The latest figures from the CMS show that about 3.2 million people chose Affordable Care Act plans through the federal exchange in the first five weeks of open enrollment this year, down 11% from 3.6 million during the same period last year. The number of new consumers is down 17% from last year with only a week remaining in the open enrollment period, which ends Dec. 15.
An analysis from the CMS Office of the Actuary showed growth in US health care spending slowed for the second consecutive year in 2017, increasing by 3.9% to $3.5 trillion, compared with 4.8% in 2016 and 5.8% in 2015, amid slower growth in spending for prescription drugs as well as hospital care, physician and clinical services. Spending growth for Medicaid and private health insurance also slowed, while Medicare program spending held steady.
The FDA has approved Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding's Tecentriq for use in combination with Avastin and chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer. The decision was backed by results from a Phase III study in which patients treated with the regimen including Tecentriq lived significantly longer than those who received only Avastin and chemotherapy.
A federal judge has turned down a request from outgoing Maine Gov. Paul LePage to stay a previous court order that the state must implement the Medicaid expansion approved by voters last year. The court also pushed the start date for enrollment in the expanded program from Dec. 5 to Feb. 1, meaning Governor-elect Janet Mills, who pledged to implement the expansion, will be in office when enrollment begins.
Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler in Detroit are using perks such as onsite clinics, student loan refinancing and happy hour at work to compete with Silicon Valley for top technology workers. Last year Ford extended paid time off for new parents, while Fiat Chrysler has a gym with free personal trainers and yoga classes.
A study in Clinical Endocrinology showed that older men with higher levels of physical activity and higher total testosterone were at a reduced risk for cardiovascular events, compared with those who had low physical activity and testosterone levels and those with higher testosterone levels but low physical activity levels. Australian researchers evaluated data from the Health in Men Study involving 3,351 men, mean age of 77, and found that higher physical activity and higher androgens were inversely associated with a lower, age-adjusted metabolic syndrome risk.
There has been a decline in mortality rates from cancer and cardiovascular disease in recent years, but deaths due to chronic kidney disease are increasing, especially among younger adults, according to research published in JAMA Network Open. Between 2002 and 2016, there was a 58% increase in deaths from CKD, which researchers said may be due in part to the ongoing obesity epidemic.
Excess body fat in postmenopausal women, even those with a normal BMI, may increase the risk of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, researchers reported in JAMA Oncology. An 11-pound increase in whole-body fat mass was linked to a 35% increased risk, and an 11-pound increase in fat mass of the body trunk was associated with a 56% higher risk.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., says the House will press drugmakers to explain why they did not use tax cuts to reduce prices and instead used the gains to repurchase stock. Drugmakers said in response to a previous House inquiry that they used the funds not only to buy back stock but also to increase employee compensation, invest in US facilities, make donations and reduce some prices.
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