What We're Reading: Greater Campaign Dollars for Lawmakers Who Opposed Part B Demo

What We're Reading, July 11, 2016: US lawmakers who signed letters opposing the Medicare Part B demonstration received bigger monetary support from Big Pharma; e-cigarettes could push adolescents toward smoking cigarettes; and Hillary Clinton says she supports lowering Medicare enrollment age.

Lawmakers who were vocal in their opposition to CMS’ Medicare Part B demonstration proposal received significantly more financial support from the pharmaceutical industry than those who were not. Public Citizen reports that US representatives received 82% greater contributions (a total of $7,236,806 for 310 representatives) for their 2016 campaigns from the pharmaceutical and health products industry if they had signed either 1 of 2 letters that opposed the project. The 124 who did not, received a combined $1,585,857.

The FDA’s recent decision to regulate e-cigarettes could not have come at a more appropriate time. A new study released today in the journal Pediatrics has found that e-cigarette users had a 6-times greater likelihood of initiating cigarette use compared with those who did not use e-cigarettes. Further, the association was much stronger in the adolescent population interviewed for the study. The authors conclude that some of the e-cigarette users are teens who would not have smokes regular cigarettes if not exposed to vapes.

Two weeks before the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton indicated that she supports a “public option” in health insurance. According to The Washington Post, the Clinton campaign released a statement that said she would support allowing people 55 and older to buy into Medicare. The statement also affirmed her support for increased funding for primary-care services at community-based centers in rural parts of the nation. Bernie Sanders is expected to endorse Clinton this week.