Wacom has a new Cintiq pen display, and if you’ve wanted a sizable art and design tablet-screen before but couldn’t quite stomach the price, the Cintiq 22 might be the one. Larger sibling to the Cintiq 16, the new model has a 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS display that works with Wacom’s Pro Pen 2. Story TimelineWacom Cintiq Pro update will add massive 24″ and 32″ 4K screensWacom Cintiq Pro 24 gets slot-in Win 10 ‘Engine’ moduleWacom Cintiq 16 is a pen display for the rest of us With that, you get 8,192 levels of pressure recognition, both for the tip of the Pro Pen 2 and its eraser at the opposite end. The stylus is battery-free and cordless, has two side buttons for shortcuts, and the Cintiq 22 can recognize up to 60-degrees of pen tilt. The larger body of the Cintiq 22 over the existing Cintiq 16 means Wacom could fit in more ports, too. The smaller pen display uses a 3-in-1 cable port, combining video and power into a single connection. Tidy, yes, but not so great if you lose or break the cable, or just want a second one.The Cintiq 22, however, has room for separate HDMI and USB-A ports. There’s also an AC adapter thrown in, and Wacom includes an adjustable stand and a detachable pen holder with three replacement nibs. Options include Wacom’s Pro Pen slim and Pro Pen 3D styli, and the Wacom ExpressKey Remote. AdChoices广告If there’s a downside, it’s the resolution. Both the Cintiq 16 and the new Cintiq 22 run at 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution, which means anybody hoping for more pixels along with their bigger panel will be disappointed. That’s not to say the larger screen isn’t better in other ways, mind: at 22 ms, it has a faster response time than the 16-inch model, and the viewing angles are slightly improved. The display has a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and 210 cd/m2 of brightness. The stand can tilt between 16- and 82-degrees, unlike the 19-degree fold-out legs on the smaller model. Wacom clearly isn’t expecting Cintiq 22 owners to be moving their pen display around much, however: at over 12 pounds it’s about three times as heavy as the Cintiq 16, and there won’t be an official carrying case offered. Those artists and designers who want 4K resolution and an optically-bonded display will still want to look to the Wacom Cintiq Pro line, but there’s a significant price difference between the ranges. The Wacom Cintiq 22 is shipping this month, priced at $1,199, whereas a similarly-sized Cintiq Pro 24 Touch clocks in at $2.5k.
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Des Moines Register: Congress Again Just Delayed Its Day Of Reckoning [T]he cost of federal entitlements — namely Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — will rise dramatically in future years. So, we will still need that “grand bargain” on higher tax revenues and entitlement spending cuts that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, came close to reaching last year (1/3). The New York Times’ Opinionator: Better, If Not Cheaper, Care While end-of-life care has improved considerably over the last 30 years, many Americans still die in hospitals when they would rather die at home. Nearly 20 percent of deaths occur in an intensive care unit or immediately after discharge, and too many patients experience symptoms like pain that are controllable with appropriate palliative care (Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel, 1/3). The New York Times’ Economix: The Complexities Of Comparing Medicare Choices A fundamental question that has engaged health-policy researchers and commentators for some time is whether coverage of Medicare’s standard benefit package under Medicare Advantage plans is cheaper or more expensive than it is under traditional fee-for-service Medicare. The answer is yes (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 1/4). The Medicare NewsGroup: Can Medicare Fraud Be Curbed? As Congress batted around higher eligibility ages and reduced Medicare spending last year, two topics that have not garnered much public discussion are fraud and overbilling. If Medicare is to clean up its fiscal act, it will need to be much more aggressive in these areas (John Wasik, 1/3).WBUR: Beating Obesity By Any Means Necessary Obesity remains a serious and costly epidemic. If the country is ever going to get its health care costs under control, these are the people government has to reach. We ban unsafe cribs and scrutinize toys for safety. Why not help children and their parents make better