House lawmakers voted Thursday for a short-term spending bill that would keep the federal government open through Feb. 16, extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years, and delay or suspend several health care taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act. A funding bill needs to be approved by week's end to avert a government shutdown, but the House-backed version is unlikely to pass the Senate after Democrats vowed to block the measure because it does not address their priorities on issues such as immigration and spending.
Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he wants to include two bipartisan bills designed to stabilize Affordable Care Act markets in long-term spending legislation that could pass as soon as next month. The bills would provide funding for state reinsurance programs and cost-sharing reduction payments.
CDC researchers found that the percentage of US women ages 15 to 44 who received prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder drugs rose by 344% between 2003 and 2015, with the highest increase -- 700% -- among those ages 25 to 29. The findings in the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report also showed that the greatest increases occurred in Southern and Western states, and Adderall, Vyvanse and Ritalin were the most commonly prescribed medications.
FitLyfe CEO Sam Salbi says corporate wellness programs lack an overall strategy nationwide, vary widely in their use of performance data, are short on accountability and have a delivery system more focused on disease reaction than wellness. Salbi recommends outcomes-based wellness programs with incentives and using data to refine plans.
The theme for the future of corporate wellness is that employers have a vested interest in keeping employees healthy, said new Society for Human Resource Management CEO Johnny Taylor Jr. "Preventing health problems is the number one issue because you, the employer, can control costs," Taylor said.
School leaders in a Kentucky district say efforts to promote nutrition and health in schools are paying off. A recent report highlighted efforts in the district to encourage physical fitness and to serve healthier meals in the school's cafeteria.
The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association told the CMS that a plan to require Medicare Part D drug plan sponsors to pass a portion of rebates to patients would increase costs for most beneficiaries. PCMA also said that the CMS lacks the legal authority to implement the proposal and that the plan violates laws on trade secrets.
A CMS proposal governing prescription drug rebates does nothing to address the core issue of drug costs, PCMA said. "The fundamental problem is these ideas focus on micromanaging how plans use existing price concessions for Medicare beneficiaries, but do nothing to reduce high prices set by drugmakers and imperil efforts to improve pharmacy performance," PCMA said in a statement.
Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension, SSM Health and Trinity Health, which together operate more than 300 hospitals, have agreed to make and subcontract the manufacturing of generic drugs in response to "capricious and unfair pricing practices."
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency would issue guidance in March about what drugs can be compounded in bulk for physicians' offices and hospitals without individual prescriptions. "Ultimately, there's no question that the framework we will be laying out will place more restrictions on what they can do," Gottlieb said.
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