Happy Friday! Did you guys get as massive a kick out of the #healthpolicyvalentines hashtag as I did? (I really feel I’m speaking to the suitable crowd right here.) They’re fairly pleasant, together with this well timed one from KHN’s personal Rachel Bluth: “Not even a PBM could get in the middle of our love.”
On to the information from the week.
Thursday was a somber day for a lot of because the nation marked the anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., mass capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 lifeless.
On the eve of the anniversary, the House Judiciary Committee accredited two payments that will broaden federal background checks for gun purchases. Although the laws faces sure demise within the Senate, it’s the first congressional motion in favor of tightening gun legal guidelines in years. In the votes you see echoes of a latest pattern: Lawmakers are now not treating gun management as “the third rail in politics.” The distinction is stark if you happen to have a look at simply over 10 years in the past when then-candidate Barack Obama was sending out mailers assuring voters he supported the Second Amendment.
There have been too many heartbreaking anniversary tales to spotlight only one, however a mission price testing is one from The Trace, a nonprofit information group that stories on gun violence. In the yr since Parkland, practically 1,200 extra kids have misplaced their lives to weapons. The Trace introduced collectively greater than 200 teen reporters from throughout the nation to recollect these killed not as statistics, however as human beings with wealthy histories.
A helpful reference: The good individuals at The Tampa Bay Times and the AP put collectively a helpful listing of all of the gun legal guidelines which were enacted within the nation for the reason that capturing.
There are some lawmakers on the Hill who’re virtually giddy to carry hearings on “Medicare-for-all” — and so they’re not Democrats. Republicans have been struggling to discover a profitable stance on well being care, ever since Dems’ midterm victories, which have been attributed partially to their stance on the problem.
For the beforehand floundering GOP lawmakers, MFA is virtually a gift-wrapped current that fell proper into their laps. They’re assured they’ll body the concept as reckless, radical and costly, and choose off reasonable voters who need to hold their insurance coverage the best way it’s. Democratic management blasted the GOP’s requires hearings as “disingenuous,” however MFA supporters have been raring to duke it out — verbally, after all. “They think it’s going to be a ‘gotcha’ moment,” stated Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) in Politico’s protection. “But they have been wrong on this and continue to be wrong on it.”
Meanwhile, Democrats launched laws this week that will enable individuals over 50 to purchase in to Medicare. The measure is far more politically palatable than MFA, and its sponsors are promoting it’s a practical and incremental step within the path towards common protection.
Here’s one thing you don’t hear daily: Republicans and Democrats possibly (simply possibly!) have discovered some widespread floor on the well being regulation. As a part of a package deal of payments to shore up the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are proposing slapping some shopper warnings on short-term plans. The trace of bipartisanship within the air, although, was restricted to the advisories — Republicans weren’t followers of the remainder of the modifications proposed.
Advocates deem Utah’s transfer to restrict voter-approved Medicaid enlargement as a “dark day for Democracy.” The governor and lawmakers who rushed via the restrictions to the enlargement, nevertheless, say the work necessities and caps are essential to make it sustainable for the state.
As 2020 comes into focus, the abortion debate is unquestionably on the entrance burner for President Donald Trump, who has seized on latest controversies over so-called late-term abortions. This week, Trump and White House officers met with advocates, together with Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. While the discussions weren’t open to journalists, Dannenfelser confirmed that Trump was keenly within the concern. “The national conversation about late-term abortion … has the power to start to peel away Democrats, especially in battle grounds,” Dannenfelser stated in The Hill’s protection.
There was some motion within the companies this week that ought to be in your radar:
— The Food and Drug Administration has introduced it’s cracking down on the $40 billion complement trade, particularly focusing on ailments that actually ought to require medical care. Right now, that panorama is just about the Wild Wild West, the place something goes. And customers don’t understand that.
— The Environmental Protection Agency has launched its plan to deal with long-lasting toxins in consuming water. Activists weren’t impressed, saying the “action plan” was fairly quick on motion.
— The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services launched two main proposed laws that are supposed to assist ease sufferers’ entry to their well being care data. Right now, many well being care suppliers and hospitals supply affected person portals, however they usually lack materials corresponding to physician notes, imaging scans and genetic-testing information. Sometimes they’ll even cost for the info. The guidelines would tackle restrictions corresponding to these.
In an indication of the rising consciousness in regards to the United States’ maternal mortality downside, the duty drive that units the requirements insurers are required to comply with is increasing its steering on the subject of despair throughout and after being pregnant. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force already recommends that docs display screen pregnant ladies and new moms, however the previous tips centered on sufferers who have been experiencing signs. The new recommendation is extra proactive about addressing ladies who could also be in danger.
It’s a well-established proven fact that docs have an unconscious bias on the subject of race and ache — one which leaves many minority sufferers undertreated and undermedicated. What’s attention-grabbing is to see how that disparity has formed the opioid epidemic within the nation — those that wreaked havoc on white communities.
While all eyes are on the huge consolidated opioid lawsuit in Ohio that’s being in comparison with the Big Tobacco reckoning of the ’90s, this little case in Oklahoma may steal its thunder.
In the miscellaneous file for the week:
• A robust investigation from The Wall Street Journal and Frontline uncovers the historical past behind an Indian Health Service physician who was accused of molesting Native Americans but allowed to proceed training for many years. Where did it go incorrect?
• Rural hospitals are collapsing in every single place, leaving weak residents stranded in well being deserts. It might be devastating for cities to look at their hospitals die. Ducktown, Tenn., affords a snapshot of what’s taking part in out in states all throughout the nation.
• Employer-sponsored well being care is usually held up because the gold commonplace. But is it actually that nice?
• I vividly bear in mind the worldwide concern surrounding the hen flu again within the aughts. People have been panicking and international locations have been stockpiling medical provides, as everybody braced for an epidemic paying homage to the catastrophic 1918 Spanish flu. But then nothing occurred. So … the place’d it go?
Early numbers present that the flu vaccine is doing a reasonably good job this yr, so bear in mind it’s not too late to get your shot! And have a fantastic weekend!
Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nationwide well being coverage information service. It is an editorially unbiased program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.