Health Policy Happenings, 10.30.19

This week has been a mixture of watching lectures, reviewing material for the 100th time, and having a few “ah-ha” moments, which are always oh so welcome! I’m a week into renal (allllll about the kidney) and it’s HARD. So much movement of salt and water and lots of other little molecules in such a balanced little dance. I also had another standardized patient this week focused on motivational interviewing (MI), a technique to assess and help patients regarding behavior changes like smoking cessation or weight loss. No matter what specialty I go into, I know it will come in handy! One area I hope to use MI in the future is persuading parents (and kids!) to have healthy eating habits, especially cutting down on soda and juice. What we eat and how policy impacts our food was a serious driver for my graduate work – and I love sharing ongoing work in this area!

The food industry is hooking kids on sugar through sweetened drinks.

A ban on sugary drinks in a California hospital led to health improvements for employees.

Instead of implementing Medicaid work requirements (which are onerous and don’t work!), Pennsylvania is connecting interested folks to employment training programs upon Medicaid enrollment. [States currently seeking to implement work requirements would require proof of employment to remain insured on Medicaid. It has not gone well in Arkansas.]

There are 10 million new cases of tuberculosis each year – but a new vaccine could save millions!

A University of Miami-sponsored program called the IDEA Exchange (woo! go UM!) has started providing HIV-positive homeless individuals with a medication locker to store their life-saving medications.

The government is shuttering a program that studies and tracks dangerous, possibly pandemic, diseases.

The ACA Marketplace is stabilizing and premiums for popular plans are dropping for the second year in a row.

One possible way forward on lowering the cost of pharmaceuticals is coming to terms with a minor decrease in new drugs coming to market each year.

The fires in California are revealing the precarious state of health care’s fragile power system.

Health care is on the ballot next week – yes, it’s state election time for Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia! The stakes are VERY REAL.

A Medicare program intended to help patients prevent Type 2 diabetes was seriously stymied by regulatory hurdles.

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