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September 11 – October 1, 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: Investors’ Deep-Pocket Push To Defend Surprise Medical Bills

As proposals to ban surprise medical bills move through Congress and state legislatures with rare bipartisan support, physician groups have emerged as the loudest opponents.

 

The Associated Press: Rise In Health Uninsured May Be Linked To Immigrants’ Fears

When the Census Bureau reported an increase in the number of people without health insurance in America, it sent political partisans reaching for talking points on the Obama-era health law and its travails.

 

NPR: Speaker Nancy Pelosi Unveils Plan To Lower Prescription Drug Costs

The speaker's proposal would allow the federal government, through the Health and Human Services secretary, to negotiate prices for the top 250 most expensive drugs on the market that don't have at least two competitors.

 

CNN: Many Union Workers Really Love Their Health Benefits. That's A Problem For Bernie Sanders.

Health care benefits are really important to many union workers -- important enough to give up pay raises or even to walk off the job to keep the coverage they've negotiated.

 

Time: As the Number of Vaping-Related Deaths Climbs, These States Have Implemented E-Cigarette Bans

Amid growing concern over a mysterious outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths, as well as a persistent epidemic of youth use, states are stepping in to limit access to e-cigarette products.

 

The Hill: VA Under Pressure To Ease Medical Marijuana Rules

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is under pressure to ease restrictions on veterans’ access to medical marijuana to help treat pain and other ailments.

 

Politico: Chuck Grassley: Drug Pricing Reform Key To Keeping GOP's Senate Majority

Passing a bill to control drug prices will be essential to Republicans "keeping a majority in the Senate," Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) told reporters Wednesday.

 

Huffpost: Here's Why Zantac Was Pulled From Stores, And What You Should Do Now

Popular heartburn drug ranitidine was recalled for containing an impurity that may cause cancer. This is what experts want you to know.

 

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

The Boston Globe: Mass. Is At A ‘Critical Time’ For EEE, Health Commissioner Says

Though the calendar has flipped to September and daytime temperatures are a bit cooler and people may no longer have mosquitoes on the mind, Eastern equine encephalitis remains a “serious concern” in Massachusetts, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Wednesday.

 

North Carolina Health News: N.C. Efforts To Reduce Opioid Dependency Highlighted In National Report

In a national report subtitled “Leading-edge Practices and Next Steps,” the American Medical Association and consulting firm Manatt Health highlighted a North Carolina Medical Society initiative to support providers treating opioid use disorder.

 

The Sacramento Bee: 80,000 Kaiser Workers Plan 7-Day Strike That Will Affect California, 5 Other States

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions announced late Monday their roughly 80,000 workers will walk off their jobs as part of a seven-day strike beginning Oct. 14 in California, five other states and the District of Columbia.

 

Cleveland Plain Dealer: While Cheaper Obamacare Options Available For Some Ohioans, Rates Rise For Others

Ohioans with health-insurance coverage on the federal exchange are expected to have lower premiums in 2020, according to the Ohio Department of Insurance.

 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Johnson Controls And DNR In Flap Over Cleanup Of 'Forever' Chemicals In Marinette

Regulators and Johnson Controls International are sparring over a state requirement that the company assess the extent of contamination in northeastern Wisconsin where industrial chemicals in municipal sludge have been spread on farmland for decades.

 

The Colorado Sun: How A “Warm Handoff” Is Making Mental Health Care A Regular Part Of Doctor Visits In Boulder

It isn’t lie-on-the-couch psychiatry, but a more approachable model that gets patients focused on their whole health.

 

Detroit Free Press: GM Tells Striking Union Members It Will Continue Their Health Coverage

In a significant reversal, General Motors has told the UAW that it will continue to pay for health coverage of striking workers.

 

The CT Mirror: Connecticut To Play Direct Role In Negotiating Health Care Prices

State government is looking to take a more direct role in negotiating the prices hospitals and other providers can charge for treating public-sector employees and retirees.