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In health news, the federal government will soon stop paying for COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and it will likely come as a shock to people who don’t realize this is happening.
Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Did someone forward this newsletter to you?
Why you may soon have to pay for this COVID test
The federal government is set to stop paying for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments in the coming months, shifting the costs from taxpayers to individual patients.
Experts say most Americans are unaware this will happen and will be in for a major case of sticker shock. They warn that without additional protections and funding, the transition to commercialized preventive treatments and services will lead to barriers to health.
- Instead of free access to tests and treatments like Paxlovid, insurance companies and manufacturers will set the price.
- The days of free and easily accessible COVID-19 testing will also come to an end. Private insurance may no longer cover over-the-counter tests, and patients may first need a prescription for a PCR test.
Vaccines will still be free for those with private insurance, although the cost is likely reflected in premiums. Even with insurance, patients will likely see costs if they go to an out-of-network provider.
But the biggest impact will be on uninsured or underinsured Americans, many of whom have jobs that put them at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Reflection of a larger system: “The way it works in the United States [right now] is actually more similar to how a lot of healthcare works in other countries as well,” said Cynthia Cox, insurance expert and vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“But when the public health emergency ends, it will start to look like health care in the United States, which is that it’s complicated and it costs a lot of money.”
Rise in RSV hits children’s hospitals across US
Children’s hospitals across the country are dealing with an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, stressing health services and millions of parents with sick children.
RSV is a common and usually mild illness, but millions of children are at risk later in life due to the coronavirus pandemic. Babies locked up during the pandemic did not catch RSV, and now children born just before or during the pandemic are catching it en masse.
What suppliers see:
- “We see older patients who are admitted with RSV because they simply haven’t seen it before. And your first illness is usually the worst and results in more people being hospitalized,” said Jason Newland, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Washington University in St. Louis.
- “Cases continue to rise and we haven’t seen a spike yet,” said Caroline Njau, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Children’s Minnesota. “And RSV itself accounts for about two-thirds of the respiratory viral illnesses we see.”
Systemic issues: Healthcare providers who spoke with The Hill agreed that this recent RSV surge has highlighted issues within the US pediatric healthcare system, old and new.
Newland said there are concerns that children’s hospitals are understaffed, which could lead to a situation where some services like non-emergency surgeries are delayed, as happened during the most challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Another problem providers cite is the lack of capacity in children’s hospitals. Stephen Dolter, division chief of pediatric hospital medicine at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Nebraska, said his main concern during this virus surge was running out of space.
- “We will do everything we can to get them into the hospital, whether that means turning the hospital playrooms into treatment rooms or turning our emergency department into an inpatient unit,” Dolter said.
PFIZER: THE NEW BOOSTER PROTECTS BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL FOR SENIORS
The companies said the data showed that clinical trial participants over the age of 55 who received the bivalent booster targeting omicron BA.4/BA.5 had antibody levels nearly four times higher than those who received received the original reminder.
The results are based on blood samples taken from adults one month after receiving single doses of the updated booster or the first version of the vaccine.
Rollback: The firing was authorized without human data.
The number of study participants was small. Only 36 people received the new booster and 40 received the old one.
Federal health officials are banking on the updated vaccine as a crucial part of the administration’s COVID-19 response. As the weather turns cold, officials are trying to convince people to get the updated vaccine to avert another wave of serious infections and deaths.
But two months after the administration first authorized the shootings, adoption has been low. According to federal data, less than 9% of Americans have received one. Officials blame pandemic fatigue and a lack of resources to fully promote the snaps.
MANCHIN CALLS FOR AGREEMENT ON SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICAL INSURANCE AND MEDICAID
Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) on Thursday called for broad bipartisan agreement to protect the solvency of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, popular programs that will face serious funding challenges in the coming months. decades.
“You will put your financial affairs in order. We can’t live with this crippling debt,” Manchin, whose crucial vote both delayed and helped push through big pieces of President Biden’s agenda, told Fortune’s Alan Murray at a CEO conference. .
“If we don’t look at the trust funds that are going bankrupt, whether it’s Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the highway, all of those — there are huge problems right now,” Manchin said when was asked where he saw potential areas. compromise in Washington after the November 8 midterm elections.
If Manchin continues to push for a bipartisan deal to shore up Social Security and Medicare finances, he may have a negotiating partner in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) , which has proposed sweeping rights reform on several occasions.
Lawmakers push to end maternal health crisis
The Black Maternal Health Caucus led discussions on the legislation. The caucus was created in 2019 to address the drastic racial disparities that exist for pregnant black women. Despite proposing a 12-package law of protections for pregnant women, most of the caucus laws did not pass.
The Momnibus Black Maternal Health Act of 2021 called for recognizing and addressing the social determinants of health, funding community organizations, diversifying the perinatal workforce, and other key provisions. But so far, only part of the package has been signed into law by President Biden – the Protecting Moms Who Served Act.
This particular law commissions the first-ever in-depth study of America’s maternal health crisis among female veterans while supporting maternal care programs at Department of Veterans Affairs facilities.
- Still, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.), one of the main sponsors of the “Momnibus” bill and founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, said the caucus is pleased with the progress made so far. .
- “We have incredible momentum,” Underwood told The Hill. “Eighty percent of the rest of the Momnibus was included in Build Back Better and we worked with our Senate colleagues to find a way to put a vehicle in place for the Momnibus. And I feel very optimistic right now.
Recently, the Maternal Immunization Act, which would fund programs to increase maternal immunization rates, was passed with bipartisan support in the House.
But with days to go before the midterm, legislative talks were suspended, though the caucus worked with Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.), the Senate bill’s lead, to tie up the rest of the package. to another vehicle. hoping to pass.
WHAT WE READ
- A ‘blank cheque’: A bill to spur antibiotic development touted as a ‘flawed’ gift to the pharmaceutical industry (Statistical)
- A treatment approved in Europe to prevent RSV in infants may soon be coming to the United States (CNN)
- For Republican candidates, talking about moms and babies is a thorny issue (Kaiser Health News)
STATE BY STATE
- The Rio Grande Valley Abortion Clinic was purchased by an anti-abortion pregnancy center (Texas Grandstand)
- Florida could surpass record number of Affordable Care Act enrollments in 2023 (Tampa Bay Weather)
- Colorado and Idaho pull out of national survey that tracks adolescent mental health (KUNC)
🏎 Lighter Click on: The hills Pictures of the week
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you next week.