GAO Tells Administration To Do More To Manage Health Law Sign-Ups, But Also Praises Some Of Its Efforts
The report from the Government Accountability Office will likely be used by Democrats in the upcoming midterms to support their message that the Trump administration is undermining the health law. But the GAO also credited the government's efforts to reduce call center wait times and stabilize the ACA website.
The Associated Press:
Report: Trump Administration Needs To Step Up On 'Obamacare'
A congressional watchdog said the Trump administration needs to step up its management of sign-up seasons for former President Barack Obama's health care law after mixed results last year in the throes of a failed GOP effort to repeal it. The report due out Thursday from the Government Accountability Office is likely to add to Democrats' election-year narrative that the administration actively undermined "Obamacare" without regard for the consequences to consumers. (8/23)
In other national health care news —
Medicare Struggles To Set The Agenda As It Considers How To Pay For CAR-T
Medicare can’t seem to figure out how to pay for pricey CAR-T cancer therapies. The latest glaring example of the struggle? A daylong advisory meeting Wednesday in Baltimore, ostensibly convened to discuss how patient-reported data should fit into the way Medicare pays for the pricey therapies, devolved into a confusing debate about what the meeting was supposed to be about in the first place. (Swetlitz, 8/23)
A Rare Spotlight On The Chemists Working To Develop New Drugs
For a few hours on Wednesday, the most exciting thing in drug development wasn’t the patients or potential payoffs. Instead, it was all about the chemists. Scientists from Merck, Eli Lilly, Amgen, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline were providing a detailed look at their preclinical development programs at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in Boston, disclosing information about what their drug candidates look like and how the structures are built, chemically speaking. (Sheridan, 8/23)
The New York Times:
Immunotherapy Drugs Slow Skin Cancer That Has Spread To The Brain
A new study offers a glint of hope to people in a desperate situation: Patients with melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, that has spread to the brain. A combination of two drugs that activate the immune system shrank brain tumors in many melanoma patients and prolonged life in a study of 94 people at 28 medical centers in the United States. The drugs were ipilimumab (brand name Yervoy) and nivolumab (Opdivo), and they belong to a class called checkpoint inhibitors. (Grady, 8/22)
The New York Times:
Air Pollution Is Shortening Your Life. Here’s How Much.
Air pollution is shaving months — and in some cases more than a year — off your life expectancy, depending on where you live, according to a study published Wednesday. Worldwide, outdoor air pollution reduces the average life expectancy at birth by one year. The effect is much more pronounced in some countries: It cuts the average Egyptian’s life span by 1.9 years and the average Indian’s by 1.5 years. In Russia, it’s around nine months. (Sengupta, 8/22)
The New York Times:
How You Felt About Gym Class May Impact Your Exercise Habits Today
Think for a moment about your school gym classes. Did you just grin with fond reminiscence or reflexively shudder? A revealing new study suggests that these disparate responses to memories of physical education classes are both common and consequential. (Reynolds, 8/22)
Los Angeles Times:
Found: An Ancient Hominin Hybrid Who Had A Neanderthal For A Mother And A Denisovan For A Father
Anthropologists have just hit the genomic jackpot. Among the thousands of bone fragments excavated from an ancient cave in the Altai mountains in Siberia, scientists have identified an inch-long shard that belonged to a rare hominin hybrid: a female with a Denisovan dad and a Neanderthal mom. (Netburn, 8/22)