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HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS
Fourth Relief Package Passed
It’s hard enough to keep up with the day of the week, much less which relief package Congress is currently considering. We’re here to help make sense of what’s happening on Capitol Hill during these unpredictable times. Last week, Congress approved a fourth package totaling $480 billion to help small businesses and hospitals and expand testing for the coronavirus.
Cancer Survivors Have Higher Risks from COVID-19
Early this week, a study that compared cancer and non-cancer patients in China with covid-19 was published and presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Virtual Annual Meeting. While the study was small, the findings showed that cancer patients — especially those with blood or lung malignancies, or tumors that have spread throughout the body — have a higher risk of death or other severe complications from COVID-19 compared with those without cancer.
Supreme Court Ruling on Risk Corridor Case
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of insurers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridors case. The ACA included so-called risk corridor payments to compensate insurers for the risks that they might bear from participating in the marketplaces without knowing who would purchase coverage. If medical costs exceeded the premiums collected, an insurer would be eligible for payments from the federal government. After Congress refused to appropriate the funds for the risk corridor payments, several insurers sued. Justice Sotomayor, writing for the majority, said that the government was bound by a simple principle of honoring its commitment as spelled out in the ACA. The insurers will receive the payments now. Health experts have already raised questions about how the payments will be distributed among insurers.
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WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Bipartisan Health Experts Send Letter to Congress
In an NPR interview, Scott Gottlieb, former head of the FDA, and Andy Slavitt, who led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under Obama, talk about their plan to reopen the U.S.
CHART OF THE WEEK
Business Insider compiled data from the COVID Tracking Project, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the US Census Bureau to show how COVID-19 deaths over time compare with other common causes of death in the US: heart disease, cancer, bad flu seasons, and car crashes.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Dr. Esserman gives advice on what options are available to cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, “Don’t panic…There is time to learn about your options and sort out what is right for you.”
Doctors Olazagasti and Duma discuss disparities in COVID-19 patients with cancer. They say that the popular statement, “we are all on the same boat,” isn’t true for many Americans.