From The New York Times

Obamacare Markets Will Not Reopen, Trump Decides

April 1, 2020

The Trump administration has decided against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplaces to new customers, despite broad layoffs and growing fears that people will be uninsured during the coronavirus outbreak.

The option to reopen markets, in what is known as a special enrollment period, would have made it easier for people who have recently lost jobs or who had already been uninsured to obtain health insurance. The administration has established such special enrollment periods in the past, typically in the wake of natural disasters.

The Trump administration has decided against reopening the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.gov marketplaces to new customers, despite broad layoffs and growing fears that people will be uninsured during the coronavirus outbreak.

The option to reopen markets, in what is known as a special enrollment period, would have made it easier for people who have recently lost jobs or who had already been uninsured to obtain health insurance. The administration has established such special enrollment periods in the past, typically in the wake of natural disasters.

The administration had been considering the action for several weeks, and President Trump mentioned such conversations in a recent news briefing. But according to a White House official, those discussions are now over. The news of the decision was previously reported by Politico….

Read the full The New York Times article

A Promising Treatment for Coronavirus Fails

March 18, 2020

Antiviral drugs that had held promise as a potential treatment for the coronavirus did not work in one of the first major studies in seriously ill patients, researchers from China reported on Wednesday.

“No benefit was observed,” the researchers wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study tested Kaletra, a combination of two antiviral medicines, lopinavir and ritonavir, that are normally used to treat H.I.V.

Antiviral drugs that had held promise as a potential treatment for the coronavirus did not work in one of the first major studies in seriously ill patients, researchers from China reported on Wednesday.

“No benefit was observed,” the researchers wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study tested Kaletra, a combination of two antiviral medicines, lopinavir and ritonavir, that are normally used to treat H.I.V.

There is no proven drug treatment for the new coronavirus, and doctors around the world have been desperately testing an array of medicines in hopes of finding something that will help patients, especially those who are severely ill. Several antiviral drugs have been considered possible treatments, though so far none has proved effective….

Read the full The New York Times article

How U.S. Hospitals Are Preparing for the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 11, 2020

As new coronavirus infections accumulate across America, hospitals want to make sure they have everything they need to keep staff safe.

In China, where the virus was first discovered, protecting health care workers was a serious challenge. More than 3,300 nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members across the country were infected, many because of insufficient protective equipment.

As new coronavirus infections accumulate across America, hospitals want to make sure they have everything they need to keep staff safe.

In China, where the virus was first discovered, protecting health care workers was a serious challenge. More than 3,300 nurses, doctors and other hospital staff members across the country were infected, many because of insufficient protective equipment.

In the United States, some hospitals are already struggling with limited supplies, as health officials figure out the best way to protect workers. More than 1,000 cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, have been reported across America so far, with the largest outbreak in Washington State….

Read the full The New York Times article

House Passes $8.3 Billion Emergency Coronavirus Response Bill

March 4, 2020

Racing to confront a growing public health threat, the House resoundingly approved $8.3 billion in emergency aid on Wednesday to combat the novel coronavirus, hours after congressional leaders reached a deal on the funding.

The bipartisan package, which includes nearly $7.8 billion for agencies dealing with the virus and came together after days of intensive negotiations, is substantially larger than what the White House proposed in late February. It also authorizes roughly $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer telehealth services so that more elderly patients, who are at greater risk from the virus, can receive care at home.

Racing to confront a growing public health threat, the House resoundingly approved $8.3 billion in emergency aid on Wednesday to combat the novel coronavirus, hours after congressional leaders reached a deal on the funding.

The bipartisan package, which includes nearly $7.8 billion for agencies dealing with the virus and came together after days of intensive negotiations, is substantially larger than what the White House proposed in late February. It also authorizes roughly $500 million to allow Medicare providers to administer telehealth services so that more elderly patients, who are at greater risk from the virus, can receive care at home.

“Congress is acting with the seriousness and sense of urgency the coronavirus threat demands,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, who introduced the legislation Wednesday afternoon. “Strong funding in this legislation is a critical first step to enable a strategic, coordinated and whole-of-government response to the coronavirus….”

Read the full The New York Times article

Major Insurers Pledge $55 Million to Try to Lower Generic Drug Prices

January 23, 2020

A major group of insurers said it would invest $55 million to create cheaper versions of expensive generic drugs for which there is little competition, in a further sign of dissatisfaction with the pharmaceutical industry’s price-setting practices.

The decision by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations, which insure about 40 million people, is part of a partnership agreement with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems around the country.

A major group of insurers said it would invest $55 million to create cheaper versions of expensive generic drugs for which there is little competition, in a further sign of dissatisfaction with the pharmaceutical industry’s price-setting practices.

The decision by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations, which insure about 40 million people, is part of a partnership agreement with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems around the country.

Frustrated with high drug prices, especially on essential medicines like insulin, state and federal lawmakers have signaled interest in manufacturing generic medications to try to lower costs for millions of Americans. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California recently floated a similar proposal, in which the state would contract with outside manufacturers to sell generic drugs under the state’s own label. And Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat seeking her party’s presidential nomination, has advanced a similar proposal….

Read the full The New York Times article