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Greetings from Las Vegas
Plus: The uncertain future of US healthcare
Good morning everyone and happy Friday. This is your weekly digest of healthcare news that matters to you called the Friday Pulse Check from Fulcrum Strategies and FLATLINING.net. Ron and I just got back from the EDPMA Solutions Summit 2023 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was great to meet some of you in person and for our new subscribers we met there, welcome.
In the news:
With the debt ceiling looming, Medicaid may be on the chopping block
That is if Congressional Republicans get their way. We’ve said before, and they know, that cutting the two biggest sections of the government safety net – that is Social Security and Medicare – is fraught with political heartburn. Medicaid doesn’t care the same weight. They may do so by giving straight cuts to the program or introducing work requirements for non-disabled and non-elderly childless adults. Read more in Vox.
California Watch: A novel way to fund MediCal for All
Last year the California state legislature attempted to pass a bill that created a single payer healthcare system for anyone in the state. That bill never made it out of committee because Governor Gavin Newsom would have had to veto it; that wouldn’t look good for a future presidential candidate. Part of the reason for his hesitancy is that there was no way to fund it without shooting taxes up even higher. Now the legislature is debating a bill that would require the governor to apply for a waiver, freeing up federal Medicare and Medicaid dollars to pay for the new system. As Sally Pipes opines in the East Bay Times, this could be a disaster. Read more from the East Bay Times.
The Future of Healthcare
This week Ron and I attended the EDPMA Solutions Summit 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ron spoke on the current state of the economy and how that is going to affect healthcare in the short and long terms. It may appear to be a bleak picture, after all the COVID-19 pandemic created an economic situation the likes of which this country has never seen before. What do physicians and healthcare groups need to focus on now: strategies for the No Surprises Act, contingency plans in the event of more government regulation, and know where they stand with their financials. The future may be uncertain, but at least we can take comfort in that healthcare won’t go away.
On our podcast this week, Ron and I discussed the No Surprises Act, one of the most discussed topics of this conference, and the oral arguments that were heard on Wednesday in the TMA 3 and TMA 4 cases. One of the lawyers on the TMA team spoke via Zoom to the conference Wednesday afternoon saying she was optimistic that they had argued their case well and that the judge will see that the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to properly implement it. If you want a really good summary (and a ZZ Top cover of Elvis Presley) check out podcast from this week. You can listen by clicking the button below or search for the FLATLINING Podcast on your favorite podcasting platform.
Other articles of interest
As you might expect, war has a debilitating effect on mental health. As St Louis Today reports, there is still a stigma on accessing mental health that reaches back to Ukraine’s Soviet days where dissidents were placed in mental institutions. The World Health Organization is says that 9.6 million I people in Ukraine could be affected by anxiety, depression, or other more serious mental health issues. Read more in St. Louis Today.
A new study published in JAMA Network Open is showing an alarming number of students who use ADHD medications are abusing them. About 25% are taking prescriptions such as Ritalin and Adderall for purposes that are not approved by their physicians. Physicians are confident in these stimulant based drugs but caution that they can be harmful if they are used without supervision from clinicians. Though this article doesn’t discuss it, I have no doubt that some of this is fueled peer pressure by both real friends and peers and those on social media apps like TikTok. I have been particularly critical of that app on this newsletter because of its inability to properly police itself and protect its users from harmful content. I am glad this study is shedding a lite on this issue and hope that more studies will also look more closely at the social media aspect of this problem as well. Read more from CBS News.
Have a good weekend.