What We're Reading: Mandate Repeal Uncertainty; Destroying Antitrust Evidence; PTSD After Cancer

The White House indicated willingness to leave the individual insurance mandate in place in tax reform legislation; California health system Sutter Health was accused of intentionally destroying 10 years of records related to an antitrust lawsuit; and a new study indicates over 1 in 5 patients develops posttraumatic stress disorder in the months after a cancer diagnosis.

White House Willing to Leave Individual Mandate in Place

The tax reform bill released by Senate Republicans last week includes a provision that would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, but White House officials have indicated that this provision could be eliminated if it becomes a barrier to getting tax reform passed. "If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we're OK with taking it out," said Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to the New York Times. The House’s version of the bill does not affect the individual mandate.

Sutter Health Accused of Intentionally Destroying Evidence

A California judge has accused Sutter Health of deliberately destroying 192 boxes of papers related to an antitrust lawsuit against the health system, Kaiser Health News reports. The lawsuit brought by employers and labor unions alleges that Sutter violated unfair competition laws and charged inflated prices. Sutter, which owns 12 prices and reported nearly $12 billion in revenue last year, has been cited as an example of how healthcare consolidation can allow large hospital chains to increase their prices in noncompetitive markets.

Study Shows 1 in 5 Develop PTSD in Months After Cancer Diagnosis

According to a study published in Cancer, almost 22% of patients diagnosed with cancer developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within 6 months of their diagnosis, and 6% still reported symptoms 4 years later. A STAT article about the study noted that the patients were all in Malaysia, but quoted experts who said similar outcomes were likely in the United States. They recommended improved psychological follow-up and attention to identify and treat emotional trauma brought on by the stress of diagnosis.