For 2012: Rebates for those who buy health insurance. Millions of Americans might be eligible for rebates starting in 2012 under regulations released today detailing the healthcare reform law’s minimum spending requirements for insurers, reports Kaiser Health News.
Government releases news spending requirements insurance co’s. The 300-plus pages new regulations govern new requirements that health insurers, starting in January, spend at least 80 percent of their top line on the care of patients in individual and small-group commercial health plans and 85 percent for people in large-group plans, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Stem cell trial for blindness treatment passes FDA scrutiny. Food & Drug Administration officials have again approved a clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells in a a Marlborough, Mass.-based biotech’s effort to treat a rare disease that causes blindness in young people. This is only the second time a human stem cell treatment has been cleared for human trials. Advanced Cell Technology Inc. said today that it received the OK from the watchdog agency. The company expects the study to begin early next year with 12 patients diagnosed with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, reports U.S. News & World Report.
Dropping out of Medicaid? Huge budget shortfalls are prompting a handful of states including Washington, Texas and South Carolina to begin discussing a once-unthinkable scenario: dropping out of the Medicaid insurance program for the poor, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Nurses’ union gains clout. National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the country, has helped organize strikes or threatened them this year at hospitals in California, Pennsylvania, Maine, Michigan and Minnesota, gaining national strength as it taps into concerns of registered nurses worried about losing jobs at a time when hospitals and healthcare organizations are under enormous pressure to cut costs, The Washington Post reports.
Insurers’ profits rise as medical care falls. People are going to doctors less frequently for a handful of reasons. But don’t expect insurers to reduce their premium increases or increase spending on care, according to American Medical News.
mHealth apps could explode. The rapid adoption of smartphones and now touch-screen tablets (iPads) by clinicians will trigger enormous growth in the use of mHealth applications within healthcare organizations, reaching an enterprise market size of $1.7 billion by end of year 2014, according to a new report by Chilmark Research.
Darvon, Darvocet pulled. Newport, Kentucky, drug maker Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals has pulled painkillers Darvon and Darvocet from the market at the behest of the Food and Drug Administration, which is concerned the decades-old medications could cause deadly heart rhythms, The Indianapolis Star reports.
The impossible entrepreneur. At 37, Daniel Skovronsky seems impossibly young for his accomplishments, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. There is the molecular biochemistry degree from Yale, the medical degree and doctorate in neuropathology from Penn, the groundbreaking work in Alzheimer’s research, and now Avid Radiopharmaceutical Inc., the company he founded, nurtured, and grew until its sale Nov. 8 to Eli Lilly & Co. for up to $800 million.
For some comic relief… Check out the Dilbert cartoons about medicine posted by Dr. Ivor Kovic.
Material from MedCity News was used in this report.