Health care will cost more–now the media say that’s good?

An AMA morning report on the projections of increased health care costs and spending.

Now reports are that bamstercare is part of the reason as if it shows that bamstercare should be considered a positive development? The Newspeak is hard to follow without the leftist libretto.

Only in 1984 America can the media change what was a reason for completely revamping the healthcare system into a plaudit for the change made.

One more reason not to allow governments to fix what they may have broken or propose new ambitious projects to fix a problem they have “discovered” and promoted as a ‘crisis.’

From the AMA morning news report:

US health spending will grow faster over next decade than in recent years, HHS report predicts
USA Today (7/29, Ungar) reports that “U.S. health spending is expected to grow faster over the next decade than in recent years, reflecting a stronger economy, an aging population and higher levels of insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, a new federal report says.”

The AP (7/29, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports that according to the report, at around the midpoint of the next president’s administration in 2019, “health care spending will be increasing at roughly 6 percent a year, compared to an average annual rise of 4 percent from 2008 through 2013.” The report says this higher rate of increase is “still ‘relatively modest,’” and the AP notes that the report, “through 2024, does not foresee a return to pre-recession days of torrid health care inflation.”

The Los Angeles Times (7/29, Levey) reports that “by 2024, healthcare is projected to consume 19.6% of the economy, up from 17.4% in 2013, said the report, published in the journal Health Affairs.”

The Wall Street Journal (7/29, Radnofsky, Subscription Publication) attributes the larger growth to expanded coverage under the ACA, the improved economy, and Medicare beneficiaries from the baby-boom generation entering their 70s.

AMA Wire
Medicare, Medicaid turn 50: Taking a look at their past and future
About one in every three Americans has health coverage under Medicare or Medicaid, and the number of people with coverage under the programs is expected to increase in the next decade. On the 50th anniversary of these two programs, learn about their pasts and what’s in store for the future. Read more at AMA Wire®.

Practice News: 6 steps to start Lean health care in your practice
More physician practices are starting to “go Lean,” using management principles from manufacturing companies to eliminate waste, improve efficiency and add value for patients. Learn how to implement Lean methods in your practice. Read more at AMA Wire.

Connect with the AMA online: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ or visit AMA Wire Online

Government and Medicine
Senate may vote next week on bill to defund Planned Parenthood
The AP (7/29, Fram) reports that the Senate will vote before its August recess on an effort “to bar federal aid to Planned Parenthood, GOP leaders said Tuesday.” Lawmakers unveiled a bill Tuesday evening prohibiting Federal funds for Planned Parenthood “and directing that the money instead be directed to ‘other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services.’”

Lawmakers focus on prescription drugs in fight against “heroin epidemic”
CBS News (7/29, Condon) reports that the Obama Administration has responded to the “heroin epidemic plaguing the nation” by “focusing on stemming the problem at its source – the over-reliance on prescription drugs.” Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy Center, said at a subpanel hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that all opioid prescribing healthcare providers should have mandatory continuing education, while the President “is expanding training among federal health care providers.” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) has also introduced legislation “that would require prescribers to complete training on best practices for pain management before getting a license to prescribe controlled substances.”

Health Coverage and Access
Health coverage, access, affordability have improved under ACA, study finds
USA Today (7/29, Ungar) reports that since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, “fewer Americans lack health insurance or have trouble getting the care and medicines they need, a study released Tuesday says.” The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the number of Americans who reported being uninsured fell 7.9 percentage points by the first quarter of this year. Minorities “saw the biggest reductions — with uninsured rates among Latinos, for example, dropping by 11.9 percentage points.” The study’s lead author, Benjamin Sommers of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said, “The ACA may be associated with reductions in longstanding disparities in access to health care.” According to the article, Sommers and his colleagues “analyzed 2012-15 results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a national telephone survey, and examined changes among 507,055 U.S. adults ages 18-64.”

Reuters (7/29, Seaman) reports the study estimates 15.8 million adults gained coverage under the ACA since late 2013. Additionally, about 7 million more adults say they had a personal physician and 4.8 million more adults say they can afford their medicine.

