Although a median-income US family of four with employer-based health insurance saw its gross annual income increase from $76,000 in 1999 to $99,000 in 2009 (in current dollars), this gain was largely offset by increased spending to pay for health care. Monthly spending increases occurred in the family’s health insurance premiums (from $490 to $1,115), out-of-pocket health spending (from $135 to $235), and taxes devoted to health care (from $345 to $440) . In 2009 the US economy contracted, millions of Americans lost their jobs, and nearly seven million people lost employer-based health insurance. Nevertheless, health spending in 2009 continued to increase, as it has routinely year by year.
Doctors are paid higher fees in the United States than in several other countries, and this is a major factor in the nation’s higher overall cost of health care, says a new study by twoColumbia University professors, one of whom is now a top health official in the Obama administration. “American primary care and orthopedic physicians are paid more for each service than are their counterparts in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom,” said the study, by Sherry A. Glied, an assistant secretary of health and human services, and Miriam J. Laugesen, an assistant professor of health policy at Columbia.
Most women who take bone-building drugs like Fosamax can safely stop taking them after five years, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday in a staff report leading up to a broad safety review scheduled Friday by two scientific advisory committees.
Healthier lifestyles and better diets could prevent up to 2.8 million cases of cancer each year, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said on Wednesday, calling on governments to “avoid a public health disaster.”
Digital MedTech Physician™ found that the majority of physicians surveyed use the Internet during the workday and demonstrate certain digital behaviors that are unique compared to other types of healthcare professionals, such as their use of online video for professional learning. Additionally, the study suggests there is a significant opportunity for medtech companies to connect with these physicians through online promotional programs. Key highlights from the Digital MedTech Physician™ study include:
- Internet access during workday popular: More than 4 in 5 physicians surveyed use the Internet during the workday for professional purposes, including access via smartphones and iPads.
- Online video a key learning tool: 68 percent of physicians surveyed have watched an online video to learn about medical devices, and there is high interest in online video training sessions provided by medical device companies.
- Physicians not seeing reps still interested in online promotion: 50 percent of physicians surveyed are interested in participating in online promotional programs from medical device companies for which they do not see sales reps in person.
“Physicians using medtech products are digitally savvy and seeking ways to interact with device manufacturers online,” said Meredith Ressi, Manhattan Research President. “It is any marketer’s dream to have customers seeking messaging and information from his or her brand – one that several of our clients are moving fast to deliver on.”
U.S. regulators and the drug industry want to extend by two months the deadline for the Food and Drug Administration to approve or reject new drugs. The extended timeline was tucked into the proposed deal the FDA forged with the prescription drug industry on the fees companies pay for drug reviews. The FDA posted the proposal on its website on Thursday. The FDA said it would need an extra 60-day “filing date” before the clock starts ticking on its 10-month deadline to review new drugs, or six months for a priority review.
Oliver Wyman has released a report that estimates the post-2016 U.S. pharmaceutical industry revenue impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be 20 percent, which is in dramatic contrast to the 3 percent estimates that were widely circulated when the ACA was signed into law. The report is online at www.oliverwyman.com/4345.htm
A new study reports that weight, diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol intake may each independently influence a person’s risk of getting diabetes. Researchers found that even when people had a family history of diabetes or were overweight, they were less likely to get the chronic disease if they were healthy in other ways. And each additional lifestyle improvement lowered their risk.
AstraZeneca Plc’s key cholesterol drug Crestor failed to beat Pfizer Inc’s Lipitor in a head-to-head clinical study, limiting any protection the British company will get as its U.S. rival faces competition from cheap generic copies. Although imaging tests showed patients on Crestor had a greater reduction in the percentage of plaque clogging their heart arteries than those on Lipitor, the difference in this main goal of the study was not statistically significant, AstraZeneca said on Friday. Crestor did show a significant improvement over Lipitor in a secondary endpoint of the trial, which used ultrasound to measure the condition of coronary arteries in around 1,300 patients.
If you watched President Obama’s speech last night you heard that he is willing to compromise and cut more costs out of Medicare. Make no mistake about it people in Congress do not want to continue to pour billions of dollars into rising medical costs without major increases in revenue (taxes).
What has puzzled this author is that the Federal government, the AMA, insurers and the healthcare industry in general has failed to acknowledge consumers responsibility in controlling their health outcomes. For example in one of the headlines it was reported that healthier lifestyles could lead to a decline in 2.8 million cancer cases. However the real threat is obesity which is leads to diabetes and now even increased cases of gout.
Changing consumer behavior can be hard to do but as a nation can we afford to let people who choose to live unhealthy add to the burden of those that do live healthy ? We need changes that directly address prevention and this includes;
-a series of financial health incentives for patients to get healthy.
-counseling for overweight patients at physicians offices with a registered dietician covered by insurance.
-unhealthy lifestyle patients should pay higher insurance premiums,
-a national “shock and awe” program on the dangers of obesity.
The cost of doing nothing is not acceptable and it’s time for the healthcare industry to let patients know that the answer is not in a prescription bottle but is a change in how they live.