First Edition: January 3, 2023

Linda Rider

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Here’s A Brief Look At The New Laws Now Going Into Effect Across The U.S.

California will allow trained nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants to provide abortions without supervision from a physician. In New York, a law dealing with multiple facets of health care requires private insurers that cover births to also cover abortion services, without requiring co-payments or co-insurance. (Lieb and Mulvihill, 1/2)

The New York Times:
Justice Dept. Sues AmerisourceBergen Over Role In Opioid Crisis

The suit, filed by the department’s civil division in conjunction with federal prosecutors in New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania and New York, is part of a growing effort by federal agencies to hold drug companies accountable for their role in the nation’s opioid crisis. It accuses AmerisourceBergen and two of its subsidiaries of “at least hundreds of thousands” of violations of the Controlled Substances Act. (Thrush and Albeck-Ripka, 12/29)

Trump Warns Of ‘Doom’ For Republicans Over Extreme Abortion Views

Former President Donald Trump advised Republicans that if they want to win elections, they must support three exceptions to abortion bans. According to Trump, Republicans should support abortion in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. If they don’t, he said, they were likely to lose their elections. (Skinner, 12/29)

The Hill:
CDC Warns Of Future Surge In Diabetes Among Young Americans

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday warned a surge of diabetes among young Americans is on the horizon, saying diagnoses for the population are expected to soar in the coming decades. The CDC cited a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care, which models a nearly 700 percent increase of Type 2 diabetes diagnoses in Americans under the age of 20 through 2060, if an expected upward trend continues. (Dress, 12/29)

Diabetes In Youth Is Set To Skyrocket In Coming Decades

If the recent acceleration of new diagnoses persists, then 220,000 people younger than 20 would have type 2 diabetes in 2060, compared with 28,000 in 2017, the latest year for which data is available, according to projections published this month in Diabetes Care. Even if the rate of new diagnoses stays constant, there would still be a 70{fe463f59fb70c5c01486843be1d66c13e664ed3ae921464fa884afebcc0ffe6c} increase in type 2 cases by 2060. (Chen, 12/30)

Covid’s Winter Surge Is Poised To Exceed Summer Peak

The number of people in the United States hospitalized with Covid-19 is about to surpass the figure reached during this summer’s spike, federal data show, as a confluence of factors — from the continued evolution of the coronavirus to holiday gatherings — drives transmission. (Joseph, 1/3)

Once-Favored Covid Drugs Ineffective On Omicron May Be Putting Millions At Risk

The lack of specialized Covid-19 treatments for people with weak immune systems has left millions of Americans with limited options if they get sick as the pandemic heads into an uncertain winter. Once heralded as game-changers for Covid patients considered at risk for getting seriously ill — one was used to treat then-President Donald Trump in 2020 — monoclonal antibodies are now largely ineffective against current Covid variants. (Gardner, 1/1)

Health Care Lobbyists Are Bracing For Chair Bernie Sanders

The Vermont independent is set to take over the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee next month. Leading the panel gives the Medicare-for-All proponent oversight authority over some of his policy priorities — drug pricing, workers’ rights and income inequality, and student and medical debt. (Wilson, 1/3)

‘The Slippery Slope Is Powerful’: Dems Believe Drug Pricing Law Will Pay Dividends

Democrats staring down a divided Congress in 2023 have an answer for those wondering if the window is closing for significant health care wins: watch and wait. The incoming GOP House majority may block their attempts to enact more federal controls on health costs. But this year’s passage of the Inflation Reduction Act will empower Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time, paving the way for more government action over the coming years, argued Peter Welch (D-Vt.). (Miranda Ollstein, 12/29)

Priorities Pile Up For HHS, FDA, CMS, NIH

The nation’s health agencies already have a long to-do list for 2023. Top officials have promised reforms in the food, drug, and public health departments as frustrations mount over the federal response to Covid-19 and last year’s widespread baby formula shortages. (Owermohle, 1/3)

‘I Know Firsthand They Failed’: Parents Decry Lack Of FDA Action On Infant Formula Safety

