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This Week in Managed Care: December 30, 2016


This week, the top managed care stories included poll results that found Americans are satisfied with their own healthcare costs, research that ties the stress of the holiday season to heart attacks, and the FDA calls for more teenagers to be enrolled in adult cancer trials.

Hello, I’m Laura Joszt with The American Journal of Managed Care. Welcome to This Week in Managed Care, from the Managed Markets News Network.

Healthcare Cost

Most Americans are satisfied with what they spend on healthcare, but fewer are happy with the cost of healthcare nationally. That’s what Gallup found in a series of recent polls, which consistently found that Americans had better opinions about their own healthcare and what they pay than they did about healthcare for the country.

Fifty-six percent of the respondents in one poll said they were satisfied with the cost of their own care, but only 19% were pleased with costs overall. And, 27% of Americans say cost is the biggest problem in healthcare, making it the top concern. College graduates were more likely to say cost is the most urgent problem, and people with private insurance were less likely to be satisfied with their cost of care than those with Medicare or Medicaid.

For more, read the article.

Holiday Heart Attacks

For years, doctors have wondered what’s driving the data that show more heart attacks occur during the holidays. Is it the cold weather, the flu, or the something about the season?

A new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows that there’s something about Christmas that’s hard on the heart. Scientists tracked 25 years of data from New Zealand, where Christmas comes during the summer, and found that the number of heart attacks jumped 4.2% during the week of the holiday.

Investigators believe stress, holiday travel, and too much food and drink could contribute to the increase, but they also believe people are more likely to ignore symptoms during Christmas. Those who had fatal heart attacks during the holidays were younger than would be expected.

The authors wrote: “By virtue of studying data from a Southern Hemisphere location, we have been able to clarify the likely causes contributing to a Christmas holiday effect.”

VBID's Bipartisan Support

Medicare is scheduled to start a demonstration of value-based insurance design (VBID) on January 1, and many states that are not part of the test are interested in the program, which will improve access to specialists for certain conditions.

AJMC co-editor in chief A. Mark Fendrick, MD, of the University of Michigan explained why VBID has strong bipartisan support. Watch the interview.

Enrolling Teens in Cancer Trials

Teenagers with “adult-type” cancers should have access to clinical trials, according to authors from the FDA who wrote in a recent issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Cancer patients in their late teens have lower participation rates in clinical trials than young children, and this has been cited as a reason why survival rates are improving more rapidly for the youngest children. FDA recommends that teenagers be enrolled in trials for targeted cancers, such as soft tissue and bone sarcomas, leukemias, lymphomas, melanoma, and central nervous system tumors.

Top News of 2016

All week, AJMC has been reviewing the most-read articles of 2016, but readers must still select the top healthcare story of the year. Check AJMC.com next week to find out our readers’ choice, and to look ahead to 2017.

For everyone at the Managed Markets News Network, I’m Laura Joszt. Thank you for joining us, today and throughout the year.

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