choices about food? (Ed Fouhy, 1/3). Minneapolis Star Tribune: We’ve Lost Our Balance On Mental IllnessI once knew someone, many years ago, who was sent to a “rest home” by her aggravated husband. Today, you and I would call that “involuntary commitment,” … It was a time when horrific places like Pennhurst were still operating, and anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia area knows what I’m talking about. Dante himself couldn’t have conjured up something as infernal as this “hospital” where the patients were chained to their beds and starved for days on end (Christine Flowers, 1/4). The Washington Post: Virginia’s Phony Concern Twenty clinics in Virginia performed slightly more than 25,000 first-trimester abortions in 2011. In carrying out that legal, safe and relatively simple procedure, there were very few reports of mishaps or complications. … Nonetheless, in that same year Republicans in Richmond enacted legislation requiring stringent and unnecessary rules that would reclassify abortion clinics as the regulatory equivalent of hospitals (1/3). Viewpoints: ‘Class War’ Over Medicare Funding; GOP Needs Courage To Cut Entitlements In Debt Fight CNN: Fiscal Cliff Deal Bad For Future Generations Failure to curb our deficits and reform unsustainable entitlement spending means passing greater debt burdens on to future generations. Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to reverse this trend and claim credit. … Sadly, the deal struck this week in Congress maintains the trend of $1 trillion deficits for at least another year while continuing to ensure that federal health care spending a generation from now will be untenable (Alex Brill, 1/4).The New York Times: Battles Of The Budget For the reality is that our two major political parties are engaged in a fierce struggle over the future shape of American society. Democrats want to preserve the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and add to them what every other advanced country has: a more or less universal guarantee of essential health care. Republicans want to roll all of that back, making room for drastically lower taxes on the wealthy. Yes, it’s essentially a class war (Paul Krugman, 1/3). Fortune Magazine: 2013: The Year We Became The Health Care Nation Medicare and Medicaid are the biggest element of our most serious national problem: crushing federal debt. … Without changes, health care alone will consume more of the federal budget than all discretionary spending does now — defense, law enforcement, courts, and all regulatory agencies. Every time we have to reconcile taxes and spending or approve a federal budget or raise the debt limit, we’ll face the inescapable need to cut Medicare’s and Medicaid’s growth. And every time an elected official whispers such a thing, large groups of citizens will scream (Geoff Colvin, 1/4).Los Angeles Times: More Cliffs To Come Obama insists he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling this time around, and Democrats seem to believe that they can extract more tax hikes in return for agreeing to curb spending on entitlements. This week’s deal, however, appears to have drained their leverage. … The compromise that McConnell worked out with Biden wasn’t a complete washout. … It avoided a steep cut in fees that could have driven many doctors out of the Medicare program while continuing a tax break that improves the work incentives for low-income families (1/3).The Washington Post: Making Future Cliffs Count [I]f the president and Republicans want to restrain entitlement growth, but neither wants to offer specifics, let them come together around a new aggregate annual cap on entitlement spending. If Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are together slated to grow by 6.7 percent a year for the next decade, enact a law saying they can only grow by, say, 5 percent … And an entitlement cap embraced by both sides could put fresh energy into bipartisan efforts to make the health-care system more efficient (Matt Miller, 1/3). The Wall Street Journal: The Debt-Ceiling Fight Will Be Dirty Throughout the fiscal-cliff negotiations, the Republicans kept thinking Mr. Obama would sign on to entitlement reform, giving both parties political cover. In this vain hope, the GOP shrunk from laying out its specific demands on Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. … The GOP must know by now that the president’s only goal is to water down any reform proposals. So their only chance of making a dent in the debt is to begin bold. Do House Republicans have the courage to lay out big demands (say, premium support for Medicare or block grants for Medicaid), send a bill to the Senate, and sell entitlement reform to the public? (Kimberley A. Strassel, 1/3). The Wall Street Journal: Boehner’s Second Chance During the Reagan years when the GOP held the Senate, John Dingell used the Energy and Commerce Committee to highlight executive branch sins (real and imagined), while Henry Waxman used every lever of power to expand entitlement benefits. Republicans should do a reverse Waxman, reforming the likes of Medicaid quietly and at the margin until they can do it wholesale (1/3).