Policy experts look at curbing healthcare spending by encouraging comparison shopping in exchange for cash back; the home healthcare industry worries about immigration policy changes; the promise of a universal flu vaccine is still elusive.
Shopping for care and getting money back is gaining more acceptance, Kaiser Health News reported. The practice began with some state health plans and is now being discussed more widely among some policy makers and in the private sector as a way to curb healthcare spending by steering patients to more cost-effective providers for non-emergency care.
The home healthcare industry is worrying there won't be enough workers to care for the nation's growing number of senior citizens, NPR reported. Congress and the White House are mulling immigration policy changes, including the administration's proposals for restricting legal immigrants, that could affect the industry. The policy change that would hurt the industry the most targets family reunification, according to the nonprofit sector representing long-term care. Others in favor of making immigration policy changes say such issues could be avoided if wages were increased and workers were treated better.
The United States is still a long way away from a universal flu vaccine, STAT reported. Scientists say many questions have to be answered before a vaccine can realistically be developed that can target all strains of the flu. Meanwhile, the CDC reported last week that the flu season appears to be waning.