Healthcare — Senate bill seeks to reduce monthly premiums

You may soon be able to taste some lab-grown meat. The FDA has lab-approved meat for human consumption for the first time.

Today in health care, we’re looking at a new bipartisan bill that two senators hope to pass before the end of the year that could significantly reduce monthly prescription drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees. .

Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Did someone forward this newsletter to you?

Bill would reduce Rx costs for some seniors

Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would allow those enrolled in the All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program to choose their plan of drug coverage under Medicare Part D and save more on monthly drug costs.

PACE is a Medicare/Medicaid program that provides medical and social services through a team of medical professionals that enrollees have regular access to, with the goal of avoiding placement in a nursing home.

The problem to solve: Individuals enrolled in PACE must currently obtain their Medicare Part D covered drugs through the program. Joining another Medicare drug plan means opting out of PACE benefits.

  • Carper and Cassidy’s bill, the PACE Part D Choice Act, would allow PACE recipients to enroll in standalone drug plans not operated by the program. It would also make beneficiaries eligible for drug plans subject to the $2,000 annual cap that was instituted by the Cut Inflation Act earlier this year.
  • “PACE participants in Delaware and across the country face rising prescription drug costs every time they need a refill for their life-saving medications. It makes no sense that these older Americans can’t choose which Medicare Part D plan is best for them financially,” Carper said in a statement.

The legislation, if passed, would require PACE to inform beneficiaries of their options for prescription drug plans outside of the program and help facilitate enrollment.

Under the current rules, PACE recipients have an average monthly premium of $1,015.03, according to lawmakers. The senators estimated that their bill would save PACE participants an average of $972.03 per month on prescription drugs, which would translate to an average monthly payment of $43.

Learn more here.

Coalition calls for increased CDC oversight

The Health Innovation Alliance on Tuesday called on congressional leaders to pass legislation that would increase the accountability of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health agencies.

“Not only has the CDC received significant additional funding for the COVID-19 response, but the agency has failed to update and modernize its response plans and systems as required by Congress in 2006, and again twice since,” the band executive said. Director Joel White wrote in a letter to key legislators.

White urged Congress to “ensure that the CDC does not use the additional funding to duplicate successful work already underway in the private sector” and to prevent the agency from demanding “unnecessary reports” from the agencies. national and local health.

“Instead, the CDC should focus on taking concrete steps to ensure that data flows both to the agency but also to providers, frontline health workers and public health entities that need it for treatment and response,” White added.

  • The CDC has come under scrutiny amid the COVID-19 pandemic, receiving criticism for slow responses and unclear guidance, among other missteps.
  • Following an extensive internal review, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said earlier this year that the agency needed to speed up its response time, simplify its communication with the public and adopt other changes to ensure that it fulfills its mission.

Learn more here.

FDA WARNS AGAINST TOY-LIKE PRODUCTS TARGETING CHILDREN

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday warned several e-cigarette makers to stop selling vapes and other products that look like toys and appeal to children.

The FDA told the five companies – Wizman Limited, Shenzhen Fumot Technology, Shenzhen Quawins Technology, Ruthless Vapor and Moti Global – to stop selling e-cigarettes designed to look like glow sticks, Nintendo Game Boys and walkie-talkies, or imitate foods such as popsicles.

“The designs of these products are an utterly blatant attempt to target children,” Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement. “It’s hard to suggest that adults using e-cigarettes for the purpose of quitting smoking need a cartoon character on the front of the product to do so successfully.”

But what kind of impact FDA warning letters have on compliance is unclear.

Wizman had previously received a warning letter in 2020 regarding his product which imitated the Nintendo Game Boy – one of the same products Wizman had been reprimanded for in Wednesday’s letter.

Learn more here.

1B AT RISK OF HEARING LOSS DUE TO DEVICES AND LOUD PLACES: STUDY

According to a new study published in the journal BMJ Public Health, Compiled with results from over 30 different studies, up to 1.35 billion adolescents and young adults worldwide are potentially at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to headphones, earphones and places loud music venues such as clubs or concerts.

All studies were published between 2000 and 2021 and included people aged 12 to 34.

The findings indicate “an urgent need to prioritize policies focused on safe listening,” the authors wrote, noting that recreational noise exposure is a modifiable risk factor for hearing loss.

The results also come a month after the United States authorized the sale of hearing aids over the counter at retailers like Walgreens, Walmart and CVS.

Acceptable volumes for personal listening devices are around 80 decibels (dB) for adults and 75 dB for children. However, some users may choose to listen to content as loud as 105 dB. Meanwhile, average sound levels in entertainment venues range from 104 to 112 dB, according to the researchers.

Learn more here.

American transgender people face an ‘epidemic of violence’

At least 32 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed since the start of the year, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reported on Wednesday, bringing to more than 300 the number of violent deaths recorded by the group during the last decade.

At least 302 transgender people have been killed in the United States since 2013, when the FBI began reporting hate crimes motivated by anti-transgender bias, the HRC said Wednesday. in an annual report.

  • More than 85% of the victims tracked by the group over the past decade were people of color, of which about 69% were black and
    15 percent who were Latino. More than three-quarters, or 77%, were under 35 years old.
  • At least two-thirds of violent deaths of transgender people recorded since 2013 involved a firearm, according to the HRC report. Gun Control Group Everytown for Gun Safety recently found that 73% of transgender homicides since 2017 involved a firearm.

Wednesday’s report also comes at the end of a year in which state lawmakers have introduced at least 145 bills aimed at restricting the rights of transgender youth. At least 17 have become law in 13 states, according to the HRC.

The release of Wednesday’s HRC report coincides with Transgender Awareness Week, observed annually from November 13 and leading up to Transgender Remembrance Day on November 20, which commemorates victims of deadly violence.

Learn more here.

WHAT WE READ

  • Amid Adderall shortages, people with ADHD face withdrawal and despair (New York Times)
  • Pediatricians are asking for more federal help to fight the surge of RSV (Call)
  • Covid deaths and hospitalizations are falling in the United States (BNC News)

STATE BY STATE

  • South Dakota embraced Medicaid expansion. And after? (PBS NewsTime)
  • Struggle for health care minimum wage results in split decision in Southern California (California Healthline)
  • The Abortion Election: Democrats bet on abortion politics to win the midterm elections. It worked. (The times of the ceiling)

THE OP-ED HILL

An Unexpected Midterm Winner: Public Health

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. Until tomorrow.

Norman D. Briggs