When Deal-Making Duo Tackled Health Law, Many Hoped They’d Break Cycle Of Failure. Then It All Fell Apart.
Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), both known for their ability to craft bipartisan deals, have been working on health law stabilization measures for months. And then it turned sour. Politico looks at what happened. Meanwhile, Americans have ranked health care as one of their top concerns.
Inside The Collapse Of A Bipartisan Obamacare Deal
Everybody on Capitol Hill agreed: If anyone could break the deep-rooted partisan logjam over Obamacare in Congress, it was that deal-making duo Patty and Lamar. But in the end, it was Obamacare that broke their alliance. Just seven months after Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) heralded the beginning of a new bipartisan era on health care following the collapse of Obamacare repeal efforts, their lofty ambitions ended in much the same way as every Obamacare-related negotiation over the last eight years — with claims of betrayal, warnings of political fallout and no progress toward bridging the deep divide over the nation’s health care system. When Congress put its finishing touches on a $1.3 trillion spending bill late last week, there was one glaring omission: a proposal to head off huge premium spikes just before the November midterm elections. (Cancryn and Haberkorn, 3/26)
Health Care Tops List Of Americans’ Worries: Poll
A majority of Americans say issues surrounding health care is a top concern for them, according to a new Gallup poll. Fifty-five percent of those polled said they worry "a great deal" about the cost and availability of health care in the U.S., while 23 percent said they worry about the issue "a fair amount." (Manchester, 3/26)
In other national health care news —
The Associated Press:
White House: No Change 'At This Time' To Shulkin's VA Job
With his job status in danger, embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin sought to lower his public profile Monday as a White House spokesman insisted that President Donald Trump still had confidence in his leadership "at this point in time." Shulkin, the lone Obama administration official in Trump's Cabinet, abruptly backed out of a media availability Monday morning that had been scheduled at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Elsmere, Delaware, as part of an annual Veterans Summit hosted by Democratic Sen. Tom Carper. Shulkin told organizers he needed to "get back on the road to Washington." (3/26)
Senate Dems Request Health Panel Hearing On School Shootings
Senate Democrats want the chamber's health committee to hold a hearing on the causes and remedies of mass shootings, including school shootings. Nine Democrats, as well as Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), sent a letter last week to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the top members on the panel, requesting they schedule a hearing in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, in which 17 people were killed. (Carney, 3/26)
Doctors Rip Santorum For Saying Students Should Learn CPR Instead Of Protesting Gun Violence
Doctors and health-care professionals are criticizing former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) after he suggested Sunday that student activists should learn CPR instead of protesting for gun control. The day after thousands of students across the country took to the streets to protest gun violence during the March for Our Lives, Santorum made remarks about CPR while appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union.” (Gstalter, 3/26)
Prices For Common Medicare Drugs Rose 12 Percent Annually, With A Caveat
The latest report to chronicle the rising cost of prescription medicines comes from a U.S. Senate committee that found prices for the 20 drugs most widely prescribed through Medicare Part D in 2015, on average, increased 12 percent each year between 2012 and 2017. Moreover, a dozen of the medicines saw price hikes of 50 percent of more during that time and six of the drugs experienced price increases of more than 100 percent. In one case, the weighted wholesale cost for one medicine — Nitrostat, which is used to prevent chest pain — rose by 477 percent. (Silverman, 3/26)
The Washington Post:
CVS-Aetna Wants To Be In Your Neighborhood Because Zip Codes Powerfully Shape People’s Health
Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini heads one of the biggest health insurers in the country and is on the cusp of a $69 billion megadeal to merge his company with pharmacy giant CVS. He says the future of health care is going to depend, mostly, on the time people spend outside the grasp of the traditional medical system. Health-policy experts increasingly talk about the effect of Zip codes on health — an acknowledgment of a growing body of research showing that where and how people live can have a bigger influence on their health than interactions with the medical system or even genetics. That means health insurance has to evolve, Bertolini said in an interview — away from acting only as a payment system for procedures and drugs when people are ill and toward interventions to help people stay healthy in their everyday lives. (Johnson, 3/26)
The New York Times:
They Push. They Protest. And Many Activists, Privately, Suffer As A Result.
She lay curled in bed for days, paralyzed by the stresses of a life that she felt had chosen her as much as she had chosen it. About three years earlier, the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., had spurred Ashley Yates into activism. She would evolve from street protester in her hometown of St. Louis to Black Lives Matter organizer in Oakland. But Ms. Yates would also feel the pressures of a job that seemed unrelenting: responding repeatedly to the deaths of black residents in communities across America, struggling to win policy reforms that would benefit black people and rallying others to support her causes. (Eligon, 3/26)
The New York Times:
For Many Strokes, There’s An Effective Treatment. Why Aren’t Some Doctors Offering It?
It was one of those findings that would change medicine, Dr. Christopher Lewandowski thought. For years, doctors had tried — and failed — to find a treatment that would preserve the brains of stroke patients. The task was beginning to seem hopeless: Once a clot blocked a blood vessel supplying the brain, its cells quickly began to die. Patients and their families could only pray that the damage would not be too extensive. (Kolata, 3/26)