Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have proposed sweeping legislation designed to lower health care costs by addressing unexpected medical bills and improving drug price transparency. Alexander has said they hope to bring the package, which consists of close to three dozen provisions, to the Senate floor for a vote in July.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers released details of a proposal meant to protect patients against surprise medical bills for out-of-network care through a "baseball-style" arbitration process. AHIP said it is concerned that the "proposal relies on a costly and cumbersome system of dispute resolution that utilizes inflated charges of certain specialty providers to determine payment. These arbitrary rates bear no relation to the cost of care and this approach would likely lead to increased healthcare spending at a time we need solutions to reduce costs for patients."
Amgen's Corlanor, or ivabradine, has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for patients at least 6 months old with stable symptomatic heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy who are in sinus rhythm with an elevated heart rate. In a study, treatment with Corlanor led to a higher proportion of patients who achieved target heart rate reduction versus placebo use.
The leaders and ranking members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee released the discussion draft of legislation meant to limit beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs in Medicare Part D and reduce the government's portion of catastrophic coverage from 80% to 20% over a four-year period. Stakeholders are invited to submit input on the proposals by June 6.
A bill that will limit the cost of insulin for patients with diabetes to no more than $100 per month has been signed into law by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. The law, which will take effect in January, will also require the state attorney general to investigate the recent spike in insulin prices and submit findings by November 2020.
Facilities Management Services and Heine Brothers' Coffee in Louisville, Ky., are partnering with a nonprofit group to help their employees pay for bags of fresh produce this summer. The companies are located in an area where there are only two grocery stores for more than 13,000 residents, and an FMS survey found employees wanted better access to fresh food.
Adolescents ages 15.5 to 18 had reduced odds of receiving meningococcal conjugate MenACWY vaccination and had a higher likelihood of missed vaccination opportunities, compared with those ages 10.5 to 13, according to a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Reduced MenACWY uptake among older teens was due to fewer vaccinations and preventive care visits, as well as increased interaction with nonpediatric health providers, researchers said.
The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Southern Branch, has increased the number of children receiving summer meals and is now focused on distributing healthful meals and providing nutrition education. "It is going to be a more pronged approach to feeding hungry children, not just filling them with food, but filling them with the right food with a concentration on fresh food and vegetables, and also education," said Renate Taylor, the food bank's development officer.
Insurance-quote websites are paying millions of dollars to rank high on Google when people search for keywords relating to the Affordable Care Act, writes Sarah Gantz. She notes that this practice has led to people buying health insurance plans that offer much less coverage than what they thought they were getting.
The total number of drug-patent settlements with restrictions on market entry of a generic and possible compensation rose from 14 agreements in 2015 to 30 in 2016, while the number of pay-for-delay deals declined over the period, according to a Federal Trade Commission report.
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