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign the legislation, which enables his administration to move forward on building the infrastructure necessary for the marketplace to begin enrolling people Oct. 1 — a tight deadline that officials said would require massive work to meet.The Associated Press: Major Insurance Overhaul Passes At Minnesota CapitolMore than 300,000 uninsured Minnesotans will have a route toward health coverage under a bill the state Senate passed Monday, the final legislative step toward implementing one of the major features of the new federal health-care law. The Senate approved the health insurance exchange bill on a party-line vote of 39-28. They sent the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton, who has vowed to sign it and whose administration already has been working for months on setting up the venture and hiring its employees ahead of a planned Oct. 1 enrollment [date] (Condon, 3/20).MPR News: Minnesota’s Health Insurance Exchange: What’s NextGov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign into law the contentious health insurance exchange bill that was approved by the House and Senate. The legislation enacts a new online marketplace where more than a million Minnesotans will obtain health insurance starting in October. But that’s only the beginning of the exchange story. Here’s a list of six next steps to watch for as the health exchanges take shape (Stawicki, 3/19).MinnPost: Minnesota Health Exchange A Step Nearer, But Massive Work And Tight Deadlines RemainMinnesota’s health insurance exchange is a major step closer on the long path to becoming a reality. The state-based exchange — the linchpin of federal health reform — is on its way to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature, following Senate approval Monday on the compromise bill. Major work remains, though, in designing the physical exchange and in working out rules and regulations (Nord, 3/19). Minnesota Authorizes Online Health Insurance Marketplace
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Study Finds Health Law Is Helping Protect Young Adults From High Bills The RAND Corp. research finds that the law’s provision allowing children up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health plans resulted in $147 million in hospital bills to be covered by insurance.Kaiser Health News/NPR: Study: Health Law Protected Young Adults From High Hospital BillsResearchers at the RAND Corporation set out to find some hard data on one aspect of the health law: Does having medical insurance protect young adults from the financial ruin that often comes with a major injury or illness? The quick answer: Yes, it does. … The RAND analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the new law resulted in $147 million in hospital bills charged to private insurance companies in 2011 (Varney, 5/29). CBS News: Young Adults Protected From Emergency Room Costs Under Affordable Care Act: StudyThe Affordable Care Act has provided financial protections for young adults facing medical emergencies, according to a new study. President Barack Obama signed the law in March 2010, and one of its provisions that kicked in that September allowed young adults between the ages of 19 and 25 to stay on their parents’ private health insurance plans. The extra coverage stops when they turn 26 years old (Jaslow, 5/29). NBC News: Insurers Pick Up $147 Million Tab For Young Adults Under ObamacareOne of the first provisions of the 2010 health reform law has had its intended effect: shifting costs from hospitals, taxpayers and families to health insurance companies, researchers reported on Thursday. It’s one of the most popular aspects of the law. It requires insurance companies to cover young adults, aged 19 to 26, on their parents’ policies if the families ask. These young adults are the most likely to “wing it” without insurance (Fox, 5/29).
