From The Washington Post

Trump Administration Accuses Vermont Hospital of Forcing Nurse to Participate in Abortion

August 29, 2019

Federal health officials are accusing an academic medical center in Vermont of violating the civil rights of a Catholic nurse by calling on her to assist with an abortion against her beliefs.

The notice of violation, sent Wednesday to the University of Vermont Medical Center, is the latest example of the Trump administration’s focus on protecting “religious freedom” — a core value for antiabortion activists and other social conservatives who are key to the president’s political base.

Federal health officials are accusing an academic medical center in Vermont of violating the civil rights of a Catholic nurse by calling on her to assist with an abortion against her beliefs.

The notice of violation, sent Wednesday to the University of Vermont Medical Center, is the latest example of the Trump administration’s focus on protecting “religious freedom” — a core value for antiabortion activists and other social conservatives who are key to the president’s political base.

The action against the UVM medical center is the third enforcement action taken in the 1 1/2 years since the Department of Health and Human Services created a conscience and religious freedom division within its civil rights office. It is the first that deals specifically with a health-care worker’s objection to participating in an abortion….

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Newly Unsealed Exhibits in Opioid Case Reveal Inner Workings of the Drug Industry

July 23, 2019

Newly unsealed documents in a landmark lawsuit Tuesday in Cleveland show the pressure within drug companies to sell opioids in the face of numerous red flags during the height of the epidemic.

The release of the exhibits — sworn depositions of executives, internal corporate emails and experts’ reports — also reveals the ignored concerns of some employees about the huge volume of pain pills streaming across the nation.

Newly unsealed documents in a landmark lawsuit Tuesday in Cleveland show the pressure within drug companies to sell opioids in the face of numerous red flags during the height of the epidemic.

The release of the exhibits — sworn depositions of executives, internal corporate emails and experts’ reports — also reveals the ignored concerns of some employees about the huge volume of pain pills streaming across the nation.

In one exhibit, emails show that a Purdue Pharma executive received an order from a distributor for 115,200 oxycodone pills, which was nearly twice as large as that distributor’s average order over the previous three months. The order came in at 4:15 p.m., according to the emails sent in October 2009.

It was approved one minute later….

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‘There’s a Lot of Screaming Into the Void’: Toddler’s Parents Battle for Coverage of $2.1 Million Gene Therapy

July 10, 2019

When a $2.1 million gene therapy offering the chance of a cure for her daughter’s rare disease won government approval in May, Lauren Sullivan was struck by a sense of “dangerous hope.’’

But after UnitedHealthcare said it would not cover the treatment, Sullivan’s hope has given way to an anxious race against the calendar.

When a $2.1 million gene therapy offering the chance of a cure for her daughter’s rare disease won government approval in May, Lauren Sullivan was struck by a sense of “dangerous hope.’’

But after UnitedHealthcare said it would not cover the treatment, Sullivan’s hope has given way to an anxious race against the calendar.

The Food and Drug Administration said the new drug, which works by replacing the defective gene that causes Daryn’s spinal muscular atrophy with a good one, must be administered by age 2. Daryn’s second birthday arrives in early October.

With time running out, the family is caught in a battle over who gets treated with a cutting-edge drug that is also extraordinarily expensive.

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Would Medicare for All Mean Hospitals for None?

July 3, 2019

“If you go to every hospital in this country and you ask them one question, which is, ‘How would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills were paid at the Medicare rate?’ Every single hospital administrator said they would close. And the Medicare-for-all bill requires payments to stay at current Medicare rates. So to some extent, we’re supporting a bill that will have every hospital closing.”

“If you go to every hospital in this country and you ask them one question, which is, ‘How would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills were paid at the Medicare rate?’ Every single hospital administrator said they would close. And the Medicare-for-all bill requires payments to stay at current Medicare rates. So to some extent, we’re supporting a bill that will have every hospital closing.”

— Former congressman John Delaney, at a Democratic presidential candidate debate, Miami, June 26, 2019

In a crowded stage featuring many candidates who support Medicare-for-all, Delaney stood out with a doomsday prediction that it would force all hospitals to close.

Shifting the U.S. health-care industry to a single-payer system such as Medicare-for-all would be a huge endeavor, and it’s impossible to foresee every potential consequence. But we couldn’t find any expert or research study supporting the former Maryland congressman’s claim that Medicare-for-all would cause widespread hospital closures….

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Appellate Court Raises Potential New Threat to ACA

June 26, 2019

A federal appeals court on Wednesday questioned whether more than a dozen Democratic states and the U.S. House of Representatives have the right to appeal a lower-court decision that struck down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, throwing the law’s future into question.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which is scheduled to begin hearing oral arguments about the constitutionality of the law on July 9, said it needed more information as to whether the House and Democratic states had standing to intervene in the lawsuit and whether their interventions were timely. Some legal experts said the request did not bode well for the future of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday questioned whether more than a dozen Democratic states and the U.S. House of Representatives have the right to appeal a lower-court decision that struck down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, throwing the law’s future into question.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which is scheduled to begin hearing oral arguments about the constitutionality of the law on July 9, said it needed more information as to whether the House and Democratic states had standing to intervene in the lawsuit and whether their interventions were timely. Some legal experts said the request did not bode well for the future of President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

“More generally, this order suggests that the Fifth Circuit panel may be hostile to the ACA and inclined to support the red states,” Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, wrote on Twitter. “The odds that the Fifth Circuit does something nasty to the health-reform law have gone up….”

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