Archive for December, 2016

Health Wonk Review & other news worth noting

Friday, December 2nd, 2016


Many folks are still trying to understand the potential impact of the recent election and our health wonks are no exception. Hank Stern hosts this week’s edition at InsureBlog, and in aiming for a palate cleanser, he chooses a soothing theme: Health Wonk Review: Puppies and Kittens edition. Despite the soft veneer, there’s a lot to chew on. Unsurprisingly, the future of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare is much on the minds of the wonks. Check it out!

A few other new items that recently caught our attention:

OSHA’s reporting rule is on target – for those who were hoping for an injunction in implementing OSHA’s reporting rule, no luck. A Texas judge denied the injunction. Attorney Matthew C. Cooper has the legal scoop at National Law Review: OSHA Reporting Rule Now In Effect – Injunction Request Denied. Sandy Smith at EHS offers more on what the ruling means where the rubber meets the road: Are You Ready for Recordkeeping? Last Hurdle To Implementation Removed

Undocumented workers – In Business Insurance, Joyce Famakinwa reports on another legal ruling:
Comp benefit cap for undocumented workers struck down:

“A limit on workers compensation benefits for undocumented workers is unconstitutional because it prevents them from being eligible for the same comp benefits afforded to legally employed workers in the state, the Tennessee Supreme Court says.”

Traumatic brain injuries – The Sun-Sentinal reports that Former NFL players file civil suit asking NFL to recognize brain injury disease for workers’ comp:

Retired athletes from South Florida are trying to make the National Football League recognize a traumatic brain disease — linked to repeated head injuries — as an occupational hazard that would be covered by workers’ compensation.
Lawyers for the former NFL players filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale against the league and NFL teams, including the Miami Dolphins, on behalf of more than 140 retired players who may have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, known as CTE.

Also ee Andrew Simpson’s report in Insurance Journal: NFL Players with CTE Sue to Force Teams to Pay Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Trump’s Cabinet – Joan Lowy and Jonathan Lemire of Insurance Journal look at Elaine Chao’s past record as labor secretary under President George W. Bush and how it might impact her approach as head of transportation in Trump’s Transportation Chief’s Record Signals Slowdown in Safety Regulation:

Among the pressing issues facing the next transportation secretary will be how to boost the nation’s aging infrastructure so that it can accommodate population growth and not become a drag on the economy, modernizing the nation’s air traffic control system, ensuring that new transportation technologies are adopted in a safe manner and responding to a surge in traffic fatalities.

Whether it’s integrating drones into the national airspace, deploying self-driving cars or “some other new technology, she’s not going to be especially inclined to second-guess the industry when they say that this will be safe,” McGarity said.

Healthcare CEOs Opine on the ACA – Harris Meyer of Modern Healthcare reports on a recent survey in CEO Power Panel: No repeal without replace

Healthcare CEOs, Paulus among them, are willing to consider Trump’s healthcare reform ideas. But they have strong concerns about whether his plan would match the ACA’s performance in expanding coverage and slashing the uninsured rate to less than 9%, according to Modern Healthcare’s post-election Power Panel survey, which got responses from 93 of 123 CEOs contacted. Leaders of large hospitals and health systems are disproportionately represented on the panel, but the participants also include CEOs of insurers, suppliers and technology companies, as well as associations representing sectors across the industry.
Beyond the ACA, the CEOs surveyed stressed the need for action to curb the growth of prescription drug prices, with 60% saying that should be a top priority for the new administration and Congress.

Brave new world: Robots Are Growing Tons of Our Food. Here’s the Creepy Part. – Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

“You don’t see self-driving cars taking over American cities yet, but robotic tractors already roar through our corn and soybean farms, helping to plant and spray crops. They also gather huge troves of data, measuring moisture levels in the soil and tracking unruly weeds. Combine that with customized weather forecasts and satellite imagery, and farmers can now make complex decisions like when to harvest—without ever stepping outside.”

Quick takes