Managed Care e-News
Jul. 31, 2012

Study: Medicaid expansion may lower death rates
The New York Times
Into the maelstrom of debate over whether Medicaid should cover more people comes a new study by Harvard researchers who found that when states expanded their Medicaid programs and gave more poor people health insurance, fewer people died. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, comes as states are deciding whether to expand Medicaid by 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration's healthcare law.More

Olympians face unique health insurance options
Kaiser Health News
You might not have the physique of an Olympic athlete, but you could have health insurance like one. That's the point of a series of ads this year from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the official supplier of health insurance for Team USA. Highmark's "PPO Blue" plan covers about 1.4 million Americans. Among them are about 1,000 elite athletes who, along with more than 360 U.S. Olympic Committee employees, get coverage through the Elite Athlete Health Insurance program.More

Doctor shortage likely to worsen with health law
The New York Times
Coverage under the new healthcare law will not necessarily translate into care: Local California health experts doubt there will be enough doctors to meet the area's needs. Other places around the country, including the Mississippi Delta, Detroit and suburban Phoenix, face similar problems. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that in 2015 the country will have 62,900 fewer doctors than needed. And that number will more than double by 2025, as the expansion of insurance coverage and the aging of baby boomers drive up demand for care. Even without the healthcare law, the shortfall of doctors in 2025 would still exceed 100,000.More

Employers to emulate Medicare by buying quality care
American Medical News
Employers and labor organizations will follow Medicare's lead in paying physicians and hospitals based on the value of their care, agreeing to purchase health plans for workers that reward health professionals for care quality and efficiency.More

FDA panel backs new use for Genentech eye drug
The Associated Press via CBS News
Roche's Genentech unit said a panel of federal medical advisers recommended approving its drug Lucentis for a new use in treating patients with a diabetes-related eye condition. More

Is the FDA to blame for drug shortages?
According to the Food and Drug Administration, the number of drug shortages has increased nearly 300 percent since 2005. More than half of the drugs on the shortage list are considered critical — meaning they have no alternative. The drugs most often in short supply include anesthetics and oncological drugs. How did it get to this point? In a recent report, the U.S. House Oversight Committee claimed the FDA is partly to blame for the shortage situation.More

2 more men with HIV cured with bone marrow — Is this a cure?
NBC News
Two men unlucky enough to get both HIV and cancer have been seemingly cleared of the virus, raising hope that science may yet find a way to cure for the infection that causes AIDS, 30 years into the epidemic. The researchers are cautious in declaring the two men cured, but more than two years after receiving bone marrow transplants, HIV can't be detected anywhere in their bodies.More

Men diagnosed with prostate cancer less likely to die from the disease
Medical Daily
Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to die from a preventable disease like heart disease rather than the cancer itself, a new study from Harvard says. In the present study, researchers analyzed the cause of death of more than 490,000 men from the United States diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 210,000 men from Sweden who had the cancer.More

People with darker skin still at risk for melanoma
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Skin cancer is more common among white people, but people with darker skin are also at risk, a dermatology expert cautions. While the skin pigment melanin does offer people with dark skin some natural protection against harmful ultraviolet rays and sunburns, this protection is not perfect and too much sun exposure over a lifetime can lead to a high risk for skin cancer, researchers said.More

For women, 2 apples a day keep cardiologist away
United Press International
Researchers found post-menopausal women — a group at high risk of heart attack and stroke — who ate two apples a day had 25 percent lower cholesterol. A team of researchers at Florida State University said the study involved 160 women who had been through the menopause. Half ate 75 grams a day of dried apple — the equivalent of two medium-sized fresh apples — and the other half were told to eat the same quantity of prunes.More

18 a critical age in HIV care
MedPage Today
Once they turned age 18 and had to transition from pediatric to adult care, some HIV-infected adolescents abandoned treatment altogether, researchers found. Among 120 patients at 13 clinics, 10 percent were lost to follow-up after their 18th birthday, researchers reported.More

Could gene doping be part of future Olympics?
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report
Despite all the training, sweat, dedication and sacrifice that goes into becoming an Olympic competitor, these elite athletes also tend to have an advantage that average sports lovers lack: superior DNA. Just like eye color or a keen intellect, a constellation of the "right" genes can grace certain athletes with world-class speed, strength and endurance.More

New vaccines hitchhike on DNA
Laboratory Equipment
In a quest to make safer and more effective vaccines, scientists have turned to a promising field called DNA nanotechnology to make an entirely new class of synthetic vaccines. In a study published in the journal Nano Letters, researchers develop the first vaccine complex that could be delivered safely and effectively by piggybacking onto self-assembled, three-dimensional DNA nanostructures. More

Family history tops Parkinson's disease risk factors
Family Practice News
A family member with Parkinson's disease confers the strongest risk for developing the disease, according to findings from the largest and most comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of Parkinson's disease risk factors suitable for screening in primary care. More