Health Care - Sanders aims to lead Senate Health Committee

Health Care – Sanders aims to lead Senate Health Committee

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Today in health care, we get a glimpse of what the 118th U.S. Congress could look like, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vying for chair of a top Senate health committee. health.

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?

Sanders will seek the hammer from the health committee

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is aiming for the top spot on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, his spokesman said Thursday, now that Democrats are about to retain control of the Senate.

As head of the committee with jurisdiction over much of federal health policy, Sanders will have a platform to champion his progressive causes, including his “Medicare for All” proposal.

“As chair of the committee, he will focus on universal health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, improving access to higher education and protecting workers’ rights at work,” said Sanders spokesman Mike Casca.

While progressive politics will not succeed in the GOP-controlled House, Sanders will still be able to convene hearings and cause headaches for health industry executives.

Earlier Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) said he would take over as the top Republican on the House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee next year, establishing Sen. Bill Cassidy (R -La.) to be the ranking member of AIDE.

Learn more here.

Senate passes marijuana research bill

The Senate passed a bill late Wednesday that will expand research into the potential medical benefits of marijuana and CBD.

The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act passed Wednesday by unanimous consent and will now head to President Biden’s office for signing.

The bill is the first stand-alone marijuana bill to pass both houses of Congress. It passed the House in July.

The legislation aims to make it easier for scientists to research medical marijuana and its derivatives. Under the provisions of this legislation, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will be responsible for registering entities that conduct marijuana research and those that supply marijuana.

Registered entities will be permitted to manufacture, distribute, distribute and possess marijuana or CBD for medical research purposes.

  • Until this year, the National Center for the Development of Natural Products at the University of Mississippi was the only licensed research marijuana supplier in the United States.
  • However, the DEA said in 2021 it would prioritize efforts to expand marijuana research and approved six new entities this year, including the Scottsdale Research Institute in Arizona and Royal Emerald Pharmaceuticals in California.

“There is substantial evidence that medicinal products derived from marijuana can and do provide major health benefits. Our bill will make it easier to study how these drugs can treat a variety of conditions, giving more patients easy access to safe medications,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who introduced the bill with Senator Chuck. Grassley (R-Iowa) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Impact: The bipartisan nature of the bill, and the fact that it passed unanimously by both houses, signals a potential shift in how lawmakers view marijuana and marijuana politics.

Learn more here.


Premature births in the United States in 2021 hit their highest level since 2007, according to the March of Dimes Maternal and Child Health Bulletin.

In 2021, 10.5% of babies born in the United States were premature or born before
37 weeks gestational age, a 4% increase from 2020. Only four states saw a decrease in preterm births.

“The toll indicates that the maternal and child health crisis is worsening for all families,” the group concluded, calling the rise in preterm births “disturbing.”

Do worse: The entire United States received a D+ on the report card, one notch below its C- rating in 2020.

  • Vermont was the only state to earn the highest grade, earning an A- with the lowest preterm birth rate in the nation at 8%.
  • Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho all got B grades with premature birth rates approaching 9%, as did New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
  • Nine states, mostly clustered in the Southeast, and Puerto Rico scored an F. Mississippi had the highest premature birth rate at 15%, followed by Louisiana at 13.5% and Alabama at 13.1%.

Learn more here.


There were more than 51,000 home births in the United States in 2021, marking a
12% increase over the previous year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2021 number represents the highest level of home births to have occurred in the country since 1990, the report said.

The percentage of home births for women of all races increased from
1.03% in 2019 to 1.26% in 2020 to 1.41% in 2021.

  • Home births have been rare in the United States since the 20th century, accounting for less than 1% of all births in the 1990s.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend that women give birth at home and instead suggests that expectant mothers give birth in a hospital or licensed birthing center.
  • Planned home births in the United States have been linked to a two- to three-fold increase in infant mortality, according to the AAP.

Learn more here.

Half of young primary care physicians burn out: survey

New findings from a Commonwealth Fund survey raise concerns for a profession already experiencing shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Half of primary care doctors under the age of 55 in the United States report being burnt out, while 61% said they have experienced emotional distress since the start of the pandemic.
  • In addition to these findings, 45% of older U.S. primary care physicians
    55 or older plan to stop seeing patients within one to three years, according to the survey. Before COVID-19, data showed that American medical students were already less likely to pursue careers in primary care, opting instead for specialty fields.

Physicians experiencing stress, emotional distress or burnout were also more likely to say the quality of care they provided declined during the crisis.

These results are similar to previous research, which found that emotional and psychological distress among junior medical staff tended to be higher than among their older peers, even in areas with relatively low COVID-19 rates. , the authors noted.

Worsening shortage: By 2034, it is estimated that the country will face a shortage of 17,800 to 48,000 primary care physicians.

“The survey results have confirmed what many feared to be true,” Commonwealth Fund Chairman David Blumenthal told a briefing. “The pandemic is having an alarming impact on the well-being of our primary care staff, here in the United States and around the world. »

Learn more here.


  • Hospitals often charge the uninsured the highest prices, new data shows (Wall Street Journal)
  • Cancer diagnoses lag after screenings drop during pandemic, US study finds (Reuters)
  • In a Republican-led House, the science agency probe is top of the agenda (Stat)


  • Columbus measles outbreak rises to 24 cases as 9 children are hospitalized (Columbus Dispatch)
  • Oklahoma proposes landmark rule to protect mailed drugs from extreme temperatures (NBC News)
  • COVID in California: Black hairy tongue, an unsightly but common symptom, is getting new attention (San Francisco Chronicle)


Life-saving treatment can curb overdoses – Congress must act now

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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