Chest X-rays do not save lives when used to screen for lung cancer, according to a 20-year study reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Mayo Clinic/NCI researchers found that imaging led to no reduction in mortality, but revealed many "clinically insignificant" tumors, inviting potentially unnecessary treatment.... "California, open your Golden Gate?" Only so we can leave, say physicians. State and county medical societies report a physician exodus, thanks to comparatively low capitation rates and the state's high cost of living. The Census Bureau confirms California dropped from 8th to 12th in the '90s in ratio of doctors to population.... Congress will consider restoring $21 billion in Balanced Budget Act cuts to Medicare providers over five years. Enough? Hospitals seek $25 billion, nursing homes want $17 billion, and health plans say they need $15 billion.... The Health Care Financing Administration will pay Medicare physicians about five percent more in the aggregate next year, thanks to higher reliance on RBRVUs. The upshot: Higher pay for primary care, less for specialties.... Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising will top $2 billion this year, for the first time, says Scott-Levin, the consulting firm.... Try it: An analysis in the Journal of Health Promotion suggests daily practice of transcendental meditation could prevent illness to the tune of $5 billion a year.
House Republicans come out with their ACA alternative. A continuous coverage surcharge replaces the individual mandate. But where’s the CBO score?
The biosimilar segment of the pharmaceutical industry is on fire. Some 700 biosimilars are at some stage of development, and more than 660 companies are involved in some way in the biosimilars land rush. Still, only a handful may get on the market in the next few years.
No one knows how much of an effect biosimilars will have on oncology expenditures. Pricing and market share are in a large, opaque “to be determined” cloud. But there’s certainly potential for a major impact that could lower oncology expenditures by millions, if not billions.
The future of biosimilars in this country is nothing if not uncertain. Most immediately, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case that will determine the timing of the 180-day waiting period before a biosimilar can go on the market. But there are larger and longer-term issues at play as well.
While coupons help individual consumers, they are also having a major impact on the insurance industry and anyone responsible for paying health care bills. Insurers and pharmacy benefit managers complain that they foil formularies and other pricing strategies designed to steer consumers to less-expensive drugs.
The hard truth is that telehealth’s future—its size, its contours—will depend a lot on what payers will be willing to pay for. Currently, commercial plans cover only a limited number of services. In addition, research suggests that there may be quality and utilization problems.
Insurers should consider covering new drug-delivery devices that can improve outcomes while lowering disease-specific pharmacy and long-term overall health care costs. Managing these devices in the pharmacy benefit will consolidate volume-based purchasing and capitalize on PBM strategies for improving adherence.
Basaglar is coming on the scene during tumultuous times for insulin products. Manufacturers are under attack for price hikes. There are allegations of backroom rebate deals. And a class-action lawsuit has been brought on behalf of uninsured patients, charging insulin makers with setting artificially high prices.
Evaluating the quality of telemedicine care is about as easy as evaluating the quality of health care, period, and researchers are still ironing out the methodological kinks. That may be one reason research results are all over the place. This article involved reviewing nine such studies, and the findings are a mixed bag.
The results can be tragic. Patients with addictions are unlikely to wait the hours or days it takes health insurers to approve the medications they need. Insurers are changing their practices, but not without some outside pressure.