The Health News USA September 22 2017

Overview

  • A U.S. appeals court sided with the beverage industry on Tuesday, granting its request to block a San Francisco ordinance mandating health warnings for soda and other sugary drinks.
  • Health insurance costs continue to take a bigger bite out of many employees’ take-home pay, but the sting is a little worse for 27.1 million workers with employer-sponsored single person coverage.
  • The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they’re banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 22nd of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-california-soda-ruling/u-s-appeals-court-blocks-san-francisco-ordinance-on-soda-health-warnings-idUSKCN1BU24U

A U.S. appeals court sided with the beverage industry on Tuesday, granting its request to block a San Francisco ordinance mandating health warnings for soda and other sugary drinks.
The ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that San Francisco’s ordinance unfairly targeted one group of products. The plaintiffs, including the American Beverage Association and the California Retailers Association, were likely to succeed with their claim that the ordinance was unjustified and violated commercial speech under the First Amendment, the court ruled.
The San Francisco ordinance is part of a growing national movement seeking to curb consumption of soft drinks and other high-calorie beverages that medical experts say are largely to blame for an epidemic of childhood obesity. Many localities also have moved to tax sugary beverages. John Cote, a spokesman for San Francisco’s city attorney office, said the city is disappointed and evaluating all options. Cote said: “San Francisco remains committed to being a leader when it comes to protecting the health of our residents, especially our children.”

San Francisco passed an ordinance in June two thousand fifteen requiring advertisers within the city to include a warning statement that said drinking high-sugar beverages contributed to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. A growing body of research has identified sugary drinks as the biggest contributors to added, empty calories in the American diet, and as a major culprit in a range of costly health problems associated with being overweight. A federal judge had rejected the industry’s request for a pretrial injunction but had put the ordinance on hold pending the result of the appeal.

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The court wrote that the warning is required exclusively on advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages, and not on advertisements for other products with equal or greater amounts of added sugars and calories.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/healthcare-business/2017/09/19/Report-Employers-continue-to-shift-health-insurance-costs-to-workers-Kaiser-Obamacare/stories/201709190120

According to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust,
health insurance costs continue to take a bigger bite out of many employees’ take-home pay, but the sting is a little worse for twenty seven point one million workers with employer-sponsored single person coverage. They have average out-of-pocket maximums exceeding six thousand dollars a year, a six-year high. The majority of workers with employer-sponsored health insurance face out-of-pocket caps in excess of three thousand dollars, a level that’s been ticking up since two thousand thirteen.

….
Despite a six-year run of relatively modest premium increases for people with employer-sponsored coverage, the share of the tab that workers pick up has been rising sharply. It rose seventy four percent to five thousand seven hundred fourteen dollars in two thousand seventeen — a  thirty two percent increase from four thousand three hundred sixteen in two thousand twelve— for family coverage. Workers at firms with fewer than two hundred workers contribute more to their health care benefits — six thousand eight hundred fourteen dollars on average. Employer-sponsored health insurance cost six thousand six hundred ninety dollars for single coverage in two thousand seventeen, eighteen thousand seven hundred sixty four dollars for a family, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, which is up four percent and three percent respectively from a year ago.

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Nationally, fifty five percent of workers are covered by health plans offered by their companies, which is similar to the two thousand sixteen rate. About  one hundred fifty one million Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/09/19/552135830/41-states-to-investigate-pharmaceutical-companies-over-opioids

The attorneys general of forty one U.S. states said Tuesday that they’re banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths. The coalition issued subpoenas seeking information from opioid manufacturers Endo International, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, as well as additional subpoenas to Purdue Pharma. In addition, the group is demanding documents from distribution companies AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said during his press conference announcing the investigation: “Our subpoenas and letters seek to uncover whether or not there was deception involved, if manufacturers misled doctors and patients about the efficacy and addictive power of these drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry already faces dozens of lawsuits brought by cities, counties and states — including Ohio, Missouri and Oklahoma. Some are trying to recoup the costs incurred from the surge in emergency response from spikes in opioid-related overdoses. The strategy is reminiscent of the successful litigation brought by states and municipalities three decades ago against tobacco companies. The opioid drug industry expanded in the nineteen nineties in response to the medical community’s push to better treat pain and chronic pain. millions of opioid users became addicted to opioids, or heroin, after being prescribed the medication by doctors.

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The number of opioid prescriptions has declined in recent years, after federal regulators placed new limits on the drugs. That reduced the amount of opioids prescribed by eighteen percent in two thousand fifteen, from a peak in two thousand teen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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