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Volume 3, Number 26


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In the Spotlight

The Patient's Right to Know

Peter Huber, Forbes, 7-24-06

Some years ago the Food & Drug Administration concluded that a grown woman can handle learning that she's pregnant all by herself. She may therefore buy a pregnancy detection dipstick from a pharmacy without a prescription. But the agency won't let her buy a dipstick that reports whether she's infected with HIV. That news must come from a doctor or approved counselor, in person or by phone.
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News

Latest Retail Niche: Clinics
Los Angeles Times, 7-18-06

Editor's Notes:

For the latest development in health care look no further than your local Target or Wal-Mart. Retail health clinics are growing in popularity as Americans look for cheaper and more accessible ways to treat simple health problems, without the frustration of insurance paperwork and long waits.
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A Windfall From Shifts to Medicare
The New York Times, 7-18-06

Editor's Notes:

According to the Times, drug companies are profiting from the shift in millions of poor elderly patients from Medicaid to Medicare in the wake of the Medicare drug benefit. The argument is that the private benefit managers in charge of negotiating prices for seniors enrolled in the benefit are paying higher prices for drugs than Medicaid programs did. It is unclear, at least right now, how price competition in the program will play out over time. But it is wrong to assume that lower prices automatically redound to the benefit of consumers. Price controls reduce incentives to innovate, and the Times fails to note that any increased profits will be directed into the research and development of new life saving drugs for American patients.
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Medicare Part D Spending Projections Down Again, Part A and Part B Increases Highlight Need for Further Reforms
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 7-11-06

Editor's Notes:

In contrast to the New York Times article on the "windfall profits" that pharmaceutical companies are gaining from Part D Medicare recipients, a recent press release by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that the reformed Medicare Part D system appears to be cutting costs and tightening spending. However, CMS also reported that Part A and Part B spending increases would continue to strain the federal budget with high costs and called for more reform of the system.
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Commentary

The Massachusetts Health Plan: Lessons for the States
Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Nina Owcharenko, Heritage Backgrounder, 7-18-06

Heritage Foundation fellows Nina Owcharenko and Robert E. Moffitt take a look at Massachusetts' new health plan and size up its strengths and weaknesses. They conclude that other elected officials could learn a lot from the Bay State.
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The Health Care Choice Act: Eliminating Barriers to Personal Freedom and Market Competition
Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, 7-17-06

Heritage Foundation scholar Robert Moffitt reports on the Health Care Choice Act, which would allow consumers to purchase health insurance from across state lines, increasing competition and consumer choice.
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The G8 and Health: The Wrong Target
Andrew Farlow, Straits Times — Singapore, 7-15-06

Andrew Farlow calls on the G–8 to turn towards more practical initiatives to end infectious diseases in poverty-stricken nations, and away from media grabbing programs that don't accomplish any real results. He argues that in order to reduce suffering from preventable diseases in poor nations, the G–8 leaders need to focus on reforming corrupt governments and encouraging free markets.
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Competition Works
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 7-14-06

Turner applauds recent health care reform efforts in states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island, saying that these experiments in reform are critical steps on the road to a more efficient and less costly health system for all Americans.
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Research

Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasm Series
Institute of Medicine, 7-21-06

A recently released report from the Institute of Medicine found that human error results in thousands of deaths each year from incorrectly prescribed medications. According to the report, hospital patients are likely to be given at least one incorrect prescription per day, an error that can cause serious injury or death.
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Little Growth Seen In Vaccine R&D for Rest of Decade
Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, 7-11-06

A recent study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development found that vaccine development has remained stagnant over the past decade, and that future development is not expected to increase significantly.
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Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

The Patient's Right to Know

NEWS

Latest Retail Niche: Clinics
A Windfall From Shifts to Medicare
Medicare Part D Spending Projections Down Again, Part A and Part B Increases Highlight Need for Further Reforms

COMMENTARY

The Massachusetts Health Plan: Lessons for the States
The Health Care Choice Act: Eliminating Barriers to Personal Freedom and Market Competition
The G8 and Health: The Wrong Target
Competition Works

RESEARCH

Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasm Series
Little Growth Seen In Vaccine R&D for Rest of Decade
Center for Medical Progress 
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