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The FDA this week launched a crackdown on smoking and smoking: ordering the Juul vaping device to be taken off the market and manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco products appearing to demand a reduction in nicotine levels.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court did not rule on a high-stakes abortion case, but said it could limit the amount of kidney dialysis care provided by private health insurance, thus forcing some patients to seek Medicare.
This week’s panelists include KHN’s Julie Rovner, Johns Hopkins of Bloomberg School of Public and Political Health Joanne Kenen and Rachel Cohrs of Stat.
Among the conclusions of this week’s episode are:
- The FDA has ordered Juul to remove its e-cigarettes from the U.S. market because the company’s request to the agency did not provide enough information for regulators to decide whether Juul was a risk to users. The FDA said there was concern about the risk of leaching some harmful chemicals from the Juul pod. Juul is expected to appeal the FDA’s decision to the courts.
- Juul helped spark an explosion in the use of electronic cigarettes when it hit the market, and officials initially believed it would help smokers who wanted to get rid of cigarette habit. But the industry’s use of flavored tobacco and aggressive marketing helped drive a tremendous rise in use among teenagers and led to regulatory repression.
- The Supreme Court ruled this week that employers should make all dialysis treatments offline in their employees ’health plans, a decision that would encourage many patients to seek Medicare coverage for kidney problems. The decision was a disappointment for dialysis providers, who receive fewer refunds from Medicare than they get from private insurance plans.
- The decision leaves many details unclear and more legal struggles may come. Dialysis providers can also go to Congress to enact laws that would prohibit employers from making such moves.
- It is likely that the Senate will consider a bill proposed by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) that seeks to lower the cost of insulin. The bill is more friendly to pharmacists than any other measure passed by the House this year. The Senate bill seeks to get pharmacists to offer it at the price they received from Medicare in 2021, allowing them to avoid the benefits and other expensive subsidies paid to pharmaceutical benefit managers and insurance plans. It would also limit the out-of-pocket costs of insured consumers to $ 35.
- As the Senate approaches the vote on gun safety legislation, other efforts are being made to find more funding for programs to help address mental health issues. These efforts can help in campaigns to reduce suicide and domestic violence, which are often linked to weapons.
- The House is launching efforts to approve credit bills, and the initial funding measures by the Department of Health and Human Services do not include the so-called Hyde Amendment, a long-standing policy appointed to former Henry Hyde (R). -Ill.) Which prohibits the use of federal funds for most abortions. Earlier efforts by the House to repeal the Hyde Amendment did not clear the Senate.
- President Joe Biden has appointed Arati Prabhakar, former head of the Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA), as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He would replace Eric Lander, who was forced to resign after reporting harassment of workers.
- Prabhakar seems to be an undisputed choice and has a great deal of management experience. His responsibilities will likely be to oversee pandemic planning, efforts to form a new biomedical research agency called ARPA-H, and strategies to improve cancer prevention.
Also this week, Rovner interviewed Noam N. Levey of KHN about the new KHN-NPR project on medical debt, called “Diagnosis: Debt”.
In addition, for extra credit, panel members also recommend stories of their favorite health policies that they think you should read:
Julie Rovner: AP’s “New Perspective on Veterinary Welfare at the Westminster Dog Show” by Jennifer Peltz
Joanne Kenen: Nancy Averett’s Fern.org’s “Back Foury: How to Protect Farm Workers from Heat-Related Kidney Diseases”
Rachel Cohrs: Todd Feathers, Simon Fondrie-Teitler, Angie Waller and Surya Mattu’s Markup “Facebook is receiving sensitive medical information from hospital websites”
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