RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 02/09/2016

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Novartis Sets Heart-Drug Price Based on Outcome
C. Humer, Reuters
U.S.-based health insurers Cigna Corp and Aetna Inc. have struck deals with Novartis AG for a performance-based price for the Swiss drugmaker's new heart drug, Entresto, the companies said on Monday. The agreements are among the few performance-based deals that have been made public by drugmakers and U.S. managed-care companies, which say they have been having more discussions about linking price to health outcomes in order to cut unneeded drug spending.

Wyden Scrutinizes Pharma Links on Pain Panel
Matthew Perrone, AP
A high-ranking Senate Democrat is scrutinizing links between pharmaceutical companies and government advisers who recently criticized efforts to reduce painkiller prescribing.

Are States Obligated to Provide Hep C Drugs?
Michael Ollove, Stateline
A handful of federal lawsuits against states that have denied highly effective but costly hepatitis C drugs to Medicaid patients and prisoners could cost states hundreds of millions of dollars.

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U.S. Signals Making 'Active Purchaser'
Bartolone, KHN
The federal government — in pending proposed rules for 2017 — has signaled it too wants to have more of a hand in crafting plans. Though there are no plans to go as far as a monthly drug copay cap, would be forging ahead on a path California already paved, swapping variety for simplicity in plan design.

Senators Try for Bipartisanship on Medicare
Peter Sullivan, The Hill
The Senate Finance Committee is trying to do something a bit rare in an election year: legislate in a bipartisan way on a wonky but important issue. The project is to improve the way Medicare covers people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s, so as to improve the coordination of care and bring about healthier outcomes at lower cost.

First Round of Medical Bills to See Committee Votes
Caitlin Owens, MC
The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will on Tuesday begin its piecemeal approach to medical innovation legislation. Seven bipartisan bills are on the markup agenda, the first of three batches the committee will examine between now and April. This is the approach Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) decided to take after failing to come to a bipartisan consensus with ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a broader bill.

Why It Took Years for FDA to Warn about Scopes
Melody Petersen, LAT
An outbreak at a Pennsylvania hospital in late 2012 should have been an early warning that a reusable medical scope was spreading deadly infections and nearly impossible to disinfect. But staff at the federal Food and Drug Administration lost the report, one of multiple missteps that allowed doctors and hospitals to continue using the scope for three more years even as dozens of patients were sickened.

How Millennials Could Change Health Care
Jason Hidalgo, Reno G-J
Amid all the debate, however, one group could prove to be the wild card. As more millennials interact with the healthcare system, the industry will find itself facing a more sophisticated and demanding group that won’t stand for its inefficiencies with the same begrudging acceptance of previous generations, said Kathy Hempstead, director of insurance coverage for the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation.

Task Force: Teens Should Be Screened for Depression
Robert Preidt, HD
Primary care doctors should screen all patients between 12 and 18 years of age for major depression, but not younger children, preventive health experts say. Screening of adolescents needs to be accompanied by accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and appropriate follow-up, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said in a final recommendation released Monday.

Don't Ignore Downsides of Depression Screening
Patrick Skerrett, Stat
Although screening sounds like it is straightforward and completely beneficial, it can lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. STAT asked two experts to weigh in on the benefits and the possible hazards of screening for depression.

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