Today's News and Commentary

About the public’s health

House panel proposes $2 billion increase for NIH: The House Appropriations Committee has recommended a $2 billion increase in the NIH’s funding. The President wanted a $5 billion cut. The part of this increase to watch is $25 million for firearm injury prevention research. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] would also receive $25 million, the first funding since Congress passed a 1996 law banning CDC from advocating for gun control.” After giving the NRA strong support at its annual meeting this past week, the President may be hard pressed to agree to the entire funding package.

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Nutrition Therapy for Adults With Diabetes or Prediabetes: A Consensus Report: Physicians and patients have long wondered about the “best” diet for diabetic patients. Is it low carb, low fat, high protein, some combination? The answer is that the presumption of “one best diet” is incorrect. This article is a consensus statement from the American Diabetes Association advocating for individualized diets. It updates 2014 recommendations.

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The Economic Value of Education for Longer Lives and Reduced Disability: It has long been known that higher levels of education (independent of health knowledge)are associated with better health. How much this benefit is worth had not been calculated. This research developed an economic model showing how powerful education is in its effect on health. In monetary terms: “The value of education for longer, healthier lives may surpass the value for earnings.”

Read the research for the numbers and theory

FDA clears Philip Morris’s heat-not-burn IQOS tobacco device for sale: The FDA has approved for sale a Philip Morris device (IQOS) that heats but does not burn tobacco. The agency says: “the products produce fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes.” It will still have restrictions on sales and a health warning.

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About health insurance

The Health 202: Medicare-for-all champions might not hear what they want at first Hill hearing today: This morning the House of Representatives held a hearing on Medicare-for-all. Not everyone has the same idea of what this program would mean and not all Democrats are supportive. This article is a great summary of this morning’s event. While healthcare is (and will be) an important issue, it is difficult for the public to sort out who is advocating for what plan. Left-leaning Democrats want a single payer system; right-leaning Republicans want to abolish the ACA but have yet to put forth a comprehensive program of their own; centrists of both parties are either watching or advocating for fixes to the ACA. The public is split on its desires (see the article below).

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'Obamacare' Still Earns a Split Decision From Americans: In its most recent poll on the subject, Gallup found support for the ACA at 50% and disapproval at 48%. The ratings were strongly along party lines.

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Why Vermont’s single-payer effort failed and what Democrats can learn from it: This article is a great explanation of what went wrong on Vermont’s road to a single payer system. It worth a read for anyone interested in health policy. The bottom line: according to Vermont Governor Shumlin: “What I learned the hard way is it isn’t just about reforming the broken payment system. Public financing will not work until you get costs under control.”

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Why Don't More Medicaid Insurers Sell Plans in ACA Marketplaces?:The Urban Institute and RWJ Foundation conducted a research study that asked insurers the question in the headline. The answers came down to the predictability and ease of Medicaid participation versus the higher administrative costs and unpredictability with exchange participation.

Read the the report(See the pdf link to the right of where the article starts)

About pharma

ViiV Healthcare seeks US approval of long-acting, injectable HIV treatment: Treatments for HIV infections have come a long way from complicated multiple daily dose regimens. The latest innovation is this FDA filing for once a month injections. The same company announced a once-daily pill last week.

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Should Drug Prices Be Disclosed in Ads Targeted Directly to Consumers?: This piece is from today’s Wall St. Journal supplemental section on healthcare issues. It presents two experts, each stating the case for her opposing opinion.

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AbbVie, Washington state strike subscription payment deal for hepatitis C treatments: Joining Louisiana, Washington state has contracted for however many hepatitis C treatments it needs in exchange for one monthly “subscription” price.

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