In a Thursday White House speech, President Barack Obama stepped into his role as the overhaul’s campaigner-in-chief and talked about the millions of Americans who are already benefiting from insurance benefits. The New York Times: Speaking Out for Health Care Act, Obama Says Millions Will Get RebatesPresident Obama, slipping back into his episodic role as a vigorous campaigner for his new health care act, said Thursday that thanks to the law, more than 8.5 million Americans are getting rebates this summer from their insurance providers. Mr. Obama was joined by families who have benefited from a provision in the law, which requires health insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the revenue from premiums on medical care rather than on administrative costs (Landler, 7/18).Kaiser Health News: Obama Says Health Law Is Saving Consumers MoneyRatcheting up the campaign to sell the health law, President Barack Obama delivered a speech Thursday touting how millions of individuals are already benefiting from its insurance rebates, and others who buy coverage online in states such as California, New York and Oregon will pay lower-than-projected premiums next year because of increased competition (Galewitz and Appleby, 7/18). Kaiser Health News: Obama On Health Law: ‘Working The Way It’s Supposed To’ (Video) This video clip includes remarks by the president at the White House Thursday in which he touted lower-than-projected premiums that have been announced for health insurance marketplaces in several states (7/18). Los Angeles Times: Obama Touts Savings From Healthcare LawPresident Obama, facing a new Republican push to dismantle his healthcare law, redoubled his efforts to sell his signature achievement Thursday at a White House event with Americans who have benefited from the law. The president pledged to “blow through” GOP attacks on the law and continue working to implement it (Levey, 7/18).CNN: Obama Says Refund Checks Show Obamacare SuccessSurrounded by middle-class Americans, President Barack Obama touted the successes of his signature health care law on Thursday and the ways consumers are seeing tangible benefits. “Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar that you pay in premiums on your health care; not on overhead, not on profits, but on you,” the president said during an event Thursday in the White House East Room. The president highlighted a provision in the law called the medical loss ratio policy that forces health care providers to refund money to consumers like Chicago resident Dan Hart, a father of two who got a check in the mail for $136 (Lothian, 7/18). The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Touts Insurance Rebates Under Health Care Law, While GOP Vows To Keep Trying For RepealFacing public doubts and embarrassing setbacks to his signature health care law, President Barack Obama stepped forward Thursday to extol the program’s benefits, emphasizing that some Americans already are receiving insurance rebates and lower premiums. Obama said the program is working the way it was supposed to with “better benefits, stronger protections, more bang for your buck.” The assertion was ridiculed by Republicans, with House Speaker John Boehner calling the Affordable Care Act “a train wreck” that he will keep working to repeal (7/18).Fox News: Obama Touts Health Care Rebates, Pushing Back After House Votes To Delay MandatesPresident Obama touted a provision in his Affordable Care Act on Thursday that would require health insurance providers to return money to consumers, pushing back on Republican criticism a day after the GOP-led House voted to delay key parts of the law. The president’s signature health care overhaul — commonly referred to as ObamaCare — has come under fire by many Republicans who have worked to defeat, delay or gut major parts of it. At the White House event Thursday, Obama highlighted more of the financial benefits tied to it — specifically, a half billion dollars in rebates going to 9 million people under a provision of the law (7/18). NBC News: Obama Defends Health Care Law, Slams GOP For “Re-Fighting” Old BattlesMore than three years after signing a massive health care system reform into law, President Barack Obama on Thursday worked to sell the legislation’s benefits to an American public still largely skeptical about the overhaul. Highlighting nearly half a billion dollars in insurance rebates going back to consumers due to the law’s requirement that insurers spend 80 cents on the dollar towards medical care, Obama said the law is “doing what it’s designed to do” (Dann, 7/18). Politico: Barack Obama Defends Health Care law, ‘Glitches’ And AllObama said he was confident that, despite resistance, even hardened foes will come to like the law. There were plenty of opponents of Medicare and Social Security when those programs became law, “but once it got set up, people started saying ‘it’s a pretty good deal, it gives me more security,'” said the president (Epstein, 7/18).The Wall Street Journal: Obama Tries To Woo Health-Law SkepticsSpeaking from the White House, Mr. Obama said people across the country have gotten rebates from their health-insurance companies that they can use to pay other bills and support their