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Volume 3, Number 2
January 13, 2006


PRINTER FRIENDLY

Note from the Editor:

On behalf of the World Congress, The Manhattan Institute would like to offer our readers a $300 discount to attend the 2006 Health & Human Capital Management Congress taking place this January 23 - 25 in Washington, DC. Come to the conference and hear our own Senior Fellow Dr. David Gratzer present a keynote presentation on Wednesday January 25th at 9:00 am. Please mention code NW535EMB when registering and receive $300 off the regular conference registration rate.

In the Spotlight

Suicide Risks and SSRIs: New Data Should Change the Equation
The FDA’s risk communication strategy for SSRIs needs retooling

Sally Satel, MD, Medical Progress Today, 1-12-06

What does it take to get the FDA to revisit a precedent? In light of accumulating data on antidepressants, the FDA should probably reconsider its black box warning on the dangers associated with the much-maligned class of antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs.
Continue reading . . .

News

Use of proven heart disease therapies has increased, but still suboptimal
Reuters News, 1-10-06

Editor's Notes:

Americans have access to a wide array of effective, affordable, and relatively safe treatments to ward off or minimize the effects of cardiovascular disease. The problem is that patients aren't using them consistently—leading to excess heart attacks and strokes, and driving up health care costs.
Continue reading . . .

Insurers Offer Consumer-Friendly Health Statements
Wall Street Journal, 1-10-06

Editor's Notes:

Knowledge is power. When it comes to health care, consumers need a lot more knowledge if they are to have any power. Insurers, in response to rising health care costs and growing use of Health Savings Accounts, are beginning to supply itemized, easy-to-read statements on the costs of benefits and on treatment alternatives that may save consumers money.
Continue reading . . .

Health Care: Can Consumer Choice Cure the Nation's Ills?
Wall Street Journal, 1-9-06

Editor's Notes:

This is a fascinating exchange on the future of consumer-driven health care by two think-tank scholars who endorse the concept (Joseph Antos and John C. Goodman), and Robert Reischauer, who is something of a skeptic. Goodman tries to correct one crucial misconception about CDHC,—viz., that it is about "shifting costs to employees." Actually, Goodman, argues, it is about shifting "money from employers to employees."
Continue reading . . .

'Next frontier' in heart disease: Undoing it
USA Today, 1-9-06

Editor's Notes:

Merck's blockbuster drug Zocor, a statin drug that lowers cholesterol, is set to go off patent this summer. The cheap generic version will then compete with branded statins, and undoubtedly cut into their sales.
Continue reading . . .

Officials in Rockland Question Medicaid Billings of $13 Million
The New York Times, 1-9-06

Editor's Notes:

While New York State is creating a "preferred drugs" list for its Medicaid program, which would limit access to new, more expensive drugs (a dubious cost control measure at best), investigators are finding more signs of fraud in the state's $44.5 billion Medicaid program.
Continue reading . . .

Drug companies will have to pay to get on state list
Associated Press Newswires, 1-8-06

Editor's Notes:

Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware, particularly when the buyer is a government agency that can command steep discounts from pharmaceutical companies. By demanding ever-larger drug discounts, state Medicaid programs encourage a "race to the bottom," where cheaper drugs may gain preference over more expensive but more effective drugs that may actually save money in the long run, by keeping patients out of hospitals and emergency rooms.
Continue reading . . .

Commentary

Revolutionizing health care
Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., Manhattan Institute, 1-11-06

Goldberg, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, argues that the Medicare drug benefit is the leading edge of a health care revolution that will empower patients with more choice and control.
Continue reading . . .

California's Uninsured: Crisis, Conundrum, or Chronic Condition?
John R. Graham, Pacific Research Institute, 1-10-06

The media routinely estimates the number of uninsured Americans at around 45 million, but there are reasons to suspect that that figure is a serious overcount. In California, John Graham, director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, has released a report arguing that estimates of uninsured Californians may be off by as much as 100%.
Continue reading . . .

Fighting Malaria—the Right Way
Roger Bate, AEI Online, 1-9-06

Bate has been a vocal and persistent advocate for improving how aid organizations in the U.S. and abroad allocate funding for malaria treatment. In particular, Bate endorses the U.S. Agency for International Development's decision to shift its funding priorities from technical assistance to buying proven interventions against the disease.
Continue reading . . .

High on the drug benefit
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 1-6-06

Turner points out that all of the media attention to the setbacks of the new Medicare drug benefit ignores the lessons of history. When Medicare debuted in 1965, there were similar complaints and confusion.
Continue reading . . .

Cutting through the confusion in Part D
Joseph R. Antos, Ph.D., AEI Online, 1-4-06

Antos advises seniors sorting through the Medicare drug benefit to focus on the bottom line: what is the least expensive plan that covers the medicines they need?
Continue reading . . .

Mere Magazines
Thomas P. Stossel, M.D., Wall Street Journal, 12-30-05

Stossel, a physician, complains that medical journals have been quick to disparage research by pharmaceutical companies while exaggerating their own importance in conveying medical information.
Continue reading . . .

Research

Health Savings Accounts: Early Estimates Of National Take-Up
Ruth Taylor, Stephen T. Parente, Ph.D., Roger Feldman, Jon B. Christianson, Jean Abraham, Health Affairs, 12-1-05

With Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) growing in popularity, and the Bush Administration committed to encouraging broader HSA use, Feldman and his colleagues have offered an analysis of HSA uptake and several scenarios under which the program could be expanded.
Continue reading . . .


Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

For more information about Medical Progress Today, please contact the managing editor, Paul Howard, at phoward@manhattan-institute.org, or via telephone at 212.599.7000.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Suicide Risks and SSRIs: New Data Should Change the Equation

NEWS

Use of proven heart disease therapies has increased, but still suboptimal
Insurers Offer Consumer-Friendly Health Statements
Health Care: Can Consumer Choice Cure the Nation's Ills?
'Next frontier' in heart disease: Undoing it
Officials in Rockland Question Medicaid Billings of $13 Million
Drug companies will have to pay to get on state list

COMMENTARY

Revolutionizing health care
California's Uninsured: Crisis, Conundrum, or Chronic Condition?
Fighting Malaria—the Right Way
High on the drug benefit
Cutting through the confusion in Part D
Mere Magazines

RESEARCH

Health Savings Accounts: Early Estimates Of National Take-Up
Center for Medical Progress 
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