The Weekly Insight: February 20
Texas Insight Reports
- Texas Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue: Part IV: This fourth and final part of the TI series on gun violence as a public health issue will offer a template for interventions grounded in the public health approach, long used to deal with violence, which is a major contributor of causes of death, disease and disability. The model is wholly grounded in science and is applied to protect health and life amidst widespread gun access (in the US, a gun is in circulation for every resident), without challenging gun ownership rights of law abiding citizens. For the purposes of this posting, gun violence includes murder/homicide, suicide, assault, injury, robbery, domestic violence, and unintentional and accidental shooting.
- HHSC: Hospital Payment Advisory Committee: The Hospital Payment Advisory Committee met, in an informational session, to receive an update on the 1115 demonstration waiver. [HPAC is] a sub-committee of the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC), advises MCAC and HHS about hospital reimbursement methodologies for inpatient hospital prospective payment and on adjustments for disproportionate share hospitals.
- HHSC: Drug Utilization Review Board: The Drug Utilization Review Board gathered for its quarterly meeting. [The Board] develops and submits recommendations for the preferred drug list, suggests clinical prior authorizations on outpatient prescription drugs, recommends education interventions for Medicaid providers, and reviews drug usage across Medicaid programs.
Federal Healthcare Reports
- Nutrition labeling of Restaurant Menu and Vending Machine Items: This report discusses the role of nutrition labeling in obesity management and prevention; the research on the effectiveness of restaurant menu calorie labeling; FDA’s authority to regulate nutrition labeling; and the FDA’s final rules on restaurant menu and vending machine labeling. The report also identifies issues for Congress and flags stakeholders’ concerns regarding FDA’s final menu labeling rule.
- Austin has mandated paid sick leave for workers, but Texas lawmakers are already working to reverse it: State lawmakers are already saying they will overturn an Austin ordinance passed Friday that requires paid sick leave for private employees.
- How many doses of lethal injection drugs does Texas have? The Texas Department of Criminal Justice released information Thursday night on the state’s execution drug inventory. The department had stalled release of the records, which show that the expiration date of four doses was changed from January to November.
Federal Healthcare News
- Trump proposal boosts skimpy insurance plans, again undercutting Obamacare: The Trump administration is proposingto expand the availability of short-term health insurance plans that some deride as “junk insurance” — an effort that could give consumers cheaper coverage options but undermine Obamacare’s marketplaces and popular protections for pre-existing medical conditions.
- This Vaccine Can Prevent Cancer, But Many Teenagers Still Don’t Get It: Each year, about 31,000 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with a cancer caused by an infection from the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It’s the most common sexually transmitted virus and infection in the U.S. In women, HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer, which leads to about 4,000 deaths per year. In men, it can cause penile cancer. HPV also causes some cases of oral cancer, cancer of the anus and genital warts. The CDC says HPV vaccination can prevent many of these cancers, and urges pediatricians to recommend HPV vaccination for all their patients, beginning at age 11.
- New Health Secretary Faces First Test as Idaho Skirts Federal Law
- Alex M. Azar II, the health secretary, told Congress he would scrutinize Idaho’s plan to allow sale of insurance that does not comply with the Affordable Care Act.
- The Flu Vaccine is Working Better than Expected, C.D.C. Finds
- A preliminary analysis finds the vaccine 25 percent effective against this year’s dangerous H3N2 strain, and twice as effective in children
- GOP chairman: Congress should rethink CDC ban on gun violence research: Congress should reexamine a policy that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from studying gun violence as a public health issue, the GOP chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Thursday. Related: Trump health chief supports CDC research on gun violence: Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Thursday that he would allow his department to conduct research into the causes of gun violence, a major Democratic priority.
- 160 organizations tell HHS they oppose Medicaid work requirements: About 160 organizations are vocalizing their opposition to the administration’s recent decision to let states implement Medicaid work requirements, arguing the policy is “directly at odds” with the country’s efforts to fight the opioid crisis and improve re-entry from prisons.
- Business groups pressing for repeal of ObamaCare employer mandate: Business groups are pressing Congress to repeal ObamaCare’s employer mandate to offer health insurance to their workers, but getting Republicans to act on the issue will likely be an uphill battle.