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Health Care Archive

Congress Has Thin Legislative Record on Combating Disease Outbreaks

Although Congress has publicly fretted over the threat of infectious disease pandemics, there have been few legislative attempts in the last two decades to address such health emergencies, leaving lawmakers with a limited set of policy options as they try to contain the Ebola outbreak.

For Low-Income Children, Findings Reveal CHIP to Be a Vital Resource | Commentary

Between 1997 and 2012, uninsured rates among low-income children fell from 25 percent to 13 percent despite recession conditions that separated many families from employer-sponsored coverage and left them with fewer resources to purchase coverage on their own. Our findings attribute this persistent decline to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, whose coverage rates among children increased from 41 percent to 63 percent over the same 15-year period.

Preparedness Issues Linger as Ebola Worries Intensify | Commentary

With each passing day, unfortunately, comes more and more uncomfortable, gloomy, even downright terrifying news about Ebola, which the Boston Globe recent exclaimed in a headline as “the next great American panic.”

It's Time for Congress to Make Integrated Care Central to the Nation's Patient Experience | Commentary

The primary objective of our health care system is to ensure that quality health care is readily accessible for patients. However, as health care becomes increasingly entangled in a web of networks, insurers, and providers, the patient’s best interest can get lost.

Medicare Needs to Step Up, Ensure Patient Access to Home Dialysis Treatment | Commentary

As people whose lives have been touched by kidney disease, we are committed to making sure kidney patients have the chance to live a normal life on dialysis, something we believe wholeheartedly is made possible through home hemodialysis. With the support of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, we have made some good progress — but there is more work to be done.

There Is Bipartisan Opposition to CMS Proposed Cuts to Radiation Therapy | Commentary

For those of us who have never personally been affected by cancer, it can seem a surreal and distant concept; something that happens only to someone else’s family. Until it reaches into your own life, cancer is just a word — though one seemingly laden with emotion. It is a struggle we watch from afar, a battle we don’t quite grasp. As we grow older, we start to understand the disease. As loved ones are diagnosed — young and old and without discrimination — we are forced to learn. Even among fear and sadness, we become deliverers of optimism because it is the only thing we can give to those in need.

New Insurance Exchanges Fail to Protect Colon Cancer Patients | Commentary

Colon cancer will claim more than 50,000 American lives this year. Affecting men and women almost equally, 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed at some point in their lives.

Ebola Crisis Creates Sense of Urgency to Restore NIH Funding Now | Commentary

The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. While this was anticipated and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, assure us it will not lead to an outbreak here, it is concerning. The Ebola virus has taken the lives of more than 3,000 people in West Africa and the death toll continues to mount, breaking apart families and raising fears throughout the world of a devastating epidemic. Despite attempts to contain the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now predicting between 550,000 and 1.4 million cases by early 2015. And that’s just in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Veterans' Needs Must Come First | Commentary

Oct. 1 marks an anniversary many of us prefer to forget — the start of the 16 day partial government shutdown of 2013. Among the disruptions caused by the shutdown, work stopped on more than 250,000 veterans’ disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries were scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were threatened. Had it continued a couple weeks longer, even veterans’ disability compensation checks might have stopped.

Time to Let the Sunshine In | Commentary

Starting September 30, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching hospitals every year.

Electronic Health Care Program Threatens More Efficient Setting of Care | Commentary

Recently at National Health IT Week, health care experts gathered to emphasize the importance of improving the quality of health care delivery and strengthening the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. For good reason, adoption of Electronic Health Records is largely lauded as a necessary, even overdue step to improve efficiency and ultimately the quality of patient care.

Zohydro ER Approval Still Under Debate in Congress

The powerful painkiller Zohydro ER has been a lightning rod in the prescription drug abuse debate. Amid a backdrop of steadily increasing opioid abuse rates, the Food and Drug Administration cleared Zohydro for the market last fall, against its advisory board’s recommendation. The drug is the first of its kind.

New DEA Rules Aim to Balance Risks, Benefits of Prescription Painkillers

Prescription painkillers have been objects of increasing concern in recent years, blamed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a national epidemic of drug abuse. But starting next month, it will be more difficult to access certain pain medicines — thanks to a rule being implemented by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

VA Settles With Three Phoenix Whistle-Blowers

The Department of Veterans Affairs has reached settlements with three individuals who worked at the agency's medical center in Phoenix and complained that they were subjected to retaliation for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing.

Hot Fads and Boring Facts About Obesity | Commentary

Recently, Rick Tolman, outgoing CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, made news in a CQ Roll Call article by saying high fructose corn syrup, like other sugars, is one contributor to the obesity epidemic. Tolman is right. Excess calories from all types of foods cause obesity, including added sugars such as HFCS.

Veterans Benefit From Land and Water Conservation Fund | Commentary

A few months ago, a 14-year veteran of the U.S. Army hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail to bring attention to the needs of fellow veterans re-entering civilian life. Having served seven tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris Davis told a reporter that getting outdoors resonates with veterans. “We walk a lot in the military and a veteran sitting at home can identify with someone throwing a backpack on and walking for 2,000 miles.”

Congress Must Ensure FDA Does Not Undermine the Affordable Care Act | Commentary

Thirty years ago, Congress passed the Hatch-Waxman Act with bipartisan support. This legislation greatly expanded access to prescription drugs in America by accelerating the review process for generic drugs, thereby significantly lowering the cost to consumers, many of whom who are seniors and low- to moderate-income families. Since its passage, generic drugs now constitute approximately 84 percent of prescriptions in the United States.

The Urgent Need for New Antibiotics | Commentary

This week in a hearing titled “Examining Ways to Combat Antibiotic Resistance and Foster New Drug Development,” the House Energy and Commerce Committee will take a deep dive into the number one public health threat facing the U.S.

Congress Should Call for Seafood Traceability | Commentary

Tilapia disguised as red snapper. Escolar sold as white tuna. Farmed salmon labeled as wild, caught from Alaska. These are all real cases of seafood mislabeling that have been found in the United States, and this type of fraud may be more common than you think.

Stepping Up for Children's Health Care | Commentary

Electoral politics will soon take over in Washington. Before the midterm elections completely dominate news cycles and lawmakers’ time, Congress should ensure full funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, without which millions of children risk losing vital health coverage.

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