RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 03/04/2016

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U.S. Beats Goal on Medicare Payment Reform
Sarah Ferris, The Hill
The Obama administration reached an important landmark in its ambitious push to reform Medicare payments by tying doctor fees to quality rather than quantity. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Thursday it reached its goal of tying 30 percent of Medicare payments to value, instead of volume, with 10 months left in 2016.

NAM's Boerstling on 'Health Care As an Ecosystem'
National Association of Manufacturers' Robyn Boerstling tells RealClearHealth that in a changing environment, employers need to "band together" by sharing data and experiences. She also describes changes to the ACA manufacturers would like to see in 2016 and discusses the opportunities for reform in the first 100 days of a new administration.

Obama: 20 Million Gain Coverage under ACA
Laurie McGinley, Wash Post
President Obama energetically touted the success of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, saying that an estimated 20 million people have gained health coverage since the law was passed in 2010. During a trip to Milwaukee, Obama cited a new administration report attributing the increase in the number of insured Americans to provisions that created health insurance marketplaces where consumers can buy private plans, expanded Medicaid, required insurers to cover people with medical conditions and permitted young people to stay on their parents’ health plans until they turned 26.

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Trump Health Plan Recycles GOP Staples
Scott Hensley, NPR
Republican front-runner Donald Trump released a seven-point plan to change the country's health care system that includes several familiar GOP proposals and one that puts him in agreement with, believe it or not, Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders.

Trump's Health Care Talk Not Matched by His Plan
Sanger-Katz, Upshot
When Donald Trump talks about health care, he sounds as if he wants to do something different from the rest of the Republican field. But his health care plan, released Wednesday night, looks a lot like what his competitors have already presented.

The One Number in Trump's Health Care Plan
Rebecca Robbins, Stat
When Donald Trump put out his health care plan late Wednesday, he mentioned just one number: $11 billion. He claims that’s the annual cost of providing health care to undocumented immigrants — and an opportunity for big savings, if those here illegally could just be deported or prevented from coming to the United States in the first place. But experts say that’s nonsense.

Lead-Exposed Flint Kids to Get Medicaid Coverage
Lenny Bernstein, WP
The arrangement will provide recipients with a variety of free health services, including monitoring for the level of lead in their blood and behavioral health treatment, HHS said in its announcement. The programs will be offered to children up to the age of 21 and pregnant women who were using Flint water from April 2014 to a date yet to be specified by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R). Families must earn less than $97,200 a year to qualify.

Hospitals Making Progress Against 'Superbugs'
Steven Reinberg, HD
Although U.S. hospitals are making gains in the fight against some antibiotic-resistant superbugs, too many people are still getting these infections in health care facilities, federal health officials report. And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to be at the forefront of the fight against these infections.

Fight Cancer with Twitter?
Sam Wood, Philadelphia Inquirer
Recruiting enough adults to participate in clinical trials to test new medical treatments is often one of the biggest barriers researchers face. In fact, only about 5 percent of adult cancer patients participate in trials, which are essential to getting drugs approved. Physicians at Penn, writing this week in the journal JAMA Oncology, say Twitter could be the solution.

When Will the Pager Die in Health Care?
Neil Versel, MedCityNews
Lots of people in health IT know the joke. Only two types of people still use pagers: doctors and drug dealers — and drug dealers upgraded years ago. Sadly, the pager still manages to live in healthcare. Fortunately, some at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas are trying to kill it off, some more conspicuously than others.

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