Low-wage workers face more than just one obstacle in trying to obtain health care coverage, according to a Commonwealth Fund report. They are more likely to not have benefits, and they are also more likely to not have paid sick days so that they lose money for the doctors' visit and the lost day at the same time.

"We often focus on the cost of providing affordable health insurance coverage and ensuring access to health care for workers and families, but rarely consider the price of failing to help workers stay healthy and productive," says Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.

Lower-wage workers have fewer benefits*

* Based on a telephone survey taken Sept. 3, 2003–Jan. 4, 2004. The analytic sample consists of 1,963 part-time and full-time workers who are not self-employed.

SOURCE: WAGES, HEALTH BENEFITS, AND WORKERS HEALTH, COMMONWEALTH FUND BIENNIAL HEALTH INSURANCE SURVEY (2003)

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There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

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They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

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Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

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