RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 03/22/2016

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The Next Obamacare Sales Pitch
Dylan Scott, Stat
The Obama administration is trying once again to address a criticism that has dogged the president ever since his health care bill passed six years ago: they need to sell it better. And this time, they’re paying a lot more attention to the medical side — the parts that no one outside of a narrow circle of health care wonks really understands.

White House's Advantage in Contraception Case
Lisa Schencker, Mod HC
Experts say the White House may have some advantages going into a U.S. Supreme Court case centering on questions of religious freedom and the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers provide birth control coverage to employees. But the government will also face questions about whether it truly has shown a compelling interest in making sure all women get contraception coverage.

Apple Takes on Health Like Never Before
G. Clay Whittaker, Daily Beast
Following today’s Apple Keynote, there’s a new tool in the arsenal of medical professionals: extensive and constantly updating medical data, provided by your iPhone’s various sensors. In its Keynote today, Apple made it clear that it wants your iPhone to be an always-on health monitor, whether you have terminal, chronic, or no conditions to speak of.

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Preserve Medicare Advantage to protect those with chronic conditions who need the quality, coordinated care it provides. Learn more.

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Fitness Trackers Bad at Tracking Calories
Lisa Rapaport, Reuters
Fitness trackers may be a trendy way to monitor every step we take, but these gadgets are actually pretty bad at keeping tabs on how much energy we burn, a new study suggests. Scientists pitted 12 devices like the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up24 against two proven methods of monitoring energy expenditure – locking people in a room to assess every calorie consumed and burned, or asking people at home to drink specially treated water that makes it possible to detect energy output with a urine test.

Valeant Sold Some Drugs Twice
Matt Levine, Bloomberg View
In addition to the personnel news, today's press release and Form 8-K provide some insight into Valeant's accounting troubles. These troubles are ... honestly they do not seem like Valeant's main problem? Except indirectly, since if Valeant can't figure out its accounting and file its annual report by late April, it will be in default under its credit facility, and its creditors are getting nervous. The accounting problems are certainly strange, though.

Tavenner on the Challenges Ahead for AHIP
Kirkner, Managed Care
CMS veteran Marilyn Tavenner oversaw a rocky debut for Now she’s at the helm of AHIP as some major members need to be coaxed back into the fold.

Debate over Addiction Treatment Privacy Rules
Michelle Andrews, KHN
What’s more harmful to patients being treated for drug or alcohol abuse: risking their health by keeping other medical providers in the dark about their substance abuse treatment? Or risking their jobs, homes and child custody arrangements by allowing potentially damaging treatment details to be electronically shared among an array of medical providers?

What's the Answer for Relief of Chronic Pain?
Rita Rubin, Forbes
If pain has been a part of your life for months or for years, you might be feeling more confused than ever about how to deal with it.

U.S. Heart Disease Deaths Shifting South
Amy Norton, HealthDay
Fewer Americans are dying from heart disease compared with 40 years ago, but not all parts of the country are showing the same downward trend, a new federal government study finds. Researchers say the nation's heart-disease hotbeds have largely migrated south. In the 1970s, U.S. counties with the highest death rates from heart disease were clustered in the Northeast; now they are concentrated in Southern states, especially the deep South.

Elizabethkingia Is Sickening People in the Midwest
Julia Belluz, Vox
Since last November, more than 50 people in Wisconsin have been sickened by mysterious bacteria called Elizabethkingia anophelis. This is the largest recorded outbreak caused by what's to date been a rare microbe — and the same bug was identified last week in a patient who died in Michigan.

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Millions are facing new cuts to Medicare Advantage that will undermine chronic care management for those who don’t qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. That means fewer choices and higher costs. Proposed changes to Medicare Advantage should be delayed to find a solution that works for everyone. Learn more.

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