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What We’re Reading: VA to Prioritize Cancer Claims; Pfizer’s COVID-19 Cash; Medicaid Coverage Concerns


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will give cancer claims priority when a new law takes effect in January 2023; Pfizer is looking to use its COVID-19 profits to grow other blockbusters; the probable loss of Medicaid coverage for millions next year is setting off debate.

VA to Prioritize Veterans With Cancer Under Toxic Exposure Law

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that when it begins processing claims under the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act in 2023, it will put veterans with cancer at the front of the line, The Hill reported. PACT expands benefits for millions of veterans who were exposed to 23 diseases, half of them cancers, assumed to be linked to burn pits or other toxins during their wartime service.

Pfizer to Plow COVID-19 Windfall Into Other Drugs, Marketing

Pfizer, which has reaped nearly $100 billion from selling COVID-19 vaccines and Paxlovid to governments around the world, will use the profits to fuel the development of “potential blockbusters” for other conditions, according to a story that was originally published on Fortune and was republished on Kaiser Health News. The targets are diabetes drugs repurposed for weight loss, migraines, ulcerative colitis, prostate cancer, sickle cell disease, and obesity.

Concerns, Debate Rise About Medicaid Cliff When Public Health Emergency Ends

The COVID-19 public health emergency is due to expire in January 2023, and if it is not renewed, an estimate of 5 million to 14 million Americans will lose their Medicaid health coverage that was enabled by the 2020 pandemic relief bill. That is setting off a debate about what to do about people who will find themselves without health insurance, including those fall into the coverage gap in the 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Roll Call reported. Advocates of Medicaid expansion, especially in states where ballot initiatives are taking place, are attempting to sway statehouse conservatives on the long-term overall benefit of having more people insured.

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