The Rundown | Week of 9.9.2019

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Naps May Lower CVD Risk

New research published in Heart suggests occasional daytime naps may reduce one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. Researchers from the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland tracked 3,462 participants and discovered that those who napped for between five minutes and one hour once or twice a week were 48 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure than their non-napping counterparts. However, the found “no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration.”
>> Read More: Association of Napping with Incident Cardiovascular Events in a Prospective Cohort Study

Female Physicians Paid Less Than Men

A new study found that, after accounting for 18 factors, female physicians are paid six percent less than equivalent male physicians. Researchers analyzed “early- and midcareer pediatricians” using four models to examine differences in earnings in order to account for interactions between “labor force characteristics,” “physician-specific job characteristics,” and “work-family characteristics.” Using gender alone, women earned 76 percent of what men earned. Accounting for labor-force characteristics “such as demographics, work hours, and speciality,” women earned 87 percent as much. When accounting for all factors, female pediatricians earned 94 percent of what men earned, approximately $8,000 less on average. An unrelated study by CompHealth found female physicians faced more harassment, received less respect, and had fewer opportunities for leadership.
>> Read More: Gender Differences in Earnings of Early- and Midcareer Pediatricians

Health Insurers to Pay $1.3B in Rebates

A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated health insurers will issue more than $1.3 billion in rebates to customers. The Affordable Care Act’s cap on insurer profits mandates that plans must use at least 80 percent of premium income on healthcare claims and quality improvement (as opposed to “administration, marketing, and profits”). When this limit — the “medical loss ratio” — isn’t met, insurers issue the rebates. “ Insurers have until September 30 to begin issuing rebates in the form of a premium credit or check payment. “Insurers in 2018 were highly profitable and arguably overpriced, which is why rebates are so large,” the report noted.
>> Read More: Data Note: 2019 Medical Loss Ratio Rebates

Democrats’ Draft Proposal Targets Drug Price Negotiation

A draft proposal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aims to lower drug prices through direct negotiation between Medicare and drugmakers. “Every year, the HHS Secretary would be empowered to directly negotiate prices on the top 250 drugs with the greatest total cost to Medicare and the entire U.S. health system without competition from at least two generic, biosimilar or interchangeable biologics on the market,” the report reads. Furthermore, the determined price would be available to all purchasers, not only Medicare beneficiaries. The draft proposal also includes “tough penalties to keep drug companies at the table” and adjustments that would limit drug companies from increasing prices above the rate of inflation.
>> Read More: Pelosi Plan Would Have Medicare Negotiate 250 Drugs’ Prices

Apple to Study Hearing, Cardiovascular, and Women’s Health

Apple recently announced three medical studies available through its forthcoming app, Research, in the process “bringing together academic medical institutions, healthcare organizations and the Apple products customers.” For the women’s health study, Apple and partners will carry out a long-term study to “inform screening and risk assessment of conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, osteoporosis, pregnancy and menopausal transition.” The tech giant is also studying the relationship between heart rate and “hospitalizations, falls, heart health and quality of life in order to promote healthy movement and improved cardiovascular health.” The third study will “collect data over time in order to understand how everyday sound exposure can impact hearing.”
>> Read More: Apple Announces Three Groundbreaking Health Studies

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