a law most conservatives abhor. With Obama out of office, that could change.

States Have Trouble Coordinating Care for Duals
Virgil Dickson, MH
States say it's harder and more expensive than initially predicted to coordinate care for the roughly 9 million people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

More People Under 50 Getting Colon Cancer
Steven Reinberg, HealthDay
Colon cancer rates are rising among men and women under 50, the age at which guidelines recommend screenings start, a new analysis shows.

Pressure on Medicare to Pay for Genetic Sequencing
Dylan Scott, Stat
The Obama administration is facing growing calls to allow Medicare and Medicaid to pay for advanced gene-sequencing of tumors, a step proponents say will help both cancer patients and scientific research.

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Making the most of your prescription drug benefits helps you get healthy faster and stay healthy longer, while keeping costs in check. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are helping people understand how to maximize their benefits so they can get the effective medicines they need at the most affordable price. Learn more.

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