CNBC (7/29) reports that the improvements in health coverage, access, and affordability came after “‘worsening trends in the 2012-13 period, particularly between March 2013 and September 2013,’ according to the study.” The research also “noted that the gains in health coverage and access to care for low-income adults were particularly striking in states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA.”

Medicaid, CHIP enrollment rose 509,000 in May
Congressional Quarterly (7/29, Subscription Publication) reports that the number of people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program rose by 509,082 people in May from “April preliminary totals that were released last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.” The total number of people on Medicaid or CHIP “stood at 71.6 million people, about 12.8 million people on average more than in a three-month period in 2013, before the main coverage expansions in the health care law took place.”

Quality and Safety
Hospitals penalized for HACs do well on other quality measures, study finds
Modern Healthcare (7/29, Subscription Publication) reports that hospitals most often penalized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “not reducing hospital-acquired conditions are those that do well on other publicly reported quality measures and are accredited by the Joint Commission, a new study finds.” The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “found 24% of the penalized facilities were Joint Commission accredited while only 14% were not; 28% were safety net hospitals while only about 1 out of 5 were not; and 62% were ‘very major’ (or, those with the highest resident-to-bed ratios) teaching hospitals compared with only 17% of non-teaching hospitals.” According to the article, the study suggests that the penalties could be steering patients away “from better performing facilities” and they “could also prevent low performers from receiving the feedback necessary to improve.”

Public Health
Mortality, hospitalizations among Medicare patients down sharply since 1999, study finds
USA Today (7/29, Szabo) reports that Medicare “has scored a medical hat trick, reducing deaths, hospitalizations and costs, a new study shows.” Mortality rates among Medicare beneficiaries decreased 16 percent from 1999 to 2013, equal to “more than 300,000 fewer deaths a year in 2013 than in 1999, said cardiologist Harlan Krumholz, lead author of a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine.” Examining Medicare’s traditional “fee-for-service” program, researchers found that hospitalization rates fell 24 percent, while costs for hospitalized patients dropped 15 percent.

TIME (7/29) reports Krumholz “said that better training for hospital staff led to many of the improvements.” The article adds that people “are also living healthier, longer lives—smoking less, breathing cleaner air, and able to take advantage of scientific breakthroughs in medicine.”

Pharma & Device Update
FDA approves nonsurgical device to treat obesity
The Wall Street Journal (7/29, Burton, Subscription Publication) reports that the Food and Drug Administration approved a new device, called the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System for treating obesity non-surgically.

According to the AP (7/29, Perrone), the device uses an inflatable balloon that “is inserted into the stomach using an endoscope and then filled with saline solution” in order to fill up space in the stomach.

MedPage Today (7/29, Fiore) reports that the device is installed in an outpatient procedure that “procedure takes less than 30 minutes” and “should be removed 6 months after insertion.”

OTC statin program ended after trial fails
Bloomberg News (7/28, Sachetta) reports that “Pfizer Inc. won’t bring an over-the-counter version of its cholesterol pill Lipitor [atorvastatin] to the U.S. market, after a trial found that patients couldn’t take the drug correctly without a doctor’s help.” The company conducted a trial of 1,300 patients who were recruited “with a toll-free number, then directed to a pharmacy where they could get a 10 milligram dose of the drug.” The trial “looked at whether they would check their cholesterol after starting the drug, and take the right medical action after getting the results” and ultimately found that they couldn’t.

Tuesday’s Lead Stories
• Drugmakers fail to report 10% of adverse events to FDA within 15 days, study finds
• CMS to implement “fast-track” review process for Medicaid waivers
• Two New Jersey hospital systems challenge new paramedic law
• Covered California announces “modest” average rate increase for ACA plans
• Gadolinium-based contrast agents used in MRI imaging may build up in brain, FDA says
• Report sees increase in teen use of emergency contraception
• Cost, coverage concerns arise following alirocumab approval

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