Biden Appoints Leader of Cancer Moonshot

Vice President Joe Biden has chosen his close advisor and political coordinator Don Graves to lead the cancer moonshot research initiative task force. Graves has personal experience with the disease having had a cancerous tumor removed and undergone radiation treatment only last year. He has stated that his mission will be to convince researchers and advocates to work together in order to facilitate faster progress in the search for a cure for cancer.

New Estimates Show Drop in Uninsured

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health Interview Survey, the national rate of uninsured has fallen from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 9.1 percent during the first nine months of 2015, a historic low. Eight states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and New York – saw a statistically significant drop in their number of uninsured residents during the time period. With the exception of Florida, each of these states have expanded their Medicaid programs since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The uninsured rate for adults in Medicaid expansion states was 10 percent, versus 17.3 percent in non-expansion states. Approximately one-quarter of people surveyed who were poor or near-poor still lacked health insurance, as compared to 7.7 percent of people who were not poor.

Senate Finance Releases Comments on Chronic Care Options Paper

The Senate Finance Committee has released the comments submitted in response to the Committee’s Chronic Care Working Group policy options paper. Last May, the Committee launched a bipartisan initiative to examine ways to improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with one or more chronic conditions. In December, the working group released a report outlining ways the Medicare program might better deliver health care to these patients. The Committee received 327 comments, which can be found here.

Walgreens Launches Effort to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

Last week, Walgreens announced that it will begin installing drug disposal stations for customers to throw away their old or unneeded prescriptions. The national pharmacy chain will also make naloxone, a drug used to counter overdoses, available without a prescription in at least 35 states. The announcement was made at an event in Washington, D.C. attended by Michael Botticelli, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, who praised the company for its efforts to curb the abuse of prescription drugs.

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