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What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Costs Shifting; Birth Control Coverage Hindered; Cancer Deaths Preventable


The Biden administration plans to shift COVID-19 test and treatment costs from the government to individuals and insurers; an old FDA rule is being used to limit access to contraceptives; study results suggest almost half of cancer deaths are attributable to preventable risk factors.

COVID-19 Cost Burden to Return to Patients

The Biden administration is planning to put the onus for COVID-19 vaccines and treatment payments back onto patients and insurers, which could provide more control of pricing and coverage to the health care industry. This move could generate more sales for companies while increasing the prices for consumers for years to come. A meeting on August 30 conducted by the HHS will bring drugmakers, pharmacies, and state health departments together to hold a planning session. The move to shift payments for drugs and vaccines for COVID-19 will likely take months, with challenges like providing COVID-19 coverage for uninsured patients still a problem.

Birth Control Coverage Gaps Exist

An FDA birth control chart is being inappropriately used by insurers and payers to limit access to certain novel contraceptives in the wake of the overturning of Roe v Wade, claim some consumer advocates and manufacturers. The chart, intended as an informational guide for consumers, is the relied upon source for plans to determine the products they will cover with no cost-sharing to patients, making it hard for some companies to get their products covered. The Biden administration is threatening investigations into health plans that make it difficult to obtain free birth control.

Nearly Half of Cancer Deaths From Preventable Risk Factors

A study published in The Lancet found that 44.4% of cancer deaths in 2019 could be attributed to preventable risk factors such as smoking, drinking, and high body mass index, according to CNN Health. Cancer-related deaths that could be attributed to these risk factors rose 20.4% globally from 2010 to 2019. The study also found that 42% of healthy years lost could be attributed to these preventable risk factors. The cancers most associated with these risk factors were tracheal, bronchus, and lung cancer in men and women. This research could help doctors target interventions to prevent deaths from cancer due to preventable factors.

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