MASSDEVICE ON CALL — California health insurers defer rate hike. Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare agree to delay for 60 days increases to premiums for California customers with individual policies while they are reviewed by the state’s insurance commissioner, reports Los Angeles Times.
Red Cross runs low on blood. The American Red Cross said its blood supply is at the lowest level for January in 10 years because winter storms and subsequent travel disruptions caused the cancellation of 14,000 donations, reports USA Today.
Obama likely to oppose malpractice bill. Following her first congressional testimony on the healthcare reform law, Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the Obama administration has not yet taken an official position on the medical malpractice reform bill sponsored by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.). Some of the bill’s key provisions are likely to be opposed by President Barack Obama, however, reports Modern Healthcare.
Therapeutic hypothermia could help stroke recovery. Cooling the brain of stroke victims could dramatically improve recovery, a group of Scottish doctors said, reports the BBC.
Healthcare lobbying. Pharma cut its spending last year in federal lobbying, but physicians and hospitals fought on, according to a study of fourth-quarter disclosure reports. The difference in spending was largely defined by anyone who had unfinished business with the U.S. healthcare reform bill passed into law.
Merck getting serious on biosimilars.Via Xconomy:
“We need to have some humility about what biologics have done,” says Merv Turner, Merck’s chief strategy officer, in an interview at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco earlier this month. “Biologics are going to be important in the future, and we have to get into biologics if we are going to be the world’s leading healthcare company, which is our ambition.”
Generation Alzheimer’s. One in eight Baby Boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease — as many as 10 million.
Who’s an MD? Half of consumers have trouble discerning who is a doctor. Among those who consumers don’t think have MDs: orthopedic surgeons, family practitioners and dermatologists.
Global R & D on the rise. A Battelle study called research and development spending “stable.” Global spending on R & D will increase 3.6 percent.
Material from MedCity News was used in this report.