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What We’re Reading: Medicare Funding for SCD Gene Therapies; Long COVID Moonshot; Rise in Mpox Cases

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Funding proposal includes gene therapies for sickle cell disease (SCD); draft legislation aims to address long COVID challenges; efforts are underway to prevent a summer surge.

Medicare Proposes Increased Hospital Funding for Sickle Cell Gene Therapies

CMS has proposed providing hospitals with an additional 75% of estimated costs for new gene therapies for sickle cell disease, surpassing the usual 65% add-on payment, according to Axios. This move aims to incentivize hospitals to offer these costly treatments, particularly benefiting lower-income patients covered by Medicaid. The proposal follows FDA approval of 2 sickle cell therapies in December (exagamglogene autotemcel and lovotibeglogene autotemcel) and includes a 2.6% increase in Medicare payments to hospitals for fiscal year 2025.

Sanders Proposes $1 Billion Long COVID Research Initiative

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, Vermont) has unveiled a draft proposal for long COVID moonshot legislation of $1 billion for research over the next decade, according to CIDRAP. Seeking input from stakeholders, the draft legislation also includes provisions for establishing a centralized research entity, clinical trials, databases, and ongoing education and support efforts. Researchers and advocates welcome the initiative as a crucial step toward addressing the challenges posed by long COVID.

Rise in Mpox Cases Sparks Concerns, Calls for Targeted Action

With a significant increase in mpox cases compared with the same period last year, health officials are urging targeted action to address the trend, according to The Hill. Concerns about inequitable access to immunization highlight the need for expanded vaccination efforts, especially within LGBTQ communities. Initiatives like the "Summer of Pride" aim to raise awareness and promote vaccination to prevent further spread of the disease.

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