The Hill reports that Washington State has again triumphed over Trump for now on the administrations attempts to allow bigotry in healthcare.
“The court agreed that all Washingtonians deserve to receive the full range of health care services,” Ferguson said in a statement. “This rule would have disproportionately harmed rural and working poor Washington families, who have no alternatives to their local health care providers, as well as LGBTQ individuals, who already face discrimination when they seek medical care.”
CHD is reporting on the FDA’s actions against a wide array of companies using unsubstantiated marketing to sell their products. As most know, the “natural” healthcare industry has been virtually unregulated, allowing almost any company to claim that they have some kind of cure or natural compound that will reverse the effects of diseases. It is gratifying to see the FDA actually continuing to crack down on these companies rather than just talk about doing something.
It’s always interesting to review where the big money is spent on lobbying. Today’s article in the Healthcare Dive (link at bottom of page) covered the an overview of hospital lobbying efforts highlight a few interesting issues (facts?):
The last lines point out that political rhetoric for “Medicare for All” seems to die after elections. Gavin Newsome in CA and the Illinois legislature has had a bill under study for two years without movement. The Medicare for All sounds like it’s not much more than a political ploy to help get politicians elected. We’ll have to see what becomes of the bills in the Washingon State legislature before putting the final nails in the coffin of this idea of Bernie Sanders. A question could be asked that if it’s that’s important to Sanders, is he involved in lobbying these states to implement it?
The 340B program, which has been a political hot potato, continues to be lobbied for by hospitals. There is much to criticize in this program, which supposedly provides direct subsidies to low income patients, but has been manipulated by both big Pharma (which wants to kill it) and hospitals (which has found ways to use it to make money for their bottom line). Yes, low income patients are getting drugs at a lower cost through this program but it leads one wondering if they could get even lower prices if the money was actually given to them directly, which was the original intent of the bill. We’re a long ways from that original intent, and even our hospital is profiting from the program, and finding further ways to incorporate it into future hospital planning.
It’s not all cynical lobbying though, as the hospital lobby fought hard against efforts to kill the ACA, helped support more funds for mental health care and much more.
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.
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?
Great news! Read the whole story at the Huffington Post.
SCOTUS REJECTS PLANNED PARENTHOOD CASEThe 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 acollision 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]
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.
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.”