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Highlights: N.Y.'s $8B Medicaid waiver; Conn. Medicaid application delays settlement; managed care overpayment in Washington state

Highlights: N.Y.'s $8B Medicaid waiver; Conn. Medicaid application delays settlement; managed care overpayment in Washington state

New York and federal officials report final agreement allowing the state to reinvest $8 billion in Medicaid savings to support hospital overhauls and expand primary medical care over the next five years. The goal of the Medicaid waiver is to reduce avoidable hospital use by 25 percent while helping financially struggling hospitals shift to more primary and outpatient care (4/14). [More]
Viewpoints: Obamacare dilemma -- some people dislike the law but embrace its provisions; are health costs falling?

Viewpoints: Obamacare dilemma -- some people dislike the law but embrace its provisions; are health costs falling?

Polls have consistently shown that even though the public opposes Obamacare, people like some of its most significant provisions. That's particularly true of the requirement that insurers ignore preexisting conditions when signing up customers for coverage. [More]

Wal-Mart exec who led health care expansion steps down

News emerged Monday in an internal staff memo that John Agwunobi would leave his post running the retailer's health and wellness division. [More]
Feminine girls, masculine boys more likely to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks

Feminine girls, masculine boys more likely to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks

Young people who conform most strongly to norms of masculinity and femininity-the most "feminine" girls and the most "masculine" boys-are significantly more likely than their peers to engage in behaviors that pose cancer risks, according to a new study led by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. [More]

CBO shrinks estimate of health law spending based on lower subsidy costs

Expanding health coverage under the health law will also slow premium growth, helping lower the total cost of the law, the nonpartisan office said. [More]

Burwell steps into hot seat

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the president's nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department, may have some goodwill, but she will still have to navigate plenty of challenges -- starting with her confirmation hearing. [More]

Two biomarkers could help predict ASD, other developmental delays in young children

Researchers, including a team from Children's National Health System, have identified head circumference and head tilting reflex as two reliable biomarkers in the identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children that are between 9 and 12 months of age. [More]
Pitt CVR and Sanofi Pasteur join forces to help assess effectiveness of dengue vaccine

Pitt CVR and Sanofi Pasteur join forces to help assess effectiveness of dengue vaccine

The University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research (CVR) and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, have entered a scientific collaboration to help assess the effectiveness of a dengue vaccine once introduced for immunization programs. [More]

Fallout continues around Medicare Advantage payment rates

The Obama administration's decision to reverse a proposed Medicare Advantage payment cut has been panned by insurance analysts and governors, among others. [More]

U.S. health care spending, usage rise

Americans' spending on medicines in 2013 rose 3.2 percent to nearly $330 billion, fueling speculation that a dip in overall health care spending may be over. [More]

Disparity in Medicare provider payments in Oregon, data show

Information gleaned from the federal government's Medicare data dump shows that Oregon providers and provider groups were paid $508 million in 2012. However, some providers made more than others. Meanwhile the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that arising from the data, Wisconsin Congressional members want physicians rated on quality of care. [More]

Detroit reaches agreement on pension and healthcare benefits with RDPFFA

The City of Detroit, working through federal bankruptcy mediators, has reached an agreement on pension and healthcare benefits with an association representing retired Detroit police and fire fighters – the first agreement with a major group of city retirees. [More]

Survey: Signing up for Obamacare no walk in the park

California enrollees said they had trouble getting through to call centers, calculating their income and gathering the required documentation, among other difficulties, according to a survey by the California HealthCare Foundation. Meanwhile, media outlets note that Tuesday is the last chance to sign up in California, while April 22 is the deadline in Minnesota. [More]
New blood test accurately detects presence of breast cancer and monitors response to treatment

New blood test accurately detects presence of breast cancer and monitors response to treatment

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators report they have designed a blood test that accurately detects the presence of advanced breast cancer and also holds promise for precisely monitoring response to cancer treatment. [More]

Henry Schein launches new iPad online ordering application to help veterinary practitioners

Henry Schein Animal Health, the leading companion animal health distributor in the United States, and the U.S. animal health business of Henry Schein, Inc., announced today that it has launched a new iPad® online ordering application to help veterinary practitioners manage their product purchases. [More]
Johnson & Johnson's sales increase 3.5% to $18.1 billion in first quarter 2014

Johnson & Johnson's sales increase 3.5% to $18.1 billion in first quarter 2014

Johnson & Johnson today announced sales of $18.1 billion for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 3.5% as compared to the first quarter of 2013. Operational results increased 5.3% and the negative impact of currency was 1.8%. Domestic sales increased 2.2%. International sales increased 4.5%, reflecting operational growth of 7.9% and a negative currency impact of 3.4%. [More]

First Edition: April 15, 2014

Today's headlines include reports about the Congressional Budget Office's latest estimate of the costs for expanding health insurance. [More]

Study of VA hospitals finds experienced nurses are most cost-effective

When it comes to the cost and quality of hospital care, nurse tenure and teamwork matters. Patients get the best care when they are treated in units that are staffed by nurses who have extensive experience in their current job, according to a study from researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing and Columbia Business School. [More]
Viewpoints: Sebelius withstood attacks, but wasn't 'warrior' for law; Burwell offers GOP chance to focus on law's problems

Viewpoints: Sebelius withstood attacks, but wasn't 'warrior' for law; Burwell offers GOP chance to focus on law's problems

Kathleen Sebelius was known for her patience and cool under savage attack by Republicans, who treated her as a stand-in for the health law. She sat through hearings calmly reciting talking points while they fumed and fulminated for their audience. But that turned out to be one of her biggest liabilities ... What the health law needed in its first years was a cheerful, populist warrior who could laugh at the truly ridiculous distortions and lies Republicans invented about it, and roar back with the truth. Instead, she came across as a mild technocrat. She never emerged from the defensive crouch she assumed after the law's calamitous debut (David Firestone, 4/11). [More]

CBO projects health law subsidies will cost less than previously expected

The new CBO projections find that the health law's expansion of health coverage will, from 2015–2024, cost $104 billion less than previously projected. [More]