Health Policy Happenings, 2.23.19

I used to send a weekly roundup of health policy and public health news to one of our student interest groups in graduate school, so I thought it would be a great way to share the interesting articles, research papers, podcasts, and more that I come across each week with all of you! I wanted to pop in yesterday to share but studying had to take priority.

I spent yesterday at my desk, aside from attending our exam review, and did some meal prep to get me though some of the weekend with healthier food. I planned to make pasta with lots of veggies and chicken sausage but ended up having at last three times as many veggies than pasta, so it’s more of a veggie sauté with pasta. Oh well, it tasted great and more veggies is always a good thing! But this exam must be getting to me because I definitely forgot to strain all of the water out of the pasta and put my new dry erase markers away in the silverware drawer…?

My Beautycounter order was also delivered, which was a nice treat! I can’t wait to try out some of my new goodies!

Ok, let’s get started with all the health policy goodness! These topics are very broad, so what I share will vary week to week. I hope you find something interesting and engaging!

Build Your Own ‘Medicare for All’ Plan. Beware: There Are Tough Choices.

““Medicare for all”  is popular, and not just among Democrats. Most Republicans favor giving people under 65 at least the choice to buy into Medicare. But when people hear arguments against it, their support plummets. It turns out that most people don’t really know what Medicare for all means. Even asking three policy experts might yield three different answers.”

KHN’s ‘What the Health’ “Medicare-for-All” for Dummies podcast

“This week, KHN’s “What the Health?” podcast takes a deep dive into the often-confusing Medicare-for-all debate, including its history, prospects and terminology.”

Berkeley’s sugary soda consumption plummeted after tax, study says

“Berkeley residents cut their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by half in the three years after passing a soda tax in 2014, according to a UC Berkeley study that is among the first to document a long-term change in drinking habits from a citywide levy.”

FDA advances new proposed regulation to make sure that sunscreens are safe and effective

“The FDA just rolled out a proposed rule that would set up new labeling requirements and require sunscreens with SPF 15 or higher to offer broad-spectrum protection that serves as a barrier for both UVA and UVB rays. The proposal also addresses the safety data on the 16 active ingredients currently used in sunscreens: two have been shown to be safe, two seem to have safety issues, and 12 don’t have enough safety data, the FDA says. The agency is asking the industry to gather and share more data on those 12 substances.”

1 in 5 rural hospitals are at risk of imminent closure. Lawmakers could help some stay open

“The decline of rural hospitals has been a slow-moving train wreck. It’s now accelerating. Since 2010, nearly 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. The closures have resulted in statistics like this — half of all rural counties lack an obstetrician — that make the United States sound like a third-world country. As bad as that may seem, things are likely to get much worse, and soon.”

Dollars on the Margins

“A living wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.”

How Pharmacists Can Help Ensure That Patients Take Their Medications

“Our discovery: The reasons patients don’t take medicines vary significantly; consequently, to improve adherence, you have to customize the solution for each individual. This is a significant departure from past efforts to improve adherence, which have tried to apply a single solution across a whole population.”

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