RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 02/23/2016

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Daschle on Polarization, Courts and House v. Burwell
Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader and now founder and CEO of The Daschle Group, talked to RealClearHealth's Karl Eisenhower about the polarized climate in Congress and the nation, and what he recommends to find areas of consensus.

Clinton Revives Support for 'Public Option'
Diamond & Pradhan, Politico
Hillary Clinton wants to bring back the public option, offering a competing vision to Bernie Sanders’ support for a more progressive health care system. Clinton's campaign has updated its website to note her continued support for the government-run health plan that was dropped from Obamacare during the law's drafting. The idea was popular among progressives who prefer a single-payer plan -- like the one Bernie Sanders is touting.

Sanders Plan Renews Debate On Universal Coverage
Alison Kodjak, NPR
The Democratic presidential hopeful basically wants to nationalize the U.S. health insurance industry, and have Uncle Sam foot the bill for medical bills, office visits and prescriptions. Get rid of copays. Get rid of deductibles. Get rid of lots of forms.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies believe it’s important to take medications as directed by your doctor for the best health and safety. Learn more.

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Obama Hopes for 'Sensible' Health Debate
Peter Sullivan, The Hill
President Obama said Monday he hopes the country can have a “sensible conversation” about reforming healthcare spending “once I’m gone,” because the debate has become so politicized.

HHS Ignored Warnings about Tech
Amy Goldstein, WP
During the two years before the disastrous opening of, federal officials in charge of creating the online insurance marketplace received 18 written warnings that the mammoth project was mismanaged and off course but never considered postponing its launch, according to government investigators.

Govs Seek Funds, Share Strategies on Opioids
Ana Radelat, CT Mirror
The nation’s governors who have gathered here for an annual conference, are pressing the federal government for money to help them combat the epidemic of opioid abuse and heroin addiction that has resulted in a spike of overdoses and strained state public health systems. The governors also shared with the Obama administration and each other policies they’ve implemented to confront the crisis. Some of the governors on the front line of the opioid epidemic seem also to be in the vanguard to fight it.

Califf Nomination Clears Major Hurdle in Senate
Sheila Kaplan, Stat
Dr. Robert Califf moved one step closer to becoming the next chief of the Food and Drug Administration Monday after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to end debate on his nomination, eliminating the threat from a small group of senators who tried to block him. The vote was 80 to 6, giving Califf the support of far more than the 60 senators he needed to end his opponents’ ability to filibuster his nomination.

FDA Asks If Faulty Device Tainted Xarelto Approval
Katie Thomas, NYT
The clinical trial, known as Rocket AF, was led by Dr. Robert M. Califf, currently President Obama’s nominee for head of the Food and Drug Administration. It involved more than 14,000 patients worldwide and took place from 2006 to 2010.

2 Midnight Rule Battle May Be the War's Last
Christopher Cheney, HLM
CMS says a 0.2% Medicare payment cut for hospitals is needed to offset the estimated costs of implementing the two-midnight rule. Hospitals contend it is "an arbitrary standard." But an analysis of the financial impact of the rule will likely take years and another round in federal court.

Dueling & Confusing Star Ratings for Home Health
Jordan Rau, KHN
Patients looking for home health care services will be impressed if they check out the federal government’s ratings of Brookdale Senior Living. Four of the company’s home health agencies — in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island — each earned five stars, the top quality score, primarily based on Medicare’s assessment of how often patients got better. But further research may lead to confusion. Medicare also posts stars to convey how patients rate agencies after their care is over. There, these same four Brookdale agencies earned no more than two stars.

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies believe it’s important to take medications as directed to make sure you get the right dose at the right time. Following doctors’ directions, remembering to take medicines and disposing of them properly are all important for better health and safety. Learn more.

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