What Can US Policymakers Learn About Essential Health Benefits From Israel?

Health Affairs Blog, 23 March 2017
Authors: Rachel Nisanhotz, David Chinitz, Sara Rosenbaum
“US policymakers confronting these complex questions could benefit from a close look at how other health systems approach them. In particular, it may surprise readers to know that Israel has a system very much in line with many US policymakers’ goals of fostering a competitive private insurance market. The Israeli system rests on the concept of competing private health plans selling care in a market of empowered consumers. But one crucial difference is how Israel approaches the question of what it means to be covered.”
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Trump’s Promise To Rein In Drug Prices Could Open Floodgate To Importation Laws

KHN, 22 March 2017
Author: Rachel Bluth
“With prescription drug prices soaring, an old idea is gaining fresh traction: allowing Americans to buy medicines from foreign pharmacies at far lower prices. A new bill in Congress to allow the practice would modify previous safety standards and remove a barrier that proved insurmountable in past attempts to enable progress.”
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Punishing medical errors won’t improve hospital safety or quality

The Conversation, 16 March 2017
Authors: Joseph Ibrahim, John McNeil
“Australian public hospitals will soon be penalised for serious errors, with the aim of improving the quality and safety of health services. The punitive measure was a core proposal in the pricing framework for Australian public hospital services presented to the Health Council of COAG (Council of Australian Governments) in March 2017. Even where the event is a clear, avoidable error, there is little if any evidence their frequency reflects the overall quality of care provided by a hospital. IPHA’s recommendations are drawn from opinion rather than empirical evidence.”
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Banning unvaccinated kids from child care may have unforeseen consequences

The Conversation, 14 March 2017
Author: C Raina MacIntyre
“The federal government’s push for all state and territories to ban unvaccinated children from child care is a coercive measure that may disadvantage working parents and their children, and may have other unintended consequences. The much discussed “No Jab No Pay” policy makes vaccination a condition for receiving certain government benefits and subsidies. But there is no evidence that banning unvaccinated children from child care will be any better than excluding them temporarily during an outbreak, which already occurs.”
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Calls for ibuprofen sale restrictions after study finds cardiac arrest risk

The Guardian, 15 March 2017
Author: Matthew Weaver
“There have been fresh calls for restrictions on the sale of the painkiller ibuprofen after another study found it heightens the risk of cardiac arrest. Taking the over-the-counter drug was associated with a 31% increased risk, researchers in Denmark found. Diclofenac, available over the counter in the UK until 2015 and still taken on prescription, raised the risk by 50%.”
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How Will People Who Are Already Sick Be Treated Under A New Health Law?

NPR, 13 March 2017
Author: Julie Rovner
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it illegal for insurers to deny or charge people more money because of a history of illness. That’s a pretty big deal because an estimated 52 million American adults have such conditions – ranging from serious ailments like diabetes and HIV to more minor maladies like acne or seasonal allergies. Before the ACA, people with these conditions were often denied insurance. If they were offered insurance, it could cost more or didn’t include coverage of their condition.”
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Response to ‘A matter of life and death: controversy at the interface between clinical and legal decision-making in prolonged disorders of consciousness’

BMJ Blogs, 3 March 2017
Author: Julian Sheather
“The law has to work in generalities. The prohibitions it imposes and the liberties it describes are set for all of us, or for large classes of us. But we live – like we sicken and die – as individuals. Lynne Turner-Stokes gives a vivid account of an area of clinical practice where these truisms come into conflict. Practice Direction 9E (PD9E) doesn’t sound like much, a piece of dry-as-dust procedure for the Court of Protection, but it governs an area of keen moral concern: for our purposes, decisions relating to the withdrawing or withholding of clinically-assisted nutrition and hydration (CANH) from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) or a minimally conscious state (MCS). According to PD9E, all such decisions should be bought before the Court of Protection.”
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