It’s officially election day. Many of you, dear readers, may be feeling stressed while waiting for the results, so we urge you to pause and consider voting for the names of these newborn lion cubs at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Today in health care, we look at ballot measures across the country that have the potential to dramatically change the landscape of health care.
Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Did someone forward this newsletter to you?
Election metrics to watch on election night
In addition to knowing who represents them in Congress and state legislatures, voters on Tuesday will weigh directly on issues such as abortion, marijuana and vaping.
Here are the metrics we’re watching tonight:
five states will have abortion on the ballot on Tuesday, the most abortion-related ballot initiatives ever in a single year.
The referendums come more than four months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the constitutional right to abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years and returning the issue to the states.
- Voters in Vermont, California and Michigan will decide whether to enshrine the right to abortion in the state constitution, while supporters of Kentucky’s election measure seek to clarify that abortion can be banned in the state.
- Montana, meanwhile, would require health care providers to provide medical care to children “born alive” after an abortion, or risk criminal prosecution.
States Voting on Marijuana Legalization: North Dakota, where voters defeated legalization in 2018; Missouri; Maryland; Arkansas and South Dakota, which previously passed legalization only to have it struck down by the state Supreme Court.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already legalized small amounts of adult recreational cannabis.
Medicaid expansion: South Dakotans will vote on whether to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 42,000 people, against the wishes of state Republicans like Governor Kristi Noem.
If it passes, South Dakota would be the seventh GOP-led state to oppose the expansion to expand coverage through a ballot measure.
Learn more here.
VA will prioritize veterans with cancer for benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will prioritize veterans with cancer when it begins processing claims for benefits under the landmark Toxic Substances Exposure Act signed into law this summer, the Secretary of State announced Monday. the VA, Denis McDonough.
On January 1, 2023, the VA will begin processing benefit claims filed under the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.
- “I am proud to announce for the first time today, on National Cancer Awareness Day, that we are accelerating benefits for veterans with cancer covered by law,” said McDonough. during an appearance at the National Press Club.
- The law, signed by President Biden in early August, extends benefits for millions of veterans who were exposed to toxins during service and who suffer illnesses as a result.
- The legislation names 23 illnesses, half of which are types of cancers, believed to be linked to the burning stoves used in the post-9/11 era and other pollutants and environmental hazards from past wars such as Agent Orange from Vietnam War.
As part of a larger effort: McDonough’s announcement to prioritize claims for veterans with cancer stems from Biden’s “cancer moonshot” initiative, relaunched in February. The effort aims to halve the cancer death rate over the next 25 years and improve the lives of cancer caregivers and survivors.
Close to the house: The program, originally launched when Biden was vice president, is personal to the commander-in-chief, as his son Beau Biden died of glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, in 2015 at the age of 46.
Learn more here.
BIDEN WARNED OF STAFFING ISSUES CAUSING EXODUS OF HEALTH WORKERS
A group of medical organizations warned President Biden on Monday that hospital emergency departments are reaching a “breaking point” as they deal with influxes of patients seeking beds that are not available.
- They warned that the issue of ‘boarding’ – keeping patients admitted to emergency departments due to lack of space – has been brought to a ‘crisis point’ due to understaffing.
- “Our country’s safety net is about to break beyond repair; Emergency departments are jammed and overwhelmed with patients waiting – waiting to be seen; awaiting admission to an inpatient bed in hospital; awaiting transfer to a psychiatric, skilled nursing or other specialized facility; or, simply waiting to return to their nursing home,” the groups said in their letter to Biden.
These growing problems, which have gone unaddressed for decades according to the groups, have led to an increase in provider burnout.
Systemic consequences: They noted that patients who require hospital care but are placed in emergency rooms are often subject to delays and experience increased mortality. Overcrowded emergency rooms also lead to delays in care, such as ambulances being left stranded in hospitals due to a lack of beds at the facility itself.
Learn more here.
PREVALENCE OF DEMENTIA IN ELDERLY PEOPLE FALLS IN MULTI-YEAR STUDY
The prevalence of dementia has increased from 12.2% in 2000 to 8.5% in 2016 among people aged 65 and over, potentially due to rising education rates and falling smoking rates .
The research, which is based on the Nationally Representative Health and Retirement Study, included data from more than 21,000 seniors.
“The reasons for the declining prevalence of dementia are uncertain, but this trend is good news for older Americans and the systems that support them,” said Péter Hudomiet, economist and lead author of the study. “This decline may help reduce the expected strain on families, nursing homes, and other support systems as the U.S. population ages.”
- In addition to the overall decline, the results also detailed reductions in race- and gender-based disparities. While the prevalence of dementia fell by 2.7 percentage points among white males over the 16-year window, the prevalence fell by
7.3 percentage points among black men.
- More women than men suffered from dementia during the study period, but this disparity also narrowed. In 2000, 10.2% of men suffered from dementia compared to 13.6% of women. Those totals fell to 7% and 9.7% in 2016, respectively.
Learn more here.
Manchin Pushes Social Security, Medicare Agreement
Manchin recently highlighted bolstering the solvency of programs like Social Security and Medicare, pushing for action to tackle the nation’s growing debt while discussing areas of common interest in Congress. .
“If we don’t look at the trust funds that are going bankrupt, whether it’s Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the highway, all of those, there are huge problems right now,” Manchin said, a key centrist, at the end of last week. .
Warming up the Republican reception:
Manchin’s comments stand in stark contrast to recent Democratic attacks hammering GOP proposals for Social Security and Medicare in the campaign home stretch before Election Day. And it’s a change that drew early positive reactions from Republicans.
- “I welcome any Democrat who puts partisan fear aside to work with us to ensure Medicare and Social Security return to solvency,” Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.) said. head of the budget and spending task force of the conservative Republican study committee, told The Hill on Monday.
- “As a longtime advocate for Social Security and Medicare protection, Rep. Smucker looks forward to working with his colleagues to save and strengthen both programs,” Rep. Lloyd’s office also said. Smucker (R-Pa.) at The Hill.
Democratic scepticism: As for Democrats, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Monday that the party will work with “anyone who wants to protect Social Security, Medicare and other programs that help Americans and their families prosper,” but he questioned the chances of a bipartisan compromise.
“Unfortunately, I don’t expect Republicans to join us in this commitment to putting people before politics,” he told The Hill.
Learn more here.
WHAT WE READ
- Pfizer’s Covid money powers a ‘marketing machine’ in search of new supernovae (Fortune)
- FDA warns of risks from animal drug xylazine linked to overdoses in humans (CBS News)
- Department of Defense health plan cuts its pharmacy network by nearly 15,000 outlets (Kaiser Health News)
STATE BY STATE
- In Arizona’s race for governor, Kari Lake fans Republican fury over Fauci, fentanyl and gender-affirming care (Stat)
- The wrong strain of flu is spreading faster, making many children and adults sick (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Judges order gives NC 10 years to provide more disability services at home (North Carolina Health News)
May you live in an ‘expert age’
That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. Until tomorrow.
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