families (Favole and Dooren, 7/18).Politico: The Fine Print Of Obama’s Health Care PitchPresident Barack Obama said Thursday that his health care law is already providing real savings and is working as planned — despite some expected glitches and unrelenting political opposition. He painted an optimistic picture of how Obamacare is putting money back into the pockets of consumers. … And all that political opposition? Just noise, Obama said. Of course, that picture isn’t complete. The massive health care overhaul comes with enough moving parts and political baggage to make it difficult to sort through what’s actually happening (Norman and Millman, 7/18).Reuters: Obama Steps In To Push Health Plan As Critical Date Draws NearFending off delays and a barrage of political criticism of his signature healthcare law, President Barack Obama on Thursday touted benefits Americans already are reaping from the law and vowed to work through setbacks to fully implement it (Felsenthal, 7/18).PBS NewsHour: Will Health Reform Law Make Premiums More Expensive Or More Affordable? (Video)President Barack Obama defended the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in a news conference, part of a broader effort to sell the law amid continuing criticism from Republicans. MIT’s Jonathan Gruber and Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute join Jeffrey Brown to debate the cost of coverage under the health reform law (7/18). ABC News: Obamacare Health Insurance Rebates: Who Gets A Check (Video)An estimated 8.5 million Americans will receive rebates from their health insurers this summer thanks to the Affordable Care Act, which says companies that fail to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care must refund the difference to consumers. President Obama today touted the benefit as part of his mid-summer push to educate Americans on the continued rollout of his health care law (Dwyer, 7/18). In A Major Pitch, Obama Says Health Law Is Benefiting Consumers This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
A selection of health policy stories from Oklahoma, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Delaware, Texas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Georgia and California.The Associated Press: Fallin Warns Of $60M Spike In Health Care Costs[Oklahoma] Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that state agency heads should be looking for ways to save money in next year’s budget, given reports of lackluster tax collections to Oklahoma’s general revenue fund and the more than $60 million increase in mandatory health care spending the state will bear next year (Murphy, 12, 2).The Associated Press: Bryant Wants To Give Hospitals Funds To Offset Health Care Reform[Mississippi] Gov. Phil Bryant is proposing the state give Mississippi hospitals $4.4 million to offset an expected loss of federal funds due to the Affordable Care Act. Under the federal health care law, over a period of years the reimbursement to hospitals for treating people with no health care coverage will be reduced (12/2).Bloomberg: Wisconsin Tries To Follow Texas In Reviving An Abortion LawOne month after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott won a U.S. appeals court ruling overriding a decision to block abortion restrictions in his state, Wisconsin’s top lawyer is aiming for a similar result. Both states have laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of their clinic (Harris, 12/3).The Associated Press/Washington Post: Delaware Mental Health Task Force Continues WorkA task force studying Delaware’s civil mental health laws is finishing up its work in advance of a Jan. 1 deadline for submitting a report with its full findings to the General Assembly and the governor. Among the issues that have been examined by the task force, which meets Tuesday, are immunity provisions regarding involuntary mental health commitments. The immunity provision were the subject of a task force report that was due earlier this year and which was followed with legislation signed by Gov. Jack Markell in March (12/3).The Texas Tribune: In Texas, Uncertainty After Health Plan Cancellation UproarMany Texans in individual health care plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act have been spared cancellation notices. But for the Texans whose plans have been dropped, health care experts are encouraging them to proceed carefully (Zaragovia, 12/3).The Texas Tribune: Despite Changes, Nurses Push For More IndependenceAs an advanced practice nurse specializing in family medicine, Holly Jeffreys operates the only medical clinics in two rural Texas Panhandle counties. The state requires that she have a contract with a physician to supervise both clinics, but she operates the facilities almost independently (Aaronson, 12/2).I-News/Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Delays To Implementing Mental Health Initiative ‘An Embarrassment’Susan Beckman wants you to know that “a lot of sloppy work” — and not a conspiracy — were behind the state’s botched job of finding someone to run a network of walk-in mental health crisis centers. Beckman heads the administrative branch of the Colorado Department of Human Services, the office responsible for the failed