RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 02/16/2016
Today's Top Stories
Left-Leaning Economists Question Sanders's Plans
Jackie Calmes, NYT
With his expansive plans to increase the size and role of government, Senator Bernie Sanders has provoked a debate not only with his Democratic rival for president, Hillary Clinton, but also with liberal-leaning economists who share his goals but question his numbers and political realism.
Congressional Democrats Not Drawn to Single-Payer
Caitlin Owens, MC
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ vote for the Affordable Care Act was crucial to the passage of the health care legislation. So was every single other vote cast for it when Democrats passed the landmark bill by a thread. Now Sanders is talking about undoing it with a Medicare-for-all plan. Congressional Democrats have a range of views on it. Some simply say it is unrealistic. Others are openly frustrated that he’s proposing to reopen the health care debate after the enormous effort it took to pass the ACA.
CMS: $7.7B in Reinsurance Headed to Insurers
Susan Morse, HC Finance
Health insurers who sold plans through the marketplaces in 2015, and who covered high cost individuals can expect to get $7.7 billion this year through the federal reinsurance program established under the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced Feb. 12. An initial early payment at a rate of 25 percent will go out starting in March 2016, CMS said. The final estimated reinsurance payment amounts will be announced on June 30.
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Florida Approves Humana Sale to Aetna
Daniel Chang, Miami Herald
More than one million Floridians covered by Humana and CarePlus health plans will not have to change insurance after state regulators on Monday gave conditional approval to a plan by rival Aetna to purchase the companies. The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which reviewed the sale, will not require Humana and CarePlus policy holders to move to an unaffiliated company because of “its potential to disrupt quality of services, benefits, networks, and cost-sharing provisions,” according to the announcement.
Sticks, Not Carrots, May Work Best for Wellness
Dennis Thompson, HD
Financial penalties work better than cash rewards for motivating employees to meet physical activity goals in a workplace wellness program, a new study reports. Employees met a daily walking distance goal more often when every missed day meant money removed from a set monthly reward, as opposed to earning a cash incentive each day they met the goal, researchers reported.
Medical Care in Freddie Gray's Baltimore
Jay Hancock, KHN
Pushed by once-unthinkable shifts in how they are reimbursed, Baltimore’s famous medical institutions say they are trying harder than ever to improve the health of their lower-income neighbors in West Baltimore. But dozens of interviews with patients, doctors and local leaders show multiple barriers between the community and the glassy hospital towers a few blocks away.
How Health Care Helped Create Opioid Crisis
Steven Ross Johnson, MH
In 1996, pharmaceutical firm Purdue Pharma launched a campaign informing patients and doctors that a new, safe drug was available to combat pain that was not the result of cancer, surgery or trauma. This pill could relieve chronic back pain caused by daily physical demands. And it was safe because it would slowly release its narcotic ingredients, making it unlikely to become addictive, it said.
Popular Heartburn Pills Can Be Risky, Hard To Stop
Rob Stein, NPR
Many people have trouble discontinuing PPIs because the amount of acid in their digestive systems surges when they stop taking the drug. Experiences like Lafayette's, and rising evidence the drugs may be associated with a variety of increased risks, are making doctors increasingly worried about their wide use.
Ransomware Takes California Hospital Offline
Steve Ragan, CSO
The computers at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center have been down for more than a week as the Southern California hospital works to recover from a Ransomware attack. According to officials HPMC, they're cooperating fully with the LAPD and FBI, as law enforcement attempts to discover the identity of the attackers.
The Health Sector Needs Tech Giants
Carla Smith, TechCrunch
As is so often true, we learn more from our failures than our successes, and healthcare is no exception. For example, the sector has benefited from Silicon Valley’s failed efforts. From Google Health’s online personal health record (PHR), the industry found a major difference between what the patient wants, and what the patient needs. A consumer-facing healthcare product will only be successful if the consumer sees and experiences the benefit.
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With coverage in every zip code, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies know that healthcare starts at home. Whether it’s access to affordable prescriptions or making sure you have access to care of the highest quality, we’re committed to helping your state tackle the healthcare issues that are most important to your community. Learn more about what’s happening in your state.
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