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May 10 – May 28, 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.

KCUR: Revised Worker Protection Standard Still Leaves Field Crews Vulnerable To Pesticides

More than 2 million people in the U.S. work in or near agriculture fields that are treated with pesticides.

 

The Associated Press: Scrap ‘Obamacare’? Maybe Not All, Trump Administration Says

The Trump administration is arguing in court that the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down as unconstitutional. But at the same time, Justice Department lawyers recently suggested that federal judges could salvage its anti-fraud provisions, raising questions about keeping other parts as well.

 

The New York Times: Teva And Other Generic Drugmakers Inflated Prices Up To 1,000%, State Prosecutors Say

Leading drug companies including Teva, Pfizer, Novartis and Mylan conspired to inflate the prices of generic drugs by as much as 1,000 percent, according to a far-reaching lawsuit filed on Friday by 44 states.

 

The Hill: Dem House Chairman, Top Republican Release Measure To End Surprise Medical Bills

The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday released a discussion draft of a measure to protect patients from getting massive, unexpected medical bills, a sign of bipartisan momentum on the issue.

 

USA Today: Low-Rated US Hospitals Are Deadlier Due To Mistakes, Botched Surgery, Infections

Patients' risk of dying from medical mistakes, deadly infections and safety lapses have gotten much worse at the lowest ranked U.S. hospitals, underscoring Americans' need to check ratings of their local hospitals, new research released Wednesday shows.

 

Kaiser Health News: How To Find And Use New Federal Ratings For Rehab Services At Nursing Homes

For the first time, the federal government is shining a spotlight on the quality of rehabilitation care at nursing homes — services used by nearly 2 million older adults each year.

 

Reveal: Drug Rehab Faces Investigations Into Labor Practices And Medicaid Fraud

State officials in Texas and Louisiana have launched multiple probes into the Cenikor Foundation following an investigation by Reveal that found the prominent drug rehab has turned patients into an unpaid labor force for private companies.

 

CNBC: Haven, The New Health Venture Led By Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway And JP Morgan, Just Lost Its No. 2 Exec

Losing such a key executive so early in the process could be a big setback for Haven, which has laid out an ambitious effort to bring down health-care costs, starting with the combined 1.2 million employees at the three companies.

 

NPR: At $2.1 Million, New Gene Therapy Is The Most Expensive Drug Ever

The federal Food and Drug Administration has approved a gene therapy for a rare childhood disorder that is now the most expensive drug on the market. It costs $2.125 million per patient.

 

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

The Baltimore Sun: Minimum Age To Buy Tobacco In Maryland Will Go To 21 Under Law Being Signed By Hogan

Starting in October, you’ll need to be 21 to buy tobacco and nicotine products in Maryland, under a bill that Gov. Larry Hogan plans to sign into law on Monday.

 

The Seattle Times: Washingtonians To Get Public Option On State’s Health-Insurance Exchange

Gov. Jay Inslee on Monday signed into law a bill that creates a public option for Washington’s health benefit exchange, a move intended to lower costs and boost insurance coverage across the state.

 

The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio’s Suicide Rate Jumps 24 Percent From 2008 To 2017, Study Says

There were 15,246 suicides deaths in Ohio over that 10-year span, for an average annual rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

 

Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee's Rural Hospitals Are Dying Off. Who's Next?

The closure of a local hospital is a very real possibility for the people of Greeneville, a hardscrabble Appalachian community of 15,000 about an hour east of Knoxville.

 

MPR: Paramedics Making House Calls Improve Care, Reduce Costs

She's part of Minnesota's small cadre of certified community paramedics, who visit patients at home to help them with transitions out of the hospital and with managing chronic conditions.

 

Miami Herald: More People In Florida Will Get Skin Cancer Than Any Other Cancer. How To Protect Yourself

More Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer annually than all other cancers combined, and one in five will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the American Cancer Society.

 

The Denver Post: Colorado Becomes First State In Nation To Cap Price Of Insulin

Diabetics in Colorado who use insulin to control their blood sugar levels won’t pay more than $100 per month for the drug starting in January thanks to a bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday.