The Health News USA March 10 2018

  • The health insurance giant Cigna said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a $52 billion deal that could further reshape the roiling health care landscape. The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidations that is sweeping through the healthcare industry. Companies are reacting to concerns over rising health care costs and the possibility of powerful new rivals entering the fray.
  • An outbreak of sexually transmitted disease is hitting the Milwaukee area, and an alarming percentage of the patients are teenagers. According to The Journal Sentinel, at least 125 people — including some high school students — have contracted HIV, syphilis or both in one of the largest sexually transmitted infection “clusters” discovered in the city.  Less than 10% of the 125 people who tested positive are Milwaukee Public Schools students, but health care experts anticipate the number of cases could go up.
  • Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday passed what is likely to be the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, making the procedure illegal after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. The House voted 75-34 in favor of the measure, and Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign it. The owner of Mississipi’s only abortion clinic has said she’ll sue if the bill goes into law — a move lawmakers not only know to expect, but seem to be encouraging, in hopes of eventually getting the nation’s highest court to revisit its rulings and allow states to begin restricting abortion earlier in pregnancy.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 10th of March 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/08/business/dealbook/cigna-express-scripts.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

The health insurance giant Cigna said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit manager, in a fifty two billion dollar deal that could further reshape the roiling health care landscape. The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidations that is sweeping through the healthcare industry. Companies are reacting to concerns over rising health care costs and the possibility of powerful new rivals entering the fray. In particular, Amazon’s move into the health care business has forced established companies to rethink how they can compete.

Cigna and Express Scripts said the acquisition would benefit consumers by allowing the two companies to bring together patients’ medical and pharmacy histories to improve treatments and lower costs.

The completion of the deal would mark the end of Express Scripts as the last major independent pharmacy benefit manager, one that has focused on striking deals with drug companies to lower costs for insurers and employers. The company is responsible for the prescription plans of more than eighty million Americans.
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In recent years, the model of a pharmacy benefit manager has also come under scrutiny. The pharmaceutical industry, among others, argues that benefit managers are profiting from higher drug prices by keeping a percentage for themselves. The Trump administration made a similar argument in February, noting that the top three benefits managers controlled eighty five percent of the market.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2018/03/08/shock-in-milwaukee-over-cluster-outbreak-hiv-and-syphilis-including-babies-and-teens.html

An outbreak of sexually transmitted disease is hitting the Milwaukee area, and an alarming percentage of the patients are teenagers. According to The Journal Sentinel, at least one hundred twenty five people — including some high school students — have contracted HIV, syphilis or both in one of the largest sexually transmitted infection “clusters” discovered in the city.  Less than ten percent of the one hundred twenty five people who tested positive are Milwaukee Public Schools students, but health care experts anticipate the number of cases could go up.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a “cluster” as “an unusual aggregation, of disease that are grouped together in time and place.” Most of those who were tested in the group were men and forty five percent were HIV positive. Information about which school or schools are affected by the cluster has not been released. Even more concerning, health officials confirmed in a tweet that three local babies were also born with syphilis.

The Milwaukee Health Department released a statement that the entire city is experiencing an increase in sexually transmitted infections in young people ages fifteen to twenty four.
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In an effort to create public awareness, and prevent further spread of disease, the Milwaukee Health Department is launching a campaign on the city’s public transit system to inform riders about sexually transmitted diseases.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mississippi-passes-law-banning-abortion-after-15-weeks-n854941

Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday passed what is likely to be the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, making the procedure illegal after fifteen weeks of pregnancy. The House voted seventy five-thirty four in favor of the measure, and Governor Phil Bryant has said he will sign it.

The owner of Mississipi’s only abortion clinic has said she’ll sue if the bill goes into law — a move lawmakers not only know to expect, but seem to be encouraging, in hopes of eventually getting the nation’s highest court to revisit its rulings and allow states to begin restricting abortion earlier in pregnancy.
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There are two exceptions to House Bill one five one zero: if the fetus has a health problem that would prevent it from surviving outside the womb at full term, or if the pregnant woman’s life or a “major bodily function” is threatened by the pregnancy. Pregnancies as a result of rape and incest are not exempt. A number of states, including Mississippi, have already tiptoed up to the viability line with twenty-week bans, although the U.S. Senate earlier this year rejected such a ban nationwide when supporters couldn’t reach a sixty-vote supermajority to act.
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According to state Department of Health statistics, eighty five percent of abortions in Mississippi took place before twelve weeks in two thousand sixteen. But Diane Derzis, who owns the clinic, has said the clinic does provide abortions until about eighteen weeks after pregnancy. Most of Mississippi’s two thousand five hundred abortions in two thousand fifteen took place at the clinic.

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