The administration continues it’s battle to destroy protecting middle and low income folks from medical financial ruin continues.
The Trump administration is halting billions of dollars of payments to insurers under the Affordable Care Act’s risk-adjustment program, a move that further disrupts the insurance market and could lead to more premium increases next year.
This is a very interesting web site. Check out the emergency room prices both from Jefferson Healthcare and surrounding areas. Finally we are seeing the curtain being pulled back on our hospital pricing, which many of us have known is overpriced for many standard procedures. Our elected hospital commissioners, who have claimed to me and others that this was not possible to do, should have some explaining to do.
If you or a loved one needed knee replacement surgery, would you want to know which surgeon in your community has the highest rating for quality of care? Would you like to know how much a knee replacement costs, on average, at all of the medical offices close to your home?
Those are the types of information easily accessed through Washington state’s new HealthCareCompare website, an online tool that launched today. The user-friendly website is part of the state’s larger effort to make health care costs more transparent, and gives the public access to health care price and quality information from the Washington All-Payer Claims Database. The database is the result of legislation proposed by the governor.
This is not going to help anyone. In fact, it very likely will hurt people who are dying. While the idea behind this seems to the uninformed to be an interesting idea, the possibility of dying people taking drugs that may cause greater suffering to them is very real. The Trump Administration attempt to undermine the FDA is clearly underway. The beneficiaries of this are large drug companies.
President Donald Trump signed into law the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act of 2017, which had been opposed by a coalition of more than 100 non-governmental organizations. The law permits terminally ill patients who have exhausted approved treatment options and who are unable to participate in a clinical trial of an investigational new drug to receive the drug after it has passed only the first of three phases of testing required for marketing approval. Phase 1 testing requires only 20 to 80 healthy volunteers to determine a drug’s most frequent side effects and how it is metabolized or excreted. While it can reveal unacceptable toxicity, Phase 1 does not establish effectiveness. Most drugs that move past Phase I testing do not get approved for marketing because they are found to be unsafe and/or ineffective.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has “compassionate use” programs with safeguards that enable people with serious and life-threatening diseases to receive investigational medical devices, drugs, and biologics outside of clinical trials. The agency sometimes requires dosing and safety improvements but grants 99% of requests it receives and enables treatment to begin within 30 days (or five working days after emergency requests). The new law removes FDA’s consultative role in ensuring safety and fails to ensure informed consent requirements. It also “limits the liability of a sponsor, manufacturer, prescriber, or dispenser that provides, or declines to provide, an eligible investigational drug to an eligible patient in accordance with the bill.”
Senator Ron Johnson, who sponsored the legislation, said recently that its goal was to “diminish the FDA’s power over people’s lives, not increase it.” It was based on a model bill drafted by the Goldwater Institute, a libertarian think tank that opposes the FDA’s regulatory power. The Koch brothers-associated, right-wing groups Freedom Partners and Americans for Prosperity lobbied for the legislation. Similar legislation has already been enacted in 38 states. David Gorski, M.D., Ph.D. recently wrote:
Right-to-try is only a little about helping patients. It’s far more about dismantling the FDA and giving drug and device manufacturers more freedom to market drugs and devices with much less testing. [Gorski D. The very worst version of the sham known as “right-to-try” is poised to become law. Science-Based Medicine, May 21, 2018]
Why does this not surprise me….we are fighting against the medical/industrial complex. If you want a change, read the text of I-1600. It gets to the core of the issue. Will it make it to the ballot? Very uncertain. But something has to change in this country if we want to lower costs and bring about a positive change to patients and providers.
What a difference a border makes, when it comes to the cost of cancer care. Common chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer costs twice as much in Washington state as it does a short walk across the Canadian border into British Columbia, researchers report.
This is an odd story, but points out the dangers of supporting your enemy. And let’s be clear, when it comes to making healthcare better in this country, the Republicans are the enemy of that goal. They have fought for every opportunity to make things better in favor of religious fundamentalist goals that deny healthcare to women and other low income populations, and they have shown no interest in improving anything but the bottom line of their donors. The SEIU 1199, in supporting a Republican over a Democrat simply because the R was at one time a nurse, is absurd, since this former nurse is working against their interests.
It’s time we stop treating addiction like a character flaw and treat it for what it is, a medical condition. A good read by the NY Times.
And more on the anti-vaccination myths. Worth subscribing to Dr. Barrett’s blog.
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There is no clear evidence that debunking anti-vaccination myths has a significant effect on anti-vaccination attitudes. To explore why this is so, Australian researchers surveyed people in 24 countries ionn six continents. Based on responses from 5,323 participants, the researchers found that anti-vaccination attitudes scores were associated with:
- conspiratorial thinking
- reactance (the tendency to have low tolerance for impingements on one’s freedom)
- disgust toward blood and needles
- individualistic and hierarchical as opposed to egalitarian and communitarian worldview
These relationships were not strong among respondents in Asian and South American countries, but in Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, U.K., and the U.S.A., beliefs about conspiracies were found to account for 17% to 27% of the variation in anti-vaccination attitude. Gender and education level were not significantly related to anti-vaccination attitude, but conservative political ideology and younger age were each found to be weakly related. [Hornsey MJ and others. The psychological roots of anti-vaccination attitudes: A 24-nation investigation. Health Psychology 37:307-315, 2018]