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March 7 – March 26, 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: As Hospitals Post Price Lists, Consumers Are Asked To Check Up On Them

With much fanfare, federal officials required hospitals nationwide this year to post their “list” prices online.

 

The New York Times: On Disability And On Facebook? Uncle Sam Wants To Watch What You Post

If you’re on federal disability payments and on social media, be careful what you post.

 

The Washington Post: Trump Proposes Big Cuts To Health Programs For Poor, Elderly And Disabled

The Trump administration is proposing a sharp slowdown in Medicaid spending as part of a broad reduction in the government’s investment in health care, calling for the public insurance for the poor to morph from an entitlement program to state block grants even after a Republican Congress rejected the idea.

 

CNN: FDA Fast-Tracks OxyContin Manufacturer’s Overdose Drug

The company whose drugs are at the center of America's deadly opioid epidemic was given a green light Wednesday to accelerate the development of a new opioid antidote.

 

NPR: Many Guidelines For Heart Care Rely On Weak Evidence

Doctors turn to professional guidelines to help them identify the latest thinking on appropriate medical treatments, but a study out Friday finds that in the realm of heart disease, most of those guidelines aren't based on the highest level of evidence.

 

ProPublica: VA’s Private Care Program Headed For Tech Trouble, Review Finds

As the Trump administration prepares to launch a controversial program to expand private medical care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs is developing a software tool to determine who’s eligible.

 

The Hill: Survey: About 1 In 10 US Adults Rationing Medicine In Effort To Lower Costs

New survey data shows that 11.4 percent of U.S. adults did not take their medication as prescribed in an effort to reduce costs.

 

The Associated Press: With Black Lung Fund In Jeopardy, Taxpayers Could Foot Bill

The Trump administration and coal industry allies are insisting that a federal black lung trust fund will continue to pay benefits to sick miners despite a drastic cut in funding.

 

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

The Sacramento Bee: Workers Strike Today At UC Hospitals, Campuses Statewide For Third Time In 11 Months

Thousands of University of California workers are launching their third strike in less than a year Wednesday at 10 campuses and five medical centers statewide, saying their labor contract negotiations have stalled because UC leaders are not willing to address wage inequality and job security.

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas Doctors Group 'Strongly Opposes' Proposed Law To End Surprise Billing

The powerful Texas Medical Association has come out swinging in its opposition of proposed bipartisan legislation that seeks to end surprise emergency room billing in the state.

 

Chicago Tribune: Think Health Insurance Is Too Costly? The Parent Of Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Illinois Made $4.1 Billion Last Year

The parent company of Illinois’ largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, made a profit of $4.1 billion last year – more than three times as much as it did the year before, according to recent financial statements.

 

The Boston Globe: Hedge Fund Investing $100m In Harvard Drug Research

Researchers at Harvard University who want to take drug discoveries from the lab to the market may soon get an infusion of cash.

 

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cuyahoga County Justified Not Raising Wages For Jail Nurses With Study That Only Looked At Entry-Level Pay

One question arising from health-care problems at the Cuyahoga County jails is why the administration of County Executive Armond Budish did not raise wages for jail nurses last spring after saying it had set aside money to do so.

 

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Northam Signs Legislation To Excavate And Clean Up Coal Ash

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday signed into law legislation to require the excavation of the state’s legacy coal ash now stored in Dominion Energy ponds across the state.

 

Des Moines Register: Wisconsin Residents Seek Answers About Health Risks Near Iowa Sand Mines

Researchers and citizens have become concerned in recent years about the health effects because fracking, and the frac sand mining that helps drive it, appeared on the national stage only in the last 30 years.