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Daily Archives: January 31, 2018

Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ The State of the (Health) Union

In his first State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump told the American public that “one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.” But that message could barely begin to sink in before other health news developed: the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to resign Wednesday after conflict-of-interest reports.

Meanwhile, outside the federal government, Idaho is proposing to allow the sale of individual insurance policies that specifically violate portions of the Affordable Care Act. And three mega-companies; Amazon, Berkshire-Hathaway, and J.P. Morgan Chase, say they will partner to try to control costs and improve quality for their employees health care.

This week’s “What the Health?” panelist are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo and Julie Appleby and Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Health News.

Among the takeaways from this weeks podcast:

  • Despite Trump’s strong rhetoric in the State of the Union address, the president has taken few actions during his first year in office to reduce drug prices.
  • The president touted that Republicans had repealed the health laws requirement that individuals get health insurance or pay a penalty. But that change in the law doesn’t go into effect until 2019, so his comments could be confusing to some taxpayers.
  • Idaho officials have announced that they are going to allow insurers to issue policies that donât meet all the criteria of the federal health law. But it’s not clear that insurers are interested in participating in the experiment.
  • “Alexa, send me my Lipitor!” Can Amazon’s announcement that it and two other corporate behemoths are taking on employees’ health care create a new formula for keeping costs down and improving quality?

Plus, for “extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too.

Julie Rovner: Kaiser Health News’ “No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation At Risk In Some States,” by JoNel Aleccia.

ALSO: JAMA’s “Are Medicaid Work Requirements Legal?” by Nicholas Bagley.

Alice Ollstein: Politico’s Trump’s Top Health Official Traded Tobacco Stock While Leading Anti-Smoking Efforts,€ by Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brianna Ehley.

Julie Appleby: The Atlantic’s “Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read,” by Julie Beck.

Sarah Jane Tribble: The New York Times’ “5-Year-Olds Work Farm Machinery, And Injuries Follow,” by Jack Healy.

To hear all our podcasts, click here.

And subscribe to What the Health? on iTunes, Stitcher or Google Play.

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CDC Chief Resigns Following Reports She Traded In Tobacco Stocks While Running Agency

“After advising Secretary Azar of both the status of the financial interests and the scope of her recusal, Dr. Fitzgerald tendered, and the Secretary accepted, her resignation,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

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Viewpoints: Lessons From This Year’s Flu: Much More Funding Is Needed; ‘Anti-Vax’ Theories Are False

Opinion writers express views on remedies to curb future flu epidemics and other health issues:

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Different Takes: Will Amazon’s Venture Be A Breakthrough In Lowering Healthcare Costs?

Editorial pages feature writings on the new initiative between Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

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Perspectives: Despite Its Inefficiencies, FDA’s Voucher Program For Drugs Should Be Called A Success

Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.

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Pharma’s Finger Pointing Game, Congress’ Inaction Among Reasons Drug Prices Haven’t Been Curbed

News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.

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State Highlights: Ohio Board Investigates Rape Charges At Cleveland Clinic; New Minn. Health Chief To Focus On Elder Abuse

Media outlets report on news from California, Missouri, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Louisiana, Wyoming and Wisconsin.

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It’s Easy To Blame A Flagging Willpower For Binge Eating, But Study Shows Hormones Play A Role

A new, small study looks at late-night binging and how complex hormones can trigger the overeating. In other public health news: hookworms, the flu and an “emotional support” peacock.

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FDA Targets Anti-Diarrhea Treatment In Campaign To Curb Overdoses From Over-The-Counter Drugs

The Food and Drug Administration has asked the manufacturers of anti-diarrhea treatment to package the product differently to make it harder for the drug to be abused. The key ingredient in anti-diarrhea medications like Imodium is part of the opioid family. In other news, a pain medication with a checkered past may offer an alternative to opioids, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Drug Enforcement Administration is planning on targeting pharmacies as part of its crack down efforts, Congress tries to tackle the issue, and more.

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Pfizer Announces Plans To Invest $5B In U.S. Manufacturing Citing Positive Tax Law Revisions

The pharmaceutical giant said it will also hand out one-time bonuses this quarter to non-executive employees.

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