When Kelly Knight gave birth to her son, Ryker, she was thrilled — and carrying the memory of the two babies she’d previously lost at nearly full term. “He was perfect,” Knight said. “It was kind of like filling that empty spot.” But when four-week-old Ryker started vomiting at home, Knight, who has three older children, immediately sensed something was wrong. (Bottemiller Evich, 12/31)

Hydration Linked With Lower Disease Risk, Study Finds

You may know that being adequately hydrated is important for day-to-day bodily functions such as regulating temperature and maintaining skin health. But drinking enough water is also associated with a significantly lower risk of developing chronic diseases, a lower risk of dying early or lower risk of being biologically older than your chronological age, according to a National Institutes of Health study published Monday in the journal eBioMedicine. (Rogers, 1/2)

Study Finds Women Are More Empathetic Than Men Worldwide At Any Age

It was already common knowledge that women are better than men at placing themselves in other people’s shoes, but now science backs up that statement. Empathy—the ability to understand, imagine, or share the emotions others may be feeling—is a critical characteristic to have in pretty much every avenue of life, especially business. (Bove, 12/28)

CDC Describes Mpox Challenges In Trans Community

Today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), researchers describe American transgender mpox patients, suggesting that more than 70{fe463f59fb70c5c01486843be1d66c13e664ed3ae921464fa884afebcc0ffe6c} of patients contracted the virus from sexual intercourse with cisgender men. “These men might be in sexual networks experiencing the highest mpox incidence,” the authors explain. (Soucheray, 12/29)

Increased COVID Vaccination In Nursing Home Staff Cut Cases, Deaths

A study of 15,042 US nursing homes found that before the Omicron variant wave, an increase in staff COVID-19 vaccination with the primary series resulted in fewer cases among residents and staff and fewer deaths in residents. Researchers from the University of Chicago detailed their findings today in JAMA Network Open. (Schnirring, 12/29)

Pfizer’s Hemophilia B Gene Therapy Succeeds In Late-Stage Study

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) said on Thursday its experimental gene therapy for the treatment of hemophilia B, a rare inherited blood disorder, met its main goal in a late-stage study. Data from the study showed that a single dose of the therapy was superior to the current standard of care in helping reduce the bleeding rate in patients with moderately severe to severe forms of hemophilia B. (12/29)

3 Trends To Watch In Hospitals And Health Insurance In 2023

For almost three years, hospitals and health insurers have been riding the waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though they can better predict what lies ahead in 2023, there remain several big unknowns. STAT’s business reporters will be paying attention to three trends in particular: the end of the public health emergency, how hospital price hikes will affect people’s paychecks, and Medicare Advantage’s explosive growth. (Herman and Bannow, 1/3)

Health Care Sees A Surge In Financing Platforms For Patients

As inflation-weary shoppers try to make ends meet, many are turning to a modern twist on the layaway plan: buy now, pay later. But while platforms like Afterpay and Affirm were originally built to take the sting out of online shopping, these new financing options are beginning to creep into the world of health care. (Palmer, 1/3)

Gilead Buys Out Rights To Cancer Therapy From Jounce For $67 Mln

Gilead Sciences (GILD.O) will buy all the remaining rights for an experimental cancer therapy, GS-1811, from Jounce Therapeutics (JNCE.O) for $67 million, the drugmaker said on Tuesday. The amended licensing deal will bolster Jounce’s cash resources in a challenging market for biotech companies. (12/29)

The New York Times:
Legal Use Of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms Begins In Oregon

On Jan. 1, Oregon became the first state in the nation to legalize the adult use of psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychedelic that has shown significant promise for treating severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and end-of-life anxiety among the terminally ill, among other mental health conditions. (Jacobs, 1/3)

Amid Surge At UNM Hospital, Feds Send Relief For Staff

The federal government is dispatching a medical team to assist the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital, which has been overwhelmed with patients. The Albuquerque hospital announced a 14-member disaster response team from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will begin seeing children Saturday. (12/30)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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