Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of July 9, 2017
JUL 15, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
#5: New Iteration of AHCA Released: Public Health Watch Special Report
The latest (and last?) version of the AHCA still calls for significant cuts to Medicaid, starting in 2025, ending the funds for expansion of the program under the ACA in 2024. Notably, though, the new bill includes the so-called “Cruz-Lee Amendment” (named for its authors, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah), which would enable insurers to offer plans that do not meet all of the requirements set forth in the ACA, including protection for people with preexisting conditions. The idea is that this will allow insurers to offer cheaper plans to healthier people.
Interestingly, Senator Lee has, The Hill notes, indicated that he was not involved in the drafting of this version of the bill—or his namesake amendment—and that he will need to review the revised text before determining whether he will support it.
In a nod to moderates, The Hill reports, the new version of the AHCA includes $70 billion in funding to help sick people enrolled in ACA plans manage costs, and it adds $70 billion to the $112 billion already earmarked for premium reduction. However, the tax credits offered under the ACA to offset premium costs have been further reduced.
Continue reading about the new iteration of the AHCA, here.
#4: Sepsis Remains Significant Challenge for Hospitals: Public Health Watch Weekly Report
Recently, research findings, government action, and global public health initiatives have focused new attention on an age-old problem—sepsis, and its related complications.
Sepsis, a diagnosis that dates to ancient Greece, remains a significant public health challenge. A meta-analysis published last year suggests there may be as many as 30 million new cases annually, resulting in more than 6 million deaths worldwide (although the authors admit that these may, in fact, be underestimates, given that they were unable to obtain data from poorer countries, where the vast majority of the world’s population lives). Here in the United States, septicemia is still one of the most common diagnoses which result in hospital stays. Data collected for the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), and posted in June 2017, indicates that hospital stays related to septicemia increased from 518,000 in 2005 to 1.514 million in 2014 (accounting for 4.3% of hospital stays)—an increase of 192.3%
Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.
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