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What We’re Reading: Biden’s Plan to Rescue Medicare; WeightWatchers Adds Weight-Loss Drugs; Long COVID and GI Issues

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President Joe Biden proposes plan to tackle Medicare funding situation, testing GOP; WeightWatchers is in the process of buying telehealth company Sequence that will allow weight-loss drugs like Ozempic to be prescribed; patients experiencing long COVID-19 seem to be more likely to have gastrointestinal (GI) issues, finds a study.

Biden Uncovers Plan to Address Medicare Funding Emergency, Challenging GOP

On Tuesday, the White House proposed increasing taxes on Americans earning over $400,000 and reducing the price Medicare pays for prescription drugs to try to safeguard Medicare’s funding for the next 20 years, challenging Republicans over an impending funding crisis, reported The Washington Post. Medicare is spending money faster than it brings it in, threatening to encounter automatic federal cuts beginning in 2028 and feeding the fear that medical providers will refuse care to older adults if the looming shortfall isn’t federally addressed first. These measures will be detailed in the 2024 budget proposal set to be released by the White House on Thursday and will have to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

WeightWatchers Joins Ozempic Market With Telehealth Deal

WW International Inc., aka WeightWatchers, is purchasing digital health company Sequence, launching the diet company’s move into the new market for diabetes and obesity drugs like semaglutide (Ozempic) and Wegovy, said The Wall Street Journal. Sequence is a subscription telehealth service that subscribers can use to see doctors that can prescribe the drugs. Sequence goes by the corporate name of Weekend Health Inc., and WW says it’s paying a net purchase price of $106 million, with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2023.

Patients With Long COVID-19 More Likely to Have GI Issues, Study Finds

A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications analyzed long COVID-19 patients infected early in the pandemic and found that they were significantly more likely to experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like lingering reflux, constipation, and other gastrointestinal problems a year following infection than people who weren’t infected, reported The New York Times. The study examined COVID-19 patients in the Veterans Health Administration system and found that COVID-19 patients were 36% more likely to have long term gastrointestinal issues that they did not have before infection. Acid-related disorders were most common.

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