The Rundown | Week of 11.13.2017

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The First Digital Pill Has Been Approved- What Does That Mean For Healthcare?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just approved a swallowable sensor, in the form of a pill, to track when patients take their medication, as reported  by CNBC. These pills can safely travel through the body and will communicate with the host through an external application or mobile device. This goal of the pill is to encourage patients  to take their medication regularly. Adherence issues costs taxpayers between $100 billion and $289 billion a year in the U.S.

>>Read more: “The first ‘digital pill’ has just been approved — here’s how it could revolutionize health care”

Trump Nominates Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services

NPR reports that Alex Azar has been nominated to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the deputy HHS Secretary under President George W. Bush. During the Bush administration, Azar “[was] known as a detail-oriented bureaucrat who understands how to work the regulatory system to get things done.” As the former president of the U.S. arm of pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly & Co, there are those who also question Azar’s ability to lower drug pricing due to the fact that prices for Eli Lilly insulins (among other companies’) kept “spiraling higher and higher.” His current stance on drug pricing is still not clear. Azar is expected to alter Obamacare to align it with Republican ideals, favoring moving the authority of Medicaid to states.

>>Read more: “Trump Picks Alex Azar To Lead Health And Human Services”

Republican Tax Plans Will Affect Healthcare

Recently proposed Republican tax plans include huge corporate tax cuts and look to healthcare cuts to fund them, according to the Chicago Tribune. The House version would terminate “a deduction that allows families of disabled children and elderly people to write off large medical expenses.” The Senate plan would end the mandate which would penalize Americans for being uninsured. Insurers maintain that removing the mandate would increase premiums nationwide. According to a CNN report, The House bill passed by a vote of 227-205 votes, but the future of the Senate plan is unclear.

>>Read more: “Health care for millions at risk as Republican tax plans look for revenue”  and “House Republicans pass tax plan, Senate plan’s future unclear”

Study Finds Value-Based Care Activity in Majority of States

A new study commissioned by Change in Healthcare finds that more than 40 states are pursuing value-based payment programs, with 15 multi-payer initiatives across those states, Healthcare IT News reports. “What’s more, the study stressed that value-based care is driving investment in consumer engagement strategies and technologies as consumers become more responsible for out-of-pocket debt and increasingly expect a more retail-like experience from their healthcare providers.”

>>Read more: “A majority of states are now buying into value-based care”

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