What We're Reading: Contractors Lose Insurance; Sickle Cell Gene Therapy; Common Ground on Medical Bills

Federal contractors lost not only wages during the 5-week government shutdown, some of them also lost health insurance; with advances in gene therapy, scientists are beginning to talk about a cure in sickle cell disease; there’s bipartisan interest in attacking the issue of unexpected medical bills, and the effort has been aided by President Donald Trump, who voiced support last week for protecting patients.

Federal Contractors Left Struggling After Shutdown Ended Health Insurance

Federal contractors lost not only wages during the 5-week government shutdown, some of them lost health insurance, The Washington Post reported. The paper detailed how 1 government contractor was unable to pay the $60,000 premium to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, leaving employees and their families, some of whom have delayed medical care, with financial liabilities.

Gene Therapy May Cure Sickle Cell Disease

With advances in gene therapy, scientists are beginning to talk about a cure in sickle cell disease, The New York Times reported. In a half-dozen clinical trials planned or underway, researchers are testing strategies for correcting the problem at the genetic level. While a handful of the enrolled patients no longer show signs of the disease, it is still early in the course of these experimental treatments, and it is likely to be at least 3 years before one is approved.

Lawmakers, Trump Find Common Ground on Surprise Medical Bills

There’s bipartisan interest in attacking the issue of unexpected medical bills, and the effort has been aided by President Donald Trump, who voiced support last week for protecting patients, The Hill reported. The effort faces obstacles from powerful healthcare industry groups, which want to ensure that they avoid a financial hit from whatever solution lawmakers and the White House put forth.