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March 27 – April 14, 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.

Kaiser Health News: FDA Chief Calls For Release Of All Data Tracking Problems With Medical Devices

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced in a tweet Wednesday that the agency plans to release hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of previously unpublished injury and malfunction reports tied to about 100 medical devices.

 

The New York Times: Americans Borrowed $88 Billion To Pay For Health Care Last Year, Survey Finds

Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion over the last year to pay for health care, according to a survey released on Tuesday by Gallup and the nonprofit West Health.

 

The Hill: Cigna Says It Will Cap Insulin Costs At $25 A Month For Some Patients

Health insurance company Cigna announced Wednesday it will cap the price of a 30-day insulin supply at $25 for some of its members. 

 

NPR: You Missed A Spot! Patchy Sunscreen Application Leaves Skin Vulnerable To Cancer

You may not be thin-skinned, but your eyelids certainly are. The fragile tissue is the thinnest on the body, less than 1 millimeter thick.

 

Stateline: Surprise Medical Billing: Some States Ahead of Feds

At least 25 states now have laws protecting patients from surprise out-of-network bills, usually for emergency care they received at hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers.

 

CNN: Medicaid Expansion Tied To Fewer Heart-Related Deaths, Study Finds

As President Donald Trump continues to make clear that he wants to kill the Affordable Care Act, new research suggests that a big part of the ACA -- the expansion of the Medicaid program -- was linked with fewer cardiovascular-related deaths in counties where expansion took place.

 

The Washington Post: CDC Finds 78 New Measles Cases As Outbreak Sprints Toward Record And Experts Blame Anti-Vaxxers

For the second week in a row, U.S. health officials added dozens of new reports to the year’s list of confirmed measles cases, bringing the total to 465 — already the highest number in the past five years.

 

The Associated Press: Heated Debate Over High Drug Costs Returns To Capitol Hill

Patient bills, competition and secrecy shared the spotlight Tuesday as pharmacy benefit managers testified before Congress about prescription drug prices

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Georgia Governor Signs Health Care Waiver Bill Into Law

With the stroke of a pen Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp regained broad powers to determine the health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of Georgians.

 

The CT Mirror: How A Repeal Of The Affordable Care Act Could Affect Connecticut

Days after the Trump administration ramped up its attack on the Affordable Care Act, health officials and lawmakers in Connecticut were still decrying the move and exploring its effects should a repeal succeed.

 

New Hampshire Union Leader: House Budget Draft Nixes Plan For $26M Secure Psychiatric Hospital

House budget writers have zeroed out one of Gov. Chris Sununu’s most widely applauded initiatives — his plan for a new secure psychiatric unit to house some of the state’s most challenging mental health patients.

 

The Star Tribune: Health Plans In Minnesota Made More Money In 2018

Operating income for Minnesota’s nonprofit health insurers more than doubled last year as health plans made more money than expected in the market where individuals buy coverage — and could be issuing $37 million in rebates, as a result.

 

The Philadelphia Inquirer: ER Doctors At Philly-Area Hospitals Quietly Win Back-Pay Dispute With Prime Healthcare

Late last year, O’Malley and 14 of his colleagues at three emergency rooms in the region pushed back against Prime Healthcare, the hospitals’ owner, after losing weeks of back pay during a switch in staffing contractors.

 

San Jose Mercury News: Highland Hospital Doctors Walk Out Over Labor Dispute

About 50 Highland Hospital resident and intern physicians walked off the job briefly Wednesday afternoon to protest stalled labor negotiations between the Alameda Health System and their union, the Service Employees International Union.

 

The Oregonian: Oregon Democrats Want To Bring Back Double Health Insurance For State, School Workers

Gov. Kate Brown and Democrats in the Oregon Legislature are looking at undoing one of the anticipated cost-saving initiatives they passed two years ago: ending double health insurance for couples who both work for the state or a school district.