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Pence: No Change To Medicare

Finally there is good news for about 57 million Americans, tons of insurance companies, and thousands of insurance agents nationwide!

Early this month Vice President-Elect Mike Pence made it clear that the Trump administration will not be pursuing any changes to Medicare health insurance.  This is refreshing news as America has weathered 6 years of turbulent times in the health insurance market.

When asked about renewed calls from House Speaker Paul Ryan and others to change Medicare, Mike Pence clearly stated a Medicare overhaul that others are wanting to enact- is not an option on the table.

What seems to be in the works:   Changes to Medicaid, which is a joint state-funded and federally-funded program, that would put more control of designing Medicaid in the hands of states- where it should be.

The United States is a republic of 50 states with 50 different populations and each state controlling their own options for their residents makes the most sense.  Source:  Fiscal Times.

CDC Advisory: No Live Flue Vac

The Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee has said the Live Attenuated influenza vaccine, (LAIV) FluMist, that is licensed for use in people ages 2-49 years old should not be used during the 2016-17 flu season.  “Their decision was based on data showing that the effectiveness of LAIV from 2013 through 2016 was poor and/or lower than expected, according to a CDC media statement.(www.cdc.gov).”

“In late May, the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network released preliminary study data on the effectiveness of LAIV in children ages 2-17 during the 2015-16 influenza season that showed the estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) against any flu virus was 3 percent (with a 95 percent confidence interval [CI] of -49 percent to 37 percent).

“This 3 percent estimate means no protective benefit could be measured,” said the media statement…

“The agency said other non-CDC studies also supported this conclusion that LAIV was far less effective than IIV (inactivated influenza vaccine) this past flu season. The ACIP followed up its overall recommendation against use of LAIV with a vote to specifically recommend that the Vaccines for Children program also should not provide LAIV this upcoming flu season.

“AAFP liaison to the ACIP Margot Savoy, M.D., M.P.H., of Wilmington, Deleware, ‘From an evidence-based medicine perspective,’ Savoy said this decision is clearly the right thing to do…In fact, Savoy said, ACIP members discussed the fact that even with needle-phobic, vaccine-hesitant patients, LAIV still could not — in good conscience — be recommended.”  Source: American Academy of Family Physicians.

Bottom Line Issued on E-Cigs, etc.

The US Surgeon General has issued a Bottom Line report on E-cigs and other tobacco forms used by America’s youth and young adults.

“In response, the AAFP joined the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the AMA in expressing support for the report.

“‘As leading medical organizations representing, collectively, 630,000 physicians across the country, we join together today to applaud Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., for issuing the first comprehensive federal government review of the public health impact of e-cigarettes on youth and young adults in the United States,’ said a joint statement from the five medical organizations.

“The report found that although nicotine is a highly addictive drug at any age, youth and young adults are uniquely vulnerable to the long-term consequences of exposing the brain to nicotine, and it concluded that youth use of nicotine in any form is unsafe. The report also found that secondhand aerosol exhaled by e-cigarette users can expose others to potentially harmful chemicals.

“‘All Americans need to know that e-cigarettes are dangerous to youth and young adults,’ said Murthy in a Dec. 8 news release.(www.hhs.gov) ‘Any tobacco use, including e-cigarettes, is a health threat, particularly to young people.'”  Source:  Family Medicine Smart Brief.


Real ACA Data Released

The Heritage Foundation has taken actual enrollment data from Medicaid and private insurance companies to clear up and see the real picture of Obamacare enrollments.

It has been found that just over 14 million people gained coverage from the end of 2013 to the end of 2015. Out of those 14 million people:

11.8 million gained their insurance through states’ Medicaid expansions and other Medicaid programs.

Enrollment in the individual/family health insurance market:  Added  5.9 million people.

Self-insured employer health insurance market:  Added 3.9 million people.

Fully-insured employer group health insurance market:  Lost 7.6 million people.

Resulting in a Net Gain in private market coverage:  2.3 million people.

Medicaid enrollments nationwide:  10.4 million people now have coverage offered in states due to those states’ Obamacare Medicaid expansions.

State Medicaid program enrollments: states that didn’t have a Medicaid expansion due to Obamacare have added  1.4 million people.

So, 84%  of of coverage gains from Obamacare actually came from Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Programs, not individuals seeking private insurance that they themselves found affordable.  Sources:  Heritage Foundation.