This week we’re combing through all sorts of new studies,
including how younger seniors are drinking more, older women are giving birth
more, the healthcare growth rate continues at historic lows, and how Walmart is
pushing its million-plus employees to using certain healthcare providers.
- The Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms released a case study of New York’s first-in-the-nation balance billing law and found consumer complaints about surprise medical bills dramatically declined.
- The Atlantic takes a deep dive into all of the actions that the Trump Administration has taken as part of its “America First” prescription drug blueprint, and the actions that have yet to be taken.
- Kaiser Health News takes on President Trump’s claims of protecting consumers from pre-existing conditions and how the administration has worked to fulfill this promise.
- Altarum released its monthly economic indicators, showing that healthcare prices have continued to grow at “amazingly low” rates, with year-over-year growth of 1.5%, lower than the Consumer Price Index’s 2.0%.
- Former George W. Bush administration official Phillip Swagel was named the next CBO director. Swagel has long offered commentary on health issues, and while he cautioned that the ACA may not be sound fiscal policy, he supported the law’s efforts to expand coverage, boost quality and lower cost.
- Kaiser Health News reviewed the lax regulations governing healthcare sharing ministries and potential pitfalls faced by consumers.
- Walmart is pushing its 1.1 million employees covered by their health plans to get better diagnoses by sending them to imaging centers specifically identified for providing high-quality care.
- A report by the Sunlight Foundation looks at how the Trump Administration has worked to censor information on the ACA by removing words, links or entire pages that offered information about the health law.
- The CDC released a report that shows only 3.8 million babies were born last year, the fewest number of births in 32 years, dropping by 2% from the previous year. However, birth rates have increased for women in their late 30s and early 40s.
- According to a new report on America's Health Rankings, more seniors between the ages of 65 to 74 are drinking excessively, have diabetes and are obese than in 2002, and 5.2% of seniors reported avoiding seeing a doctor because of how much it could cost.
- This week we learned of the passing of Leonard Bailey, who performed a baboon-to-human heart transplant.
- We’re also mourning the loss of Tardar Sauce, better known as “Grumpy Cat,” who passed away this week at the age of 7 from complications of a urinary tract infection.
- This experimental hearing aide can help people who are hard of hearing pick out voices in a crowd by separating the sounds of different speakers and making one of those voices stand out from the others.
- In lighter news, we know that it takes a certain kind of competitiveness for someone to decide to run for office, but many lawmakers’ competitive spirit doesn’t end at the ballot box.