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AMA: Court Order in Aetna-Humana Merger Halts a Bad Deal for Elderly Patients Print E-mail
Written by Andrew W. Gurman, MD, President | American Medical Association   
Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

Elderly patients were the big winners today <1.23.17> as a federal court imposed an injunction on Aetna's $37 billion acquisition of Humana. The court ruling halts Aetna's bid to become the nation's largest seller of Medicare Advantage plans and preserves the benefits of health insurer competition for a vulnerable population of seniors.

Aetna's strategy to eliminate head-to-head competition with rival Humana posed a clear and present threat to the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care for millions of seniors. The AMA applauds the extraordinarily well documented, comprehensive, fact-based ruling of U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, which acknowledged that meaningful action was needed to preserve competition and protect high-quality medical care from unprecedented market power that Aetna would acquire from the merger deal. Importantly, Judge Bates further concluded that the merger would unlawfully restrain competition in the sale of individual commercial insurance on the public exchanges in three counties in Florida identified in the complaint.

The court's ruling sets a notable legal precedent by recognizing Medicare Advantage as a separate and distinct market that does not compete with traditional Medicare. This was a view advocated by the AMA, as well as leading economists. AMA also applauds the decision for protecting competition on the public exchanges.

The AMA's stand against this anti-competitive merger shows again that when doctors join together, the best outcome for patients and doctors can be achieved. Given the troubling consolidation trends in health insurance industry, the AMA will continue to advocate on behalf of patients and physicians to foster more competitive health insurance markets.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 19:43
Drugmakers Manipulate Orphan Drug Rules To Create Prized Monopolies Print E-mail
Written by Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin | KHN   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 19:03

khn logo black More than 30 years ago, Congress overwhelmingly passed a landmark health bill aimed at motivating pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs for people whose rare diseases had been ignored.

By the drugmakers' calculations, the markets for such diseases weren't big enough to bother with.

But lucrative financial incentives created by the Orphan Drug Act signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 succeeded far beyond anyone's expectations. More than 200 companies have brought almost 450 "orphan drugs" to market since the law took effect.

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Last Updated on Monday, 06 February 2017 19:22
ASC Update for 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey L. Cohen   
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 19:01

For years, Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs) have dabbled with the notion of overnight stay for late scheduled procedures or those that require extended recovery beyond the usual 23 hours period.   The day of clarity may finally be upon us! HB 0145 and SB 0222 in the Florida Legislature are both aimed at the notion of creating the concept of recovery care centers at which post surgical recovery of 24 hours (in the Senate Bill) or 72 hours (in the House Bill) can occur. If the bills pass both houses, it means ASC care can move to possibly more complex cases and at least later scheduled cases. Regardless, it certainly means greater ASC case volume and could be a boon to the industry.
'We trained for this,' say doctors who treated shooting victims Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 09 January 2017 18:55

George Richards & Susan Miller Degnan reporting for the Miami Herald on 1/6/17:

It was a somber scene at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Health Medical Center following the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday afternoon, as dozens of reporters and camera crews crowded the entryways to the trauma center.

Victims of the shooting were brought to the hospital soon after the attack occurred at the Terminal 2 baggage claim...

Dr. Ralph Guarneri, the trauma surgeon on duty, said five gunshot victims came into the trauma center and two were undergoing surgery. All five, Guarneri said, were in stable condition.

Read more in the current issue of Week in Review>>

Last Updated on Monday, 30 January 2017 20:23
More Doctors On Board With Prescribing Medical Marijuana Print E-mail
Written by Daylina Miller | Health News Florida   
Thursday, 05 January 2017 00:00

Jamie Howe has been disabled for years after complications from a gastric bypass surgery, and was diagnosed with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which she said causes debilitating pain.

After opiates put her in the hospital and then into rehab, she looked to marijuana to alleviate the pain.

"I do get it on the black market. But it's not something I like to do," Howe said. "You know, I don't want to get busted. I don't want to go to jail, especially for healing myself. This should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal one."

Now she sees Dr. Daniel Rodriguez, a family practice doctor in New Port Richey in Pasco County.

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