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Industry News

Aug 18, 2015

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says the percentage fell from 84.9 percent in 2013 to 83.2 percent in 2014, a continuation of a decline that started in 2008.

CQ Healthbeat: Fewer People Worked For Firms With Health Coverage In 2014, Report Shows
Fewer employees worked for a firm that offers health insurance in 2014 and that insurance cost them more with higher deductibles, especially for family coverage plans, according to an annual report from the Agency for...

Aug 18, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker's plan for replacing President Barack Obama's healthcare law would extend refundable tax credits to help pay for private health insurance based on age instead of income, restructure Medicaid and allow people to shop for insurance across state lines.

The Wisconsin governor provided details of his proposal to the Associated Press in advance of a Tuesday speech in suburban Minneapolis where he was to outline his first major policy initiative...

Aug 18, 2015

When it comes to treating chronic conditions, diabetes drugs aren’t nearly as sexy as say, Sovaldi, last year’s breakthrough hepatitis C drug that offers a cure for the chronic liver infection at a price approaching six figures.

Yet an estimated 29 million people have diabetes — about 10 times the number of people with hepatitis C — and many of them will take diabetes drugs for the rest of their lives. Cost increases for both old and new drugs alike are forcing many consumers to...

Aug 17, 2015

Iowa's Department of Human Services has awarded Medicaid managed-care contracts (PDF) to AmeriHealth Caritas, Anthem, UnitedHealthcare and WellCare Health Plans, a move that will funnel the state's $4.2 billion Medicaid program into the hands of private insurers.

For the winners, it's a fresh source of revenue and profit in an era when more health insurers are relying on government programs to pad their finances. The three-year contracts go into effect Jan. 1, assuming each winning...

Aug 17, 2015

As the number of heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. continues to climb, the White House is funding efforts to prioritize treatment over punishment for heroin users.

A $13.4 million grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy will partner public health and safety officials to trace the origin of the drugs and its distributors.

The project will be funded for one year and will target high intensity drug trafficking areas, or HIDTAs in Appalachia, New England, New York,...

Aug 17, 2015

Federal regulators have uncovered new violations by the manufacturer of medical scopes recently linked to outbreaks of deadly "superbug" bacteria at U.S. hospitals.

Olympus Corp. failed to alert regulators to a cluster of 16 infections in patients who underwent procedures with the company's scope in 2012, according to a warning letter posted online Monday by the Food and Drug Administration. Olympus did not report the problems to the FDA until 2015, when the company was already under...

Aug 17, 2015

The national association representing pharmacy benefit managers is suing the state of Arkansas over a first-of-its kind law governing payments to pharmacies for generic drugs.

The law requires benefit managers to pay pharmacies the amounts those pharmacies spent to buy generic drugs from wholesalers, according to invoices. Before the law's passage, pharmacies had complained that benefit managers often paid them less for generics than what it actually cost the pharmacies to buy them...

Aug 17, 2015

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

The Washington Post: A Misguided Lawsuit
Amazingly, yet another lawsuit challenging a significant provision of the Affordable Care Act remains pending in court. This time, however, what is at stake is not a disagreement about Obamacare, but a question about the role of the judiciary: Should the House be able to bring a lawsuit simply because it disagrees with how the president is interpreting the statutes that...

Aug 17, 2015

Meanwhile, NBC examines the similarities between the policy positions of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Politico: Trump Hails Women's Health Issues, Details Abortion Exemptions
Donald Trump, calling women’s health issues “very important,” is making it clear he now supports a woman’s right to chose an abortion in the case of rape, incest or if her life is at risk. (Shutt, 8/16)

Politico: Carly Fiorina: Vaccinations Should Be Left Up To Parents

Aug 17, 2015

Elsewhere, thousands of Boeing employees must decide whether to opt for a new health insurance option with provider Mercy Health that offers lower premiums and no copays but restricts patients to network doctors.

The Wall Street Journal: Steelworkers To Rally For Wage, Health-Benefit Pacts
These labor talks are the first in a generation to be held during a down market. During the past two negotiating sessions—in 2008 and 2012—prices were strong. Workers had bargaining...