Managed Care e-News
Mar. 27, 2012

Insurers forge ahead, despite overhaul's uncertain future
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
The nation's big insurers are spending millions to carry out President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul even though there's a chance the wide-reaching law won't survive Supreme Court scrutiny. It will take at least several months and lots of resources for insurers to prepare to implement key elements of the law, which includes a controversial requirement that most Americans have health insurance by 2014.More

Administration uses health law powers to call out rate hikes
The Hill
The government has demanded insurers in nine states reduce or publicly justify their proposed rate hikes. The healthcare reform law allows the government to demand insurers justify "unreasonable" rate hikes of 10 percent or more. The law doesn't give federal regulators the authority to stop the increases, but it does force healthcare plans to publicly justify their actions.More

Rush University back in UnitedHealthcare network
Chicago Tribune
For the first time in nearly 12 years, patients insured by UnitedHealthcare of Illinois will have access to Rush University Medical Center and three other regional hospitals that belong to the Rush network. The multiyear agreement reunites the state's No. 2 insurer and Rush, Chicago's fourth-largest hospital, after the two parted ways in December 2000 over a dispute about reimbursement rates and other issues.More

House votes to abolish Medicare cost panel
A new Medicare cost-control panel that Republicans said would lead to rationing care for the elderly was voted down by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Republican-led House voted to abolish the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by President Barack Obama's healthcare law as a way to rein in soaring costs of the Medicare program.More

Lawmakers: Fake pharmacies price gouging on drugs
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Members of Congress investigating shortages of crucial drugs are targeting nearly two dozen fake pharmacies allegedly set up solely to buy and resell the drugs at huge markups. Two senators and one representative have sent letters to individuals believed to have obtained licenses to operate a pharmacy and a prescription drug wholesale business in a "shell game."More

FDA: Dissolvable tobacco better, but could lead to more users
The Associated Press via CBS News
A Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel says dissolvable tobacco products could reduce health risks compared with smoking cigarettes. But the agency also warned the products have the potential to increase the overall number of tobacco users.More

Studies find an aspirin a day can keep cancer at bay
Three new studies have added to growing scientific evidence suggesting that taking a daily dose of aspirin can help prevent, and possibly treat, cancer. Previous studies have found that daily aspirin reduces the long-term risk of death due to cancer, but until now the shorter-term effects have been less certain — as has the medicine's potential in patients already diagnosed with cancer.More

Black women more likely to die of breast cancer
More than 1,700 black women die of breast cancer every year in the United States because of racial disparities in cancer risks and access to care, suggests a new study. Researchers who calculated cancer death rates in 24 of the largest U.S. cities found in 13 of them, black women were significantly more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.More

Study: Colonoscopies often come with costly, unnecessary sedation
The Associated Press via CBS News
Dread getting a colonoscopy? You're not alone — which is why lots of people are sedated before the procedure. But a new study suggests too many people are getting extra, unnecessary sedation, racking up nearly $1 billion annually in healthcare costs. More

Study: New strain of whooping cough has global epidemic potential
MyHealthNewsDaily via Fox News
A new strain of whooping cough has increased its prevalence and is now dominating Australia's four-year-long epidemic of the respiratory infection, a new study says. The strain has also been found in other countries, indicating it has the potential to spark epidemics elsewhere, too, the researchers say.More

Gene flaw linked to serious flu risk
BBC News
Scientists have identified a genetic flaw that may explain why some people get more ill with flu than others. Researchers said the variant of the IFITM3 gene was much more common in people hospitalized for flu than in the general population. It controls a malformed protein, which makes cells more susceptible to viral infection.More

New autism research identifies gene abnormalities
A study of child autism by the University of California, San Diego researchers has helped identify genetic abnormalities in a specific part of the brain. Researchers found that the abnormalities appeared in the prefrontal cortex, a portion of the brain that is key to complex thoughts and behaviors. More

Breathing smog in pregnancy linked to child's behavior problems
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Women exposed to higher levels of certain air pollutants while pregnant are more likely to have children with anxiety, depression and attention problems by ages 6 and 7, new research suggests. Researchers looked at pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, created by the burning of fossil fuels and common in urban environments.More

Little-known type of dementia strikes at behavior
Chicago Tribune
It's estimated about 250,000 Americans have frontotemporal dementia, believed to be the second leading cause of dementia for people in middle age. While the more well-known Alzheimer's Disease begins in the temporal lobe of the brain, FTD starts in the frontal lobe and robs younger patients of their ability to behave the way they used to, or even appropriately.More