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Health Care and Insurance News Bulletins 

December 12 – January 7, 2019

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to health care coverage in the United States that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

The Hill: CDC: Fentanyl Is Deadliest Drug In America

Fentanyl has become the most deadly drug in the U.S., according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

The Washington Post: ACA Ruling Creates New Anxieties For Consumers And The Health-Care Industry

The ruling by a federal judge in Texas striking down the Affordable Care Act has injected a powerful wave of uncertainty about recent changes woven into the U.S. health-care system that touch nearly all Americans and the industry that makes up one-sixth of the economy.

 

The Associated Press: Most teen drug use is down, but Officials Fret Vaping Boom

Twice as many high school students used nicotine-tinged electronic cigarettes this year compared with last year, an unprecedented jump in a large annual survey of teen smoking, drinking and drug use.

 

WBUR: An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It

A federal monitoring program reported just 99 cases of advanced black lung disease nationwide from 2011-2016. But NPR identified more than 2,000 coal miners suffering from the disease in the same time frame, and in just five Appalachian states.

 

The New York Times: GlaxoSmithKline And Pfizer To Merge Consumer Health Units

GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer plan to merge their consumer-health divisions in a joint venture that the companies said would be the world’s largest maker of over-the-counter products like pain relievers, toothpastes, cold treatments, vitamins and dietary supplements.

 

CNN: Loneliness Peaks At Three Key Ages, Study Finds -- But Wisdom May Help

Rising rates of loneliness may not be news, but the three periods when it peaks may come as a surprise: More people reported feeling moderate to severe loneliness during their late 20s, their mid-50s and their late 80s than in other life periods, according to research published Tuesday in the journal International Psychogeriatrics.

 

Morning Consult: As Drug Prices Soar, Policymakers Eye Dose Of Government Intervention

A Republican-led White House and Senate, a Democratic House majority and the American public usually have their eyes on different health-related priorities — but heading into 2019, all sights are set squarely on the rising cost of prescription drugs.

 

NPR: Scientists Find A Brain Circuit That Could Explain Seasonal Depression

Just in time for the winter solstice, scientists may have figured out how short days can lead to dark moods.

 

Politico: Texas Judge Lets Obamacare Stand While Court Challenge Continues

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional said today that the law can stand while his judgment is under appeal.

 

PBS NewsHour: Forget The Crash Diet. These 6 New Year’s Resolutions Are Better For Your Health

The new year is officially here and with it, millions of resolutions. Forty-four percent of Americans say they will take on a resolution this year, many with health conscious goals in mind.

 

CNBC: Bristol-Myers To Buy Celgene In A $74 Billion Deal; Celgene Shares Surge

Bristol-Myers Squibb is buying cancer drugmaker Celgene in a cash and stock deal valued at $74 billion, the companies announced Thursday.

 

Kaiser Health News: As Hospitals Post Sticker Prices Online, Most Patients Will Remain Befuddled

As of Jan. 1, in the name of transparency, the Trump administration required that all hospitals post their list prices online.

 

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

Philadelphia Inquirer: Poverty Among Older Philadelphians On The Rise

At the end of the month, when her food has run out, Alice Foley, 71, will call a friend in her Germantown neighborhood and ask if she can drop by for a meal.

 

The Star Tribune: Minnesota Has Plenty Of Jobs, But Health insurance? No

Nine years into a robust economic expansion, with Minnesota’s unemployment rate at historic lows, the number of people on public health insurance for the poor is still at historic highs.

 

The Denver Post: Kaiser Permanente Unions File Complaint With National Labor Officials

Unions representing Kaiser Permanente employees in Colorado and seven other states say the National Labor Relations Board has agreed to consider a complaint that the company is illegally refusing to negotiate new contracts.

 

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Nearly 200,000 Uninsured Virginians Have Enrolled In Medicaid Under Expansion For Jan. 1 Start Date

The General Assembly voted this year to expand Medicaid coverage to include Virginians earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level — which comes to about $16,700 annually for a single adult and $28,670 for a family of three.

 

Concord (N.H.) Monitor: Upcoming Health Care Shift For N.H. State Retirees, Explained

On Jan. 1, nearly 10,000 state retirees face a transition: a mandatory change from their present state-funded health care plan to a new one.