Health Policy Happenings, 4.19.19

It’s been a while since I shared some health policy happenings with you all – between spring break and getting caught up with lectures, I haven’t much time to read the news. But, I’ve finally gotten back on track and have some interesting items to share with you to share today! I hope you find something interesting and engaging!

High-Deductible Health Policies Linked To Delayed Diagnosis And Treatment

“Women with low incomes who had high-deductible insurance plans waited an average of 1.6 months longer for diagnostic breast imaging, 2.7 months for first biopsy, 6.6 months for first early-stage breast cancer diagnosis and 8.7 months for first chemotherapy, compared with low-income women with low-deductible plans. In some cases, delays of that length might lead to poorer health outcomes, says J. Frank Wharam, an internist and specialist in insurance and population health, who led the study. More research needs to be done to confirm that, he says.”

Most people pay less than $5 per month for the drug. But some pay $11,002

“The jarring figure comes from a new Janssen website launched recently as part of the broader pharmaceutical industry’s push to disclose some pricing information in its television ads. A broad swath of companies voluntarily agreed to include mention of a website with pricing information in the spots as a response to a far more stringent Trump administration proposal that would have required them to actually include a drug’s sticker price. The final version of that proposal is still pending regulatory review.”

The Coming Obsolescence of Animal Meat

“This meat was what most of the world calls “lab grown,” but what Just, the company that makes the nugget, and other Silicon Valley start-ups want me to call “cultured meat” or “cell-based” meat, or better yet, “clean meat.” The argument is that almost all the food we eat, at some point, crosses a laboratory, whether in the course of researching flavors or perfecting packaging. So it is not fair to single out this particular product as being associated with freaky science.”

“Together, the studies confirm a truth that researchers wish more people understood. There are biological reasons that some struggle mightily with their weight and others do not, and the biological impacts often are seen on appetite, not metabolism. People who gain too much weight or fight to stay thin feel hungrier than naturally thin people.”

Gene therapy cures infants suffering from ‘bubble boy’ immune disease

“Ten newborns with the rare genetic disorder known as “bubble boy” disease were cured with gene therapy, researchers revealed Wednesday. The treatment appears to have completely rid the babies of their immune disorder with no side effects or complications — a result scientists have sought for decades through painstaking research and heartbreaking setbacks.”

Liver Illness Strikes Latino Children Like A ‘Silent Tsunami’

“Recent research shows about 1 in 4 people in the U.S. have fatty liver disease. But among Latinos, especially of Mexican and Central American descent, the rate is significantly higher. One large study in Dallas found that 45% of Latinos had fatty livers.”

Kentucky’s Senator McConnell Supports Bill to Raise Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco to 21

“The bill would not only raise the minimum age to buy the products, but it would also order the F.D.A. to speed up work on other measures, including putting graphic health warnings on cigarette packages. Senator McConnell’s bill is a question mark for many tobacco industry watchers. Eric Lindblom, a former F.D.A. tobacco official who is now at the O’Neill Institute at Georgetown Law, wondered how committed Mr. McConnell was to protecting the tobacco control law passed in 2009.”

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