What We're Reading: Health Agencies Could Change; Pandemic Gaps Highlighted; Cigna Seeks to Cut Overdoses

A Trump plan to consolidate government would change responsibilities of FDA, HHS, and other agencies; a new website spotlights gaps in pandemic preparedness; health insurer Cigna announced a plan to reduce opioid overdoses.

Trump Plan Would Alter Government Agency Responsibilities

The FDA would become the Federal Drug Administration under a proposal from the Trump administration that would fundamentally change its mission, in a wide-ranging plan to overhaul and consolidate government agencies. STAT reported that most of the responsibility for regulating food safety would transfer to the Department of Agriculture, while some of that department's food assistance programs would be aborbed by HHS, which would be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare. The Hill reported that within the new health department, a Council on Public Assistance would oversee food stamps and Medicaid, and have the power to impose uniform work requirements.

Former CDC Director Highlights Gaps in Pandemic Preparedness

A new tool spotlights gaps in pandemic preparedness and actions that countries and organizations can take to close them, The Washington Post reported. The new website is the initiative of Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, the former CDC director under former President Barack Obama and current chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, part of Vital Strategies, a New York-based public health nonprofit organization. PreventEpidemics.org gives an individual score to each country and uses color codes to rank the world by 5 levels of preparedness.

Cigna Announces Plan to Reduce Opioid Overdoses

Cigna announced an initiative focusing on 4 states—Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia—to reduce drug overdoses 25% by 2021 in certain communities hit by the opioid epidemic, The Hill reported. The health insurer picked communities where a large number of their customers live, and where higher-than-average rates of drug overdoses are occurring. The effort will also focus on metropolitan areas of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.