solicitation process. The department has been accused of colluding with local actors — that is, local providers of mental health services — to elbow out a newcomer, but Beckman says a slew of mistakes were just human error (Jones, 12/2).WBUR: Coming To Mass. Ballots? Nurse Staffing And Hospital ‘Claw Back’Two measures that the nurses’ union supports look like they’ve gathered enough signatures to move forward toward appearing on state ballots next year. One, titled The Patient Safety Act, would set a limit on how many patients a registered nurse can be assigned. The nurses’ association says the measures have both gathered more than 100,000 signatures. Secretary of State William Galvin tells us on his website that for the 2014 election, “the initiative petition must be signed by a minimum of 68,911 certified voters. No more than one-quarter of the certified signatures may come from any one county” (Goldberg, 12/2).Georgia Health News: Progress Being Made Against Costly ReadmissionsGeorgia’s nursing homes and hospitals are collaborating more than ever to reduce readmissions, say officials with Georgia’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO), a state-based group funded by Medicare to review medical care. A big driver in this change has been the readmission penalties that hospitals now face. These penalties were created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act (Miller, 12/2). California Healthline: Health Information Exchange Taking Root In Northern CaliforniaNorthern California health information organizations are helping lay the groundwork for the next steps in expanding health information exchange throughout the state. Their participation in pilot programs for secure messaging, rural health information exchange and personal health records puts Northern California communities in the forefront of the campaign to increase the use of health information technology. There are 16 community HIOs in California, half of which are operational. A new map shows health technology has reached 35 counties — more than half of California’s 58 counties (Edlin, 12/2). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. State Highlights: Okla. Gov. Looks For Cuts To Cover $60M More In Health Care Costs; Miss. Gov. Wants To Offer Hospitals Money To Offset Health Law
Questions Surround Future Of Some Troubled State Exchanges State insurance exchanges in Maryland, Oregon and Colorado are under the microscope and drawing criticism. Meanwhile, Republican state lawmakers in Tennessee and Texas propose legislation to undermine the health law in those states. And a cybersecurity official at the Department of Health and Human Services tells congressional investigators that testing of healthcare.gov, the federal online exchange, was inadequate.The Washington Post: Countdown Begins For Marylanders To Get Retroactive Private Health InsuranceMaryland health exchange workers are focusing the next few days on calling and emailing thousands of uninsured people to see if they need coverage for this month and to let them know they have until Tuesday at 5 p.m. to sign up for private health insurance that would be retroactive to Jan. 1. To qualify, Marylanders must prove that they tried unsuccessfully to get health insurance through the state’s marketplace before the new year began, and they must be willing to pay premiums for January and February before Feb. 15. For those that get in, the insurance will cover medical expenses incurred this year (Johnson, 1/15).The Washington Post: Maryland Senate Committee To Again Question State Official About Health Exchange ProblemsThe chairman of the Maryland Senate Finance Committee, after expressing frustration with not being informed of brewing problems with the state’s health exchange, has asked state officials to now provide updates on the status of the exchange every two weeks. Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-Charles) also asked Joshua M. Sharfstein, secretary of health and mental hygiene, to appear before the committee for a second time this month and again answer questions about what went wrong in the rollout of the state’s health exchange Web site. That briefing is expected early next week (Johnson, 1/15).Fox News: Problems In State Health Care Exchanges May Reflect Glitches In Federal SystemWith all the focus on the federal health care exchange, some of the problems in state exchanges have gotten less attention. But they may offer a glimpse of future problems in the federal system. Vicki Rapoport is the face of the breakdown in state exchanges — in her case, Maryland. “To me it’s very personal,” she says, “and it’s very frustrating because the system has failed me” (Angle, 1/16). The Denver Post: Audit Of Colorado’s Health-Care Exchange Proposal UnderwayA Republican lawmaker’s request to audit Colorado’s state health care exchange was viewed favorably Tuesday because an audit already is underway. Rep. Jared Wright of Fruita requested the audit late last year when reports surfaced that enrollments had fallen short of projections, there were problems with the website, and the CEO of Connect for Health Colorado asked for a raise and bonus. That request was later withdrawn (Bartels, 1/15).The Lund Report: Kitzhaber Hires Cover