RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 01/29/2016

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Drug Shortages Force Rationing of Treatments
Sheri Fink, N.Y. Times
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists currently lists inadequate supplies of more than 150 drugs and therapeutics, for reasons ranging from manufacturing problems to federal safety crackdowns to drugmakers abandoning low-profit products. But while such shortages have periodically drawn attention, the rationing that results from them has been largely hidden from patients and the public.

Merck Sets $56K Price for Newly Approved Hep C Drug
L. Johnson, AP
Patients with hepatitis C have yet another advanced treatment option, as the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved a new once-a-day pill developed by drugmaker Merck.

Calif. Voters Will Have Their Say on Drug Prices
Anna Gorman, CHL
California voters will weigh in this November on a high-stakes ballot proposition intended to help control the cost of prescription drugs – the latest attempt to limit soaring prices that have prompted public criticism nationwide.

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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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Big Pharma Takes a Beating from Democrats
Dylan Scott, Stat
In school gyms and bowling alleys across the first nominating state, Sanders and Hillary Clinton use the specter of a greedy drug industry to help paint their picture of wealthy and corporate interests running roughshod over the American people.

Cruz Dodges Question on ACA Replacement
Jonathan Cohn, HuffPo
Cruz proceeded to explain that, with the health care law gone, he’d do three things: allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, decouple employment and insurance, and allow more people to use health savings accounts. By themselves, these would do very little to help the uninsured get coverage.

Cruz's Claim that 'Obamacare Is a Job Killer'
Mark Sullivan, Fast Company
Cruz asserts that Obamacare has driven many into part-time work. But Department of Labor stats show that the number of people working part-time jobs has been on the decline.

Donald Trump's Left-Wing Health Care Policy
Jake Flanigin, Quartz
While you could argue that Trump’s approach to health care is just as scattershot and nonsensical as the rest of his campaign, it’s worth noting that his support base is among working-class whites—people with families and budgets.

Republicans: Obama Failing to Enforce Abortion Law
Peter Sullivan, Hill
GOP lawmakers and faith groups have protested California’s requirement that all health insurance plans cover abortion, arguing the requirement violates the federal Weldon Amendment. That provision protects health insurance plans from discrimination if they decline to cover abortions.

AHIP Starts Medicare Advantage Political Pressure
Herman, Mod. HC
America's Health Insurance Plans, the primary lobbyist for the health insurance industry, is funding a seven-figure ad campaign that targets Medicare Advantage and aims to put pressure on the Obama administration to stabilize funding for the private version of Medicare.

Walgreens Suspends Theranos Services in Calif.
Shaji & Patnaik, Reuters
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, said it was immediately suspending laboratory services by Theranos, a blood-testing startup, at a store in California. Walgreens said it has told Theranos to immediately stop sending any lab tests provided through Theranos Wellness Centers at Walgreens to be analyzed at its lab in Newark, California.

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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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