There was no shortage of healthcare news in the headlines this week. Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that includes healthcare provisions that will lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare, reduce Medicare drug spending and extend enhanced subsidies for Affordable Care Act marketplace coverage. The IRA also contains programs to promote clean energy, such as business and consumer tax credits and is widely viewed as the federal government’s largest investment in fighting climate change. Included in the IRA are tax increases for some large companies and establishment of a new tax on corporate stock buybacks. The IRA heads to President Biden’s desk next week for signature.
In other major healthcare news this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated COVID-19 guidance on Thursday reflecting increased population immunity due to vaccines/boosters and prior infection as well as treatments and tools to help protect against severe illness and death. The new guidance shifts the focus of mitigation efforts to individuals rather than the prior emphasis on using businesses, schools, and other entities to control spread of the virus. Individuals are encouraged to stay current with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters and follow testing protocols. The CDC dropped the recommendations for quarantine for people who come in contact with an infected person as well the 6-foot social distancing in most situations. The CDC continues to recommend indoor masking in areas designated as high on its COVID community scale.
This Weekend Reading Series begins with The Word on the Street, with the latest on the new FDA testing guidelines; Blue Cross Blue Shield settlement; Pfizer drug warranty program and other key stories. Next, check out Go Deep, offering an in-depth look at private equity in healthcare; online privacy post-Roe; social media disinformation about the 988 hotline and more! Do not miss All the Lonely People, with articles about loneliness and its impact on worker productivity, health and relationships. Last, but not least, check out Sweet Finds and my personal favorite in honor of National Creamsicle Day on August 14th – An Ode To The Humble Orange Creamsicle!
I hope you enjoy the following:
1. The Word On The Street
- FDA Expands Home Testing Guidelines for COVID Exposures (WebMD)
- Federal judge gives final approval to $2.67B BCBS antitrust settlement (Becker’s Payer Issues)
- Lawsuit Could End Free Preventive Health Checkups (Pew Charitable Trusts)
- In warranty program, Pfizer will refund up to $50K for patients who discontinue use of rare disease drug (Fierce Pharma)
2. Go Deep
- Investors threaten financial stability of health care providers: How Public Real Estate Investment Trusts Extract Wealth from Nursing Homes and Hospitals (PHYS.org)
- EXPLAINER: Online privacy in a post-Roe world (The Associated Press)
- Social Media Posts Criticize the 988 Suicide Hotline for Calling Police. Here’s What You Need to Know. (Kaiser Health News)
- Americans, No Matter the State They Live In, Die Younger Than People in Many Other Countries (The Commonwealth Fund)
3. All the Lonely People
- Loneliness impacting workers’ productivity, health, Cigna study finds (HR Dive)
- Probing the Complex Influence of Video Games on Young Minds My son’s social isolation prompted me to reconsider video games, and some dated research about their influence. (Discover Magazine)
- Social Isolation Increases Risk of Cardiovascular Issues A new study shows a connection between being and feeling alone and having heart attacks and strokes. (Discover Magazine)
- Long-Term Loneliness Tied to Risk for Memory Decline. Association particularly strong for those aged 65 years or older and for women (HealthDay)
4. Sweet Finds
- My Mom Has No Friends The loneliness of growing older made bearable with playdates. (The Cut)
- Being A Family Dog Can Be A Lonely, Stressful Job (Futurity)
- An Ode To The Humble Orange Creamsicle (Refinery29)
- From Lists to Love Letters, What Do People Leave Behind in Library Books? A California librarian assembles forgotten objects in a heartwarming digital archive (Smithsonian Magazine)
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]