BREAKING: Deal reached in NC to expand Medicaid and reform CoN
Plus: Eating McDonald's to lose weight?
Good morning and happy Friday. It is March 3rd, 2023 and this is the Friday Pulse Check from www.FLATLINING.net and Fulcrum Strategies.
In the news:
NC may finally expand Medicaid and reform CoN
North Carolina has been one of the few states that have avoided expanding Medicaid even though it has been able to do since the Affordable Care Act came into effect in 2014. That may be changing soon. Last night, the Republican-controlled state legislature has come to a deal that would allow for Medicaid expansion if a state budget is passed and enacted. Also included in the deal is reform to the Certificate of Need laws which hospitals have opposed because it could create significant competition for valuable orthopedic and eye surgeries. It would also eliminate the need for certificate of need approval for MRI machines in counties with a population of 125,000 or more. There are 23 counties that are large enough to qualify for this exemption, which will go into effect in three years. Read more from NC Health News.
Eli Lilly announces price cap for insulin
On Wednesday morning, drug manufacturer Eli Lilly (LLY 0.00%↑) announced that it would be capping out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 a month for people who have private insurance and purchase it at participating pharmacies. President Joe Biden praised the move saying, “For far too long, American families have been crushed by drug costs many times higher than what people in other countries are charged for the same prescriptions.” The Inflation Reduction Act, which passed Congress and was signed into law in 2022, capped insulin prices at $35 for Medicare patients. While the move has received praise from supporters of a price cap, Eli Lilly is likely trying to get out in front of potential legislation which would have forced the cap on the company. Read more from CNN.
Origins of COVID-19
This week, two federal agencies expressed support for the idea that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China. Those two agencies were the FBI and the Department of Energy. FBI Director Christopher Wray told FOX News this week, “I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here, the work that we're doing, the work that our U.S. government and close foreign partners are doing. And that's unfortunate for everybody.” There are four other agencies who have “low confidence” that the virus leaked from a lab and two others, including the CIA, have not made decisions one way or the other. There is consensus among federal agencies, however, that it was not intentional. Read more from FOX News.
Other articles of interest:
Reforming our healthcare system
This week on the FLATLINING Podcast, Ron and I continued our discussion on some of the current proposals out there that are intended to reform our healthcare system.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the new chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (also known as the HELP Committee), and as we all know one of his long-time priorities is to switch the United States to a single payor health system. He admitted in an interview in a few weeks ago that it wasn’t going to happen any time soon, citing the GOP control of the House.
But it is important to remember that Medicare for All was touted by every Democratic presidential candidate in 2020 except for Joe Biden. Medicare for All is a mainstream proposal for many Democrats and I guarantee that we see it again in 2024 (if President Biden decides not to run again) and in 2028.
One of the problems with Medicare for All is that Medicare isn’t sustainable on its own in its current state. Ron and I also discussed some of the ways that Medicare can be reformed to keep it alive past the next twenty years.
As you might expect, war has a debilitating effect on the mental health of both civilians and military personnel. Ukrainians living in Kyiv can get free mental healthcare at Mental Health and Psychological Support Centre. Since the Russian invasion into Crimea in 2014, they say they have treated over 6,000 patients and that demand skyrocketed after the full-blown invasion last year. Read more in France 24.
One Tennessee grandfather is trending on social media for his unique diet. He says he is going to eat McDonald’s for one hundred days straight so he can lose weight. Confused yet? I was too. He says he is cutting the meals in half to make a point about portion control. Today is day eleven into his journey and he told NewsNation’s Morning in America that he has lost thirteen pounds so far. Maybe he needs to meet up with that personal trainer from Northern Ireland who only ate pizza for a month. And maybe I should go talk to my primary care provider about this diet. Read more on Today.com.
Have a good weekend,