What We’re Reading: Health Insurance Rebates; More States Legalize Fentanyl Test Strips; Reanimated Hearts Used for Transplants


The possibility of individual Americans receiving a health insurance rebate is slim; more states are legalizing fentanyl test strips to fight soaring opioid deaths; reanimated hearts donated after death work just as well for transplants, study finds.

Possible Windfall in Health Insurance Rebates

Former Democratic Senator Al Franken recently posted on Twitter that Americans will receive “$1.1 B in rebates from health insurance companies this year” because of a provision he wrote into the Affordable Care Act, according to KFF Health News. While there will likely be rebates in 2023, most likely along the lines of $1.1 billion, the chance that these rebates will go directly to individuals is quite small. The provision, known as the medical loss ratio, refers to how much insurers spend on medical care for their enrollees vs other administrative costs and aims to curb those costs.

More States Legalizing Fentanyl Test Strips to Fight Opioid Deaths

Legalizing fentanyl test strips could bring the number of overdose deaths connected to the drug down, say advocates, by helping more people understand the possible lethality of their drugs, reported the Associated Press. Until this spring, test strip use was technically illegal in Ohio, which has now joined at least 20 other states whose lawmakers officially decriminalized the strips since Rhode Island became the first in 2018. Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Mississippi also jumped on the bandwagon. The CDC recommends fentanyl test strips as a low-cost way of helping prevent drug overdoses.

Reanimated Hearts Donated Postmortem Work For Transplants, Study Finds

A new study found that an innovative method of heart transplantation that uses machines to reanimate donor hearts from people who have died after circulatory death is just as effective as traditional heart transplantation, according to STAT. If widely used in the US, the procedure could increase the donor pool by 30%. The adjusted 6-month survival rate of patients undergoing the new technique was 94%, compared with 90% among patients who underwent the traditional method using hearts from brain-death donors, according to the study published Wednesday.

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