What We're Reading: Mining Your Health Data; Little Awareness of Trump Drug Plan; Wilkie Confirmed for VA

Data-broker companies are mining your credit card purchases, social media habits, online surveys, store loyalty programs, and other bits of information to create your profile and sell to companies interested in making inferences about your health status; 2 months after President Trump released a plan to lower drug prices, most Americans haven’t even heard about it; the United States Senate approved the president's latest pick to lead the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), confirming Robert Wilkie as the next secretary 86 to 9.

Your Health Data Online: Purchases, Habits Mined and Sold to Create Picture of You

Most Americans Have Not Heard of Trump Drug Plan

Data-broker companies are mining your credit card purchases, social media habits, online surveys, store loyalty programs, and other bits of information to create your profile and sell to other companies interested in making inferences about your health status, an article in Kaiser Health News explained. While it would be illegal under patient privacy laws for medical providers to reveal such information, no comparable privacy law exists for information gleaned from other sources.Two months after President Trump released a plan to lower drug prices, most Americans haven’t even heard about it, a new poll from POLITICO-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows. Only about 1 in 4, or 27% of adults say they have heard or read about Trump’s prescription drug plan, and of those, just 37% believe it will lower the prices Medicare pays for prescription drugs, while 42% think it will work for the country overall. On another health topic, Americans think the Trump administration needs to spend more money to help people with opioid use disorder.

Senate Votes to Approve Wilkie to Lead Veterans Affairs

The US Senate approved President Trump’s latest pick to lead the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), confirming Robert Wilkie as the next secretary 86 to 9. The New York Times reported that Wilkie is taking over a department in turmoil. The VA which has struggled for years to provide timely and efficient care, has been without a leader since David J. Shulkin was fired in March. The department is dealing with thousands of job vacancies and staff turnover while trying to figure out how to make it easier for veterans to take their benefits to private doctors.