Oregon Examiner As Doubts Build On Fate Of ExchangeGov. John Kitzhaber told reporters Thursday that the state has hired an independent examiner to critically analyze the mistakes of contractor Oracle Corp and the state in rolling out Cover Oregon, while he and other Democratic officials have skirted discussion of whether the insurance exchange can survive its botched roll out. Kitzhaber said 170,000 Oregonians now have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act (Gray, 1/10).The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Lawmakers Praise Hard Work, Question Its FutureRep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, said Wednesday it may be “time to throw in the towel” on the state’s nonfunctioning healthcare exchange website. “This is the most incredible train wreck I’ve ever seen,” Conger said about Cover Oregon. “I don’t believe anymore that it’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month. Maybe it’s time to declare a loss and stop throwing good money after bad.” In response, Cover Oregon Interim Director Bruce Goldberg said only: “I share your frustration and embarrassment” (Budnick, 1/15). The Dallas Morning News: Democrats In Congress Oppose Texas’ Proposed Rules For Obamacare ‘Navigators’Texas Democrats in Congress slammed proposed state rules requiring extra training for Obamacare navigators Wednesday, and they’ve asked Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene. Navigators help consumers sign up for health insurance through online exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. Federal rules require navigators to have 20 to 30 hours of training. Rules proposed by the Texas Department of Insurance would add 40 more hours, require criminal background checks, and charge a fee of up to $800 for certification (Swartsell, 1/15). The Associated Press: Legislation Proposed By GOP Lawmakers Would Make Health Care Exchanges Illegal In Tenn.Health insurance exchanges established under President Barack Obama’s signature law would be illegal under legislation proposed Wednesday by Republicans aiming to prevent state agencies from carrying out the mandates of the health overhaul. Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet and Rep. Mark Pody of Lebanon held a news conference to announce the measure that seeks to prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal law (Johnson, 1/15).The Associated Press: Cybersecurity Chief Had Qualms Over Health WebsiteThe top cybersecurity officer for the Health and Human Services Department said he was concerned about potential vulnerabilities ahead of the launch of the Obama administration’s health care website. But Kevin Charest told congressional investigators he was unable to get answers to his questions from others inside the department. He concluded that the testing of the site was substandard (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/16). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Medicare will cover annual screenings for lung cancer for older Americans with long histories of heavy smoking, the federal government said Monday in a proposal that would cover an estimated four million people, many of whom are at greatest risk for the disease. (Taversnise, 11/11) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In addition, the program announces that it will cover lung cancer screening for a specific, high-risk population – The Wall Street Journal’s Total Return: Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage: More Comparative Data Needed The New York Times: Medicare Proposes Paying For Lung Cancer Screenings For Older Longtime Smokers With almost four weeks remaining in Medicare’s annual open-enrollment period, a new study that looks at the research available to compare traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans finds that consumers have little good evidence to make informed decisions. Medicare beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to change their insurance plans for the coming calendar year. Among the biggest decisions for any participant: choosing between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, which are operated by private companies, including health-maintenance organizations and preferred-provider organizations. About 30% of all beneficiaries are now enrolled in the latter. (Ruffenach, 11/10) Medical guidelines encourage doctors who treat pain to test their patients, to make sure they are neither abusing pills nor failing to take them, possibly to sell them. Now, some pain doctors are making more from testing than from treating. Spending on the tests took off after Medicare cracked down on what appeared to be abusive billing for simple urine tests. Some doctors moved on to high-tech testing methods, for which billing wasn’t limited. (Weaver and Mathews, 11/10) Pain Doctors Profit From Drug Tests On Seniors The Wall Street Journal reports that some Medicare doctors are making more from testing their patients for drug abuse than for treating them for pain. Another story looks at the need for better information to help seniors compare traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans to figure out which is best for them. The Wall Street Journal: Doctors Cash In On Drug Tests For Seniors, And Medicare Pays The Bill
