Click on right here for a transcript of the episode.
It’s been further busy on the well being coverage beat recently, so a congressional recess offers an opportunity to discover among the essential tales that folks might need missed, like Medicare’s resolution to dramatically restrict protection of Aduhelm, the controversial new drug to deal with Alzheimer’s illness. And even with Congress out, states are speeding to both limit or develop entry to abortion, forward of a key Supreme Courtroom ruling anticipated later this spring or summer season.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Occasions, Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Faculty of Public Well being, and Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico.
Among the many takeaways from this week’s episode:
- The choice by the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies to restrict Medicare’s protection of Aduhelm solely to beneficiaries who additionally enroll in medical research of the brand new Alzheimer’s drug got here regardless of intense stress from sufferers and advocacy teams who’re pissed off by the dearth of recent therapies for this devastating illness. However the federal company additionally seems to have been swayed by arguments by some researchers and public well being specialists that the sooner analysis on the drug was defective.
- The dust-up over Medicare protection for Aduhelm factors to a supply of rigidity within the U.S. well being system: Totally different authorities companies have overlapping authorities. This dispute is between the FDA, which authorised the drug regardless of critical questions on its effectiveness and security, and CMS, which needed to resolve whether or not to cowl the price of a really controversial drug that can also be very costly. However comparable tensions even have performed out between the FDA and the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention over covid-19 vaccine schedules and eligibility.
- A latest Bloomberg report checked out considerations that the federal authorities is overpaying for beneficiaries enrolled in non-public Medicare Benefit plans. Extra progressive Democratic members of Congress have lengthy complained about this, however Republicans are robust supporters of the Medicare Benefit program.
- Regardless of the complaints of some on the left in regards to the extra funding of those Medicare plans, they’ve been rising. That’s, partly, as a result of the standard Medicare program has many holes and cost-sharing tasks that folks with modest incomes are nervous about shouldering, and Medicare Benefit has turn into engaging to them. That has difficult the previously partisan politics over this system.
- The Biden administration is reportedly in discussions with a number of states about establishing applications to import cheaper medicine from Canada. For the Democrats, this could possibly be a robust marketing campaign speaking level — very similar to efforts on Capitol Hill to cap the worth of insulin — about making an attempt to assist folks with a critical pocketbook situation. Drug costs have persistently been a shopper concern.
- Nevertheless, it’s not clear whether or not Canada is excited by serving to the U.S. with a drug import program and, even when it did, there’s no indication that the quantity of medication Canadians might present would considerably affect costs on this nation.
- Oklahoma’s governor has signed a invoice that will make it a felony to carry out an abortion, and Florida’s governor on Thursday authorised a invoice shifting the restrict for an abortion from 24 weeks to fifteen weeks. Because the nation waits for the Supreme Courtroom to rule on a case this summer season that might overturn or weaken the landmark Roe v. Wade resolution, conservative states are racing to search out methods to restrict or ban abortions.
- If the Supreme Courtroom does upend protections assured beneath the Roe resolution, it’s unlikely that clinics in states which are preserving the precise to an abortion will have the ability to fill the necessity.
- But even with the rising motion in conservative states, abortion-rights supporters had been shocked this week when a Texas prosecutor filed homicide prices in opposition to a girl who had an abortion. The costs, nonetheless, had been shortly dismissed.
- The CDC this week launched new information exhibiting an increase in 2020 within the variety of instances of gonorrhea and syphilis — probably the byproduct of much less entry to well being care in the course of the early phases of the pandemic. Though the ailments can simply be cured with antibiotics, the general public might not notice the necessity to search medical care or the devastating penalties of letting the ailments go untreated.
- The CDC additionally reported that drug overdose deaths reached a report excessive final yr.
Plus, for further credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose it is best to learn, too:
Julie Rovner: Politico’s “Mice Occupy FDA Places of work After Meals Left Behind in Pandemic,” by David Lim and Lauren Gardner
Margot Sanger-Katz: Well being Affairs’ “Many Medicare Beneficiaries Do Not Fill Excessive-Worth Specialty Drug Prescriptions,” by Stacie B. Dusetzina et. al
Joanne Kenen: Vox’s “America Wants Extra Docs and Nurses to Survive the Subsequent Pandemic,” by Dylan Scott
Alice Miranda Ollstein: Politico’s “Republicans See CDC’s Coverage Change as ‘Large Political Loser for Democrats,’” by Alice Miranda Ollstein and Krista Mahr
Additionally mentioned on this week’s podcast:
Bloomberg’s “Main Insurers Are Scamming Billions From Medicare, Whistle-Blowers Say,” by John Tozzi
KHN’s “Researcher: Medicare Benefit Plans Costing Billions Extra Than They Ought to,” by Fred Schulte
KHN’s “‘What the Well being?’: The Drug Worth Dilemma,” that includes Stacie B. Dusetzina
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