Managed Care e-News
May. 13, 2014

Does health insurance increase your lifespan?
USA Today
The mortality rate in Massachusetts declined substantially in the four years after the state enacted a law in 2006 mandating universal healthcare coverage, providing the model for the Affordable Care Act. In a study released, Harvard School of Public Health professors Benjamin Sommers, Sharon Long and Katherine Baicker conclude that "health reform in Massachusetts was associated with a significant decrease in all-cause mortality."More

The health insurance trap
Forbes
Healthcare costs are too damn high — and they're only getting worse. Recently, researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth released a report estimating that healthcare costs will continue to grow faster than the economy for at least the next two decades. This is a tremendous burden on average Americans, who already spend nearly a fifth of their average annual pre-tax income on healthcare.More

Is overprescribing really to blame for antibiotic resistance?
By Lauren Swan
The World Health Organization recently released a report regarding antimicrobial resistance and how it's being found in every part of the world. According to the WHO, the cause of this resistance is overuse and abuse of antibiotic medications, posing a potential threat for civilization as more diseases become drug resistant. However, antibiotics are only available with a prescription, and it's no secret they have become harder to receive in the past 10 years due to possibilities such as this. Yet more drug-resistant diseases have been popping up — whooping cough, gonorrhea and TB, just to name a few. Is overprescribing really at fault? Or are there other factors to consider? More

US FDA approves 'Star Wars' robotic arm for amputees
Reuters via Fox News
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a robotic arm for amputees that is named for the "Star Wars" character Luke Skywalker and can perform multiple, simultaneous movements, a huge advance over the metal hook currently in use. The FDA said it allowed the sale of the DEKA Arm System after reviewing data, including a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs study in which 90 percent of people who used the device were able to perform complex tasks. More

Looking to share your expertise?
MultiBriefs
In an effort to enhance the overall content of NAMCP Managed Care e-News, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of NAMCP, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit. Our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics. More

FDA approves Zontivity, Merck heart attack prevention drug, for high-risk patients
Medical Daily
The Food and Drug Administration has announced its approval for the Merck heart attack and stroke prevention drug, Zontivity, for high-risk patients who have never suffered from a number of prior conditions. Zontivity (vorapaxar) tablets are the first in a new class of drug known as protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) antagonists. More

The genes responsible for deadly prostate cancer discovered
TIME
Treating prostate cancer has always been trickier than most patients anticipate. Unlike other cancers, most prostate tumors are slow-growing and emerge late in life, so the majority of men affected are more likely to die of other causes than their cancer. For up to 15 percent of cases, however, the disease can be fast-moving and life-threatening, and because doctors don't have good ways of separating these aggressive cases from the less dangerous ones, many physicians and patients prefer to err on the side of over-treatment. More

Singular gene could increase brain power and fight off dementia
The Huffington Post
The key to fighting off aging and cognitive decline doesn't necessarily come in a pill or a bottle. Instead, researchers say, the key may be a longevity gene that could fight off those "senior moments" and more serious diseases like dementia. A study funded partly by the National Institutes of Health says the KLOTHO gene is responsible for improved thinking, learning and memory processes. More

RNA carried by new nanoparticles can silence genes in many organs, could be deployed to treat cancer
Phys.org
RNA interference, a technique that can turn off specific genes inside living cells, holds great potential for treating many diseases caused by malfunctioning genes. However, it has been difficult for scientists to find safe and effective ways to deliver gene-blocking RNA to the correct targets. More

Pregnant drivers at increased risk of accidents
Science World Report
Driving while pregnant could put some at an increased risk for serious traffic accidents. A recent study conducted by researchers from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto in Ontario shows that pregnant drivers are at a higher risk for fetal death and chronic disability.More

Seasonal allergies: Cough up the dough
By Denise A. Valenti
Spring has sprung, and that means so have seasonal allergies for many folks. An inappropriate immune response to a harmless substance, seasonal allergies generally create quality-of-life concerns without creating major illness. Treatments for seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis are varied. There are holistic, natural approaches that are available, but most allergy sufferers use antihistamines. The good news is that the cost of combating this annual foe is steadily declining with over-the-counter treatments. More

Alcohol deaths on the rise worldwide
CBS News
Approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide in 2012 were the result of alcohol consumption, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Additionally, 16 percent of people in the world who use alcohol could be categorized as binge drinkers. More

Does health insurance increase your lifespan?
USA Today
The mortality rate in Massachusetts declined substantially in the four years after the state enacted a law in 2006 mandating universal healthcare coverage, providing the model for the Affordable Care Act.More

FDA-approved device treats sleep apnea in a new way
PBS NewsHour
Loud snoring, sore throats, excessive drowsiness — all common signs of a disorder called sleep apnea that affects an estimated 18 million Americans.More

Medicaid expansion is the final battle in war over Obamacare
Los Angeles Times
The final battles of any war often are the bloodiest. They're waged by the last holdouts, dead-enders desperate to prove to themselves and their dwindling followers that their efforts were not in vain.More

Scientists identify 'high-priority' chemicals that may cause breast cancer
Medical News Today
An estimated 12.4 percent of women born in the U.S. today will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Past research has indicated that exposure to some chemicals may increase the risk of breast cancer. Now, a new study has identified 17 "high-priority" chemicals women should avoid in order to reduce such risk and demonstrates how their presence can be detected.More

Have cervical cancer rates been underestimated?
MedPage Today
The estimated rate of invasive cervical cancer increased by almost 60 percent after excluding women who had hysterectomies and were no longer at risk for the cancer, an analysis of a national database showed. The overall rate increased from 11.7 cases per 100,000 women to 18.6 after correcting for hysterectomy.More

Overcoming barriers to mental health and substance abuse care
Los Angeles Times
James Kennedy volunteers through his church to help young people struggling with drugs and alcohol, a cause he took up after losing his own son to addiction in 2010. He knows firsthand the challenges of getting treatment. "Every organization requires money, and most rehab facilities are very costly," he says. And without the ability to pay for treatment, he says, many people simply can't get the help they need.More

Congressmen introduce competing mental health bills
USA Today
In the weeks after the shootings in Newtown, Conn., many mental health advocates hoped that the tragedy would lead Congress to address problems in the country's fragmented mental health system. Nearly a year and a half later — and in spite of several additional shootings — Congress has yet to pass major mental health reforms.More