From Bloomberg

House Plans Medicaid, Drug Price Reforms: Stimulus Update

February 9, 2021

Major changes to Medicaid are included in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s stimulus proposal. State and local governments will receive $350 billion in aid, according to a draft of a stimulus bill. House Democrats have budgeted for commodity purchases to help U.S. farms. President Joe Biden backed a proposal for quicker phase-outs of planned $1,400 stimulus checks. House and Senate Democrats are clashing on the design of expanded support for the unemployed, an early sign of the intra-party squabbling in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in the coming weeks.

The debate comes as the House continues to release elements of the bill. A dozen different House committees are working on the specific components of Biden’s plan and releasing their portions as they go along.

Major changes to Medicaid are included in the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s stimulus proposal. State and local governments will receive $350 billion in aid, according to a draft of a stimulus bill. House Democrats have budgeted for commodity purchases to help U.S. farms. President Joe Biden backed a proposal for quicker phase-outs of planned $1,400 stimulus checks. House and Senate Democrats are clashing on the design of expanded support for the unemployed, an early sign of the intra-party squabbling in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in the coming weeks.

The debate comes as the House continues to release elements of the bill. A dozen different House committees are working on the specific components of Biden’s plan and releasing their portions as they go along.

The House aims to vote on the full bill during the week of Feb. 22. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to secure congressional passage by the mid-March expiration of enhanced jobless benefits approved in the December aid package….

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Second U.S. Virus Wave Emerges as Cases Top 2 Million

June 10, 2020

A second wave of coronavirus cases is emerging in the U.S., raising alarms as new infections push the overall count past 2 million Americans.

  • Texas on Wednesday reported 2,504 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic emerged.
  • A month into its reopening, Florida this week reported 8,553 new cases — the most of any seven-day period.
  • California’s hospitalizations are at their highest since May 13 and have risen in nine of the past 10 days.

A second wave of coronavirus cases is emerging in the U.S., raising alarms as new infections push the overall count past 2 million Americans.

  • Texas on Wednesday reported 2,504 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic emerged.
  • A month into its reopening, Florida this week reported 8,553 new cases — the most of any seven-day period.
  • California’s hospitalizations are at their highest since May 13 and have risen in nine of the past 10 days.

 

A fresh onslaught of the novel coronavirus is bringing challenges for residents and the economy in pockets across the U.S. The localized surges have raised concerns among experts even as the nation’s overall case count early this week rose just under 1%, the smallest increase since March.

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Trump Taps Slaoui, Gen. Perna For ‘Warp Speed’ Vaccine Project

May 13, 2020

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Slaoui, 60, and Perna will oversee the initiative known as Operation Warp Speed, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement expected later Wednesday. Slaoui will work on a volunteer basis.

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star U.S. general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Slaoui, 60, and Perna will oversee the initiative known as Operation Warp Speed, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of an announcement expected later Wednesday. Slaoui will work on a volunteer basis.

The Trump administration project seeks to produce 300 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, hastening development by simultaneously testing many different candidates and beginning production before they’ve completed clinical trials….

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The Problem With the FDA’s Quick-Approval Process for Drugs

March 27, 2020

One in 10 babies in the U.S. is born premature, with elevated rates of disability and death. For almost a decade, a drug called Makena has been used to reduce the risk of further instances of early delivery for women who’ve previously given birth prematurely. The medicine, approved in 2011 under the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated process, contributed more than $300 million of annual sales for its manufacturer, Amag Pharmaceuticals Inc.

One in 10 babies in the U.S. is born premature, with elevated rates of disability and death. For almost a decade, a drug called Makena has been used to reduce the risk of further instances of early delivery for women who’ve previously given birth prematurely. The medicine, approved in 2011 under the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated process, contributed more than $300 million of annual sales for its manufacturer, Amag Pharmaceuticals Inc.

New research calling into question how well the drug works is now prompting the FDA to consider delisting Makena—a rare step for an approved treatment. For the women in a follow-up study required by the FDA, released last year, Makena did not decrease repeated preterm births. “To see these women and their families have to go through this experience multiple times is heartbreaking,” says Michal Elovitz, a physician and director of the Maternal and Child Health Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “They want to know why and why it didn’t work. And the only answer we have for them is we have to figure that out….”

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Walmart Takes on CVS and Amazon With Low-Price Clinics

February 26, 2020

The main drag of Calhoun, Ga., a town of about 16,000 an hour’s drive north of Atlanta, is dotted with pawnshops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints. Here, as in thousands of other communities across America, the local Walmart fulfills most everyday needs—groceries, car repairs, money transfers, even hair styling. But now visitors to the Calhoun Walmart can also get a $30 medical checkup or a $25 teeth cleaning, or talk about their anxieties with a counselor for $1 a minute.

The main drag of Calhoun, Ga., a town of about 16,000 an hour’s drive north of Atlanta, is dotted with pawnshops, liquor stores, and fast-food joints. Here, as in thousands of other communities across America, the local Walmart fulfills most everyday needs—groceries, car repairs, money transfers, even hair styling. But now visitors to the Calhoun Walmart can also get a $30 medical checkup or a $25 teeth cleaning, or talk about their anxieties with a counselor for $1 a minute.

Prices for those services and more are clearly listed on bright digital billboards in a cozy waiting room inside a new Walmart Health center. Walk-ins are welcome, but most appointments are booked online beforehand. No insurance? No problem. Need a lab test on a Sunday? Sure thing….

Read the full article from Bloomberg