MASSDEVICE ON CALL — U.S. Senate hopefuls vying for a seat in the Massachusetts campaign agree on 1 point: opposition to the medical device tax. Both Reps. Edward Markey (D) and private equity investor Gabriel Gomez (R) expressed disapproval of the 2.3% excise tax on medical device companies during the recent emphasis on tax policy on the campaign trial this week.
Gomez courted small businesses with a visit to Guided Surgery Solutions, a dental drill company based in Wellesley, Mass., where he publicized his belief that the tax will hurt the approximately 25,000 jobs in Massachusetts supported by medical device companies, according to reporting from MassLive.com.
Gomez took some heat from The Boston Globe when his opponents called him out on his purported ignorance of the Blunt and Stupak Amendments, both of which relate to insurance coverage obligations for contraception.
So far Markey has focused his campaign around his pro-choice abortion views. Although the Congressman voted for President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform bill, he said he was against the device tax as part of the legislation.
Medicare to release doctor claims data, a Florida federal judge ending the 33-year injunction
The government will now release doctor data in a court-ordered policy reversal ending a 33-year injunction protecting the confidentiality of insurance claims.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District in Florida lifted the injunction following a Wall Street Journal investigation demonstrating that transparent insurance claims information could help clean up fraud and abuse in the $549 billion Medicare program.
Meta-analysis reveals increased risk for temporary blood clot filters
Weight loss surgery may put patients at risk of dangerous blood clots lodging in lungs, and physicians place temporary mesh filters in the abdominal veins to help prevent injury. However, a recent John Hopkins meta-analysis published in JAMA Surgery showed that this treatment may actually increase the risk of death for morbidly obese patients.
Instead, the analysis found that standard treatment of blood thinners and exercise as soon as possible after surgery was the most effective treatment.
UW Madison spine surgeon under fire for ties to Medtronic
A 10 year old lawsuit filed against UW Madison spine doctor Tom Zdeblick for alleged kickbacks turned into a full-fledged DOJ investigation and 2 U.S. Senate committee probes for the Madison-based physician.
The second Senate probe revealed that Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) paid Zdeblick $34 million over 15 years, but mostly in royalties for devices he helped invent. The legal troubles for the spine doc come on the heels of personal tragedy after the death of both his grown children and a subsequent divorce.
Average U.S. colonoscopy procedure costs $1,185
Colonoscopies are the most expensive regular screening procedure that most healthy Americans regularly undergo, with the average price calculated at $1,185 according to New York Times reporting.
Aggressive and expensive preventative screening tools have recently come into question in light of a report by a federal panel on preventive care suggesting that other, less-invasive screening tests are just as effective.