Rural health care facilities are suffering. They’re closing amid depopulation, where the young leave for college and never return. Left in the community are those with less education and those who have aged out of the workforce. There are also fewer people with private health insurance and more on Medicare or Medicaid. Government health care programs pay less than private insurance and the fees paid by Medicare are often much lower than urban hospitals receive.
Stat News ran an article on hospital parking. It’s like adding insult to injury. In addition to patient care, hospitals are also in the business of making money off parking lots. People have no other option than to park their cars in hospital-owned lots when visiting a hospital or the medical office buildings nearby. There is even a Reddit group complaining about hospital parking fees. According to Stat News:
- Blue Cross say its reforms would save $767B over 10 years. Chief among them: pay the same price for medical care, regardless of where it is delivered. That means a facility can’t bill a higher rate to Medicare, just because it has a link to a hospital.
- To save a child from a rare disease, a one-time injection costs $1.7 million. (NYT) I don’t have a problem with the cost. But who is going to pay for it?
- Should doctors bill for answering patients’ emails? (NYT) I say, yes. Other professionals bill by time. Why should doctors do the same?
- Ten myths About nutrition. Myth No 1: fresh is better than frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables. (NYT)
- 3 problems with Covid boosters: (1) the virus is evolving much faster than the vaccines can be updated; (2) vaccines have hard-wired our immune systems to respond to the original Wuhan strain, so we churn out fewer antibodies that neutralize variants targeted by updated vaccines; (3) antibodies rapidly wane after a few months. (WSJ)
- Paragon study: In 2023, the federal government is expected to spend 6.2 percent of the economy (or more than $1.6 trillion) on mandatory health programs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that within 30 years, the federal government will annually spend at least 9 percent of the economy on those programs. And this is a conservative estimate.
- A little-noticed provision of the omnibus spending bill could give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the power to ban off-label use of approved therapies, even though 1 in 5 prescriptions written are for an off-label use.
- Study: Laughter really is contagious – and that’s good. (WaPo)
- Diversity training not only doesn’t work, it may actually backfire. So why are we spending $3.4B a year on it? (NYT)
- Fourth Quarter lobbying: almost $7 million by the American Hospital Association and $6.6 million by PhRMA. As Milton Friedman said, the question is not why we get so many bad laws; the question is, why aren’t things worse?
- Amazon will sell generic drugs for as little as $5 a month. But, no Medicare or Medicaid or private insurance.
- 25 of the 37 novel drugs approved in 2022, were first approved in the US.