In states, Democrats start delivering on health care pledges – Chicago Sun Times

The outcome of the Blue Wave of November is starting to be felt. The article, while from Chicago, opens with Washington State and California as examples. In case you haven’t been following, newly elected Governor Gavin Newsome is off to an incredible start. He ran on healthcare as a major issue, and is already starting to deliver.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/democrats-midterm-election-campaign-promise-health-care-affordable-healthcare/

Taking Surprise Medical Bills to Court – NY Times

With a growing number of people being sent to collections here in Jefferson County by JHC, this article points out a very interesting issue of whether the “contract” between a patient (especially one coming into an E.R.) and the hospital is a legal and binding contract for billing purposes. Can you have a binding agreement if the client/consumer doesn’t know the price they are paying when they sign the consent agreement?

 

SCOTUS REJECTS PLANNED PARENTHOOD CASE. [HuffPost]

Great news! Read the whole story at the Huffington Post.

SCOTUS REJECTS PLANNED PARENTHOOD CASE The Supreme Court, with three dissenting justices, ducked a high-profile case by rejecting appeals from Kansas and Louisiana in their effort to strip Medicaid money from Planned Parenthood. The court’s reluctance to take up new cases on volatile social issues is putting it on a collision course with Trump, whose Justice Department is trying to rush such disputes through the appeals system to get them before the nine justices as quickly as possible. [HuffPost]

Heated And Deep-Pocketed Battle Erupts Over 340B Drug Discount Program – Kaiser Health News

This is an ugly story from both sides of the issue. The big Pharma companies are looking to claw back some of their profits, and some hospital districts, such as Jefferson County Healthcare, may be using the system in a way it was not intended, meaning that it is unclear that the patients who were intended to benefit from this, actually are seeing benefits. JHC has a relationship to somehow share these discounts with Safeway, where they send patients for filling the discounted drug.  Is the patient actually seeing a discounted price or is the hospital somehow using this to generate more profits? I am under the impression that Kitsap County is using the program more as it was originally intended, meaning that the monies are passed directly to the consumer who benefits from the discount. Is that not true here? It appears not to be.

The program, known as 340B, requires pharmaceutical companies to give steep discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve high volumes of low-income patients.

Under 340B, named after the section of the Public Health Service Act that authorizes it, eligible hospitals buy drugs at a discount from the pharmaceutical companies and then are reimbursed for those purchases from Medicare. The drugs are purchased under the Part B program, which covers expensive chemotherapy and other treatments in a hospital, doctor’s office and clinics.

Heated And Deep-Pocketed Battle Erupts Over 340B Drug Discount Program

First Digital Pill Approved to Worries About Biomedical ‘Big Brother’ – NY Times

The medicine, an antipsychotic drug, has a sensor that will show doctors whether and when patients are taking it. Other medicines will follow, experts say. Feedback from a medical professional was, “This is all about performance markers and doctors being able to “divorce” non compliant patients, so their reimbursement doesn’t go down. Patients who don’t/ can’t understand or cannot afford medications, or have other barriers are once again the disenfranchised group.”

New York Times Article

Groundbreaking option in Washington state could let dementia patients refuse spoon-feeding – Seattle Times

Anyone who has watched a terminally ill loved one who refuses to eat, will appreciate this new option. We need to continue to press for death with dignity. If you don’t think this is important you may not have experienced what some homes for the elderly who are mentally not in control will do when they decide that they will keep the patient alive at all costs. This is not a pretty picture of care for the terminally ill, but is all to real today.

A Washington state agency that advocates for medical aid-in-dying has created guidelines for dementia patients who fear losing control not only of their faculties but of their free will to live and die on their terms.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/new-groundbreaking-instructions-out-of-washington-state-could-let-dementia-patients-refuse-spoon-feeding/