The Wall Street Journal: Alkermes Shares Surge On Favorable Data For Depression Drug Alkermes PLC said its depression drug helped patients not responding to standard treatments, news that added more than $3 billion to the company’s market value in after-hours trading. The company said that in a late-stage trial, its ALKS 5461 treatment significantly improved depression scores in patients who had an inadequate response to standard therapies. The most commonly reported adverse events associated with the treatment were nausea, dizziness and fatigue. (Beckerman, 10/20) Gilead Presses For Exclusivity On HIV Drug After Judge’s Ruling That FDA Policy Is ‘Capricious’ Gilead wants the agency to retroactively grant it five years of exclusive marketing. Meanwhile, groups say the gaps in Food and Drug Administration’s biosimilar policies are creating untenable situations. Politico Pro: Groups Press FDA For Biosimilar Policy, Resources FDA must move faster to develop policies for cheaper versions of biologic medicines, and Congress should provide more resources to enable faster agency review, a broad array of health care groups told FDA. Gaps in FDA policy on biosimilars are creating challenging situations for states, providers and health insurers who must deal with already approved biosimilars, the agency was told at a Thursday meeting on a recently announced user fee agreement. The groups said the agency should finalize its guidance on key biosimilar policies — such as how to name and label treatments, and when biosimilars can be considered “interchangeable” with their brand counterparts — ahead of deadlines specified in that agreement. (Karlin-Smith, 10/20) Stat: Gilead Asks FDA To Expand Exclusivity For A Key HIV Drug In the latest development in a heated battle between Gilead Sciences and the US Food and Drug Administration, the company petitioned the agency this month to retroactively grant five years of exclusive marketing for an HIV medicine. And the drug maker argues that it otherwise faces lost sales and added expense from fending off a pending generic threat to its Stribild medication. The move follows a complicated legal battle in which Gilead challenged an FDA policy toward so-called fixed-dose combination drugs, which consist of two or more chemical entities. At stake are untold amounts of revenue as Gilead and other drug makers have battled the agency over its policy, which a federal judge recently ruled is “arbitrary and capricious.” (Silverman, 10/20) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. And in other pharmaceutical news —
Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Electrolyte specialist Tydrolyte has released an electrolyte intended to replace the sulfuric acid found in lead-acid batteries. It claims that the patent-pending electrolyte is well suited for start-stop batteries, offers lower hold currents and water losses and is less toxic than sulfuric acid.Start-stop batteries are used for engine starts at a rate 100x that of traditional batteries. They must also be able to handle AC compressor loads and higher charging levels. Tydrolyte’s research has shown that its electrolyte provides 12-19% lower DC charge resistances over the critical partial State of Charge (pSOC) range of 10-20% State of Discharge and 90-80% State of Charge for stop-start and micro-hybrid vehicles. Early testing suggests that the electrolyte may also improve round-trip efficiency as well.Several companies have subjected the electrolyte to the EN50342-1 test, the standard for automotive accelerated life testing. A battery using the electrolyte was continuously charged at 14.4 V in 60˚ C. It was found that the electrolyte reduced hold current by 24% with the figure improving as the battery aged. The battery also showed smaller water losses and may provide lower positive electrode corrosion. As a cherry on top, the electrolyte is expected to receive non-toxic classification by the US DOT and EPA, which would lower handling costs for manufacturers.“In spite of its historic success, many aspects of lead battery chemistry are not fully understood, and this provides a significant opportunity to further enhance the performance of world’s most popular rechargeable battery technology,” said Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) manager Dr. Boris Monahov. “We are delighted to welcome Tydrolyte into membership of the ALABC, and strongly support companies such as Tydrolyte in pursuing innovative new solutions to the challenge of improving lead battery performance. There is a bright future for the lead battery, but it is essential that the industry continues to drive innovation to meet future market requirements. We look forward to working with Tydrolyte in the future.” Source: Tydrolyte via Green Car Congress
Source: Charge Forward Jaguar’s first all-electric vehicle, the I-Pace, is slowly starting to make its way to some customers, and they are getting some real-world experience.Now, the I-Pace received its official EPA range of 234 miles as questions regarding efficiency and range are beginning to arise. more…The post Jaguar I-Pace gets official EPA range of 234 miles as questions about efficiency arise appeared first on Electrek.