Nysha Recent News

For richer, higher care cost—and quality

August 15, 2016

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette


A recent report in Health Affairs builds on the decade-plus trend in slowing healthcare costs.  According to the report, the cost of care has actually been shrinking since 2004 for the lowest of five income classes.  But the report also found that the average annual healthcare costs for the middle class held relatively steady during that time—while the highest class continues to see rapidly rising costs.

The researchers write that the findings “could represent a shift from need-based to income-based receipt of medical care,” fearing that they “might presage deepening disparities in health outcomes.”

Despite ‘Vision Zero,’ NYC cyclist deaths up

The loss of fit 78-year-old Michael Schenkman of Queens this August 24 marked New York City’s 16th cyclist fatality due to auto accident in 2016.  Riders using a record number of bike lanes across the city’s five boroughs still keep clashing with motor vehicles, despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero long-term speed- and accident-reduction plan.

City sets primary-care change goal

The Big Apple’s healthcare leaders rolled out an ambitious goal in August: to have 80 percent of the city’s primary care practices adopt the medical home care model by year 2020.   In contrast to traditional doctors’ offices, the medical home model centers on team-based care.  There are nearly 10,200 primary care providers in New York City today, with about 25 percent currently recognized as medical homes.

New York Silver plans jump in 2017

For Year 2017, monthly premiums for the lowest-cost ObamaCare Silver individual plan sold in New York City will rise 22.9 percent, according to rates newly released by the state Department of Financial Services.  The rest of the state won’t fare much better, with the average increase for a Silver plan being 16.6 percent.  However, over half of individuals who enroll qualify for tax credits that reduce final cost; the new enrollment period begins Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2017.

Feds Award $53 Million to Fight Opioid Epidemic

On August 30, the Obama administration announced $53 million in grants to help states fight the opioid abuse epidemic while also calling on Congress to allocate another $1.1 billion toward the effort, MedPage Today reported.

“These grants we’re announcing today are an important step forward, and we hope Congress will take the next step,” U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell said on a conference call with reporters.

Study: Why do medications cost so much?

High prescription drug prices are attributable to several causes, including the approach the U.S. has taken to granting government-protected monopolies to drug manufacturers, and the restriction of price negotiation at a level not observed in other industrialized nations, according to a study appearing in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The increasing cost of prescription drugs in the United States has become a source of growing concern for patients, prescribers, payers, and policy makers.  In the United States, prescription medications now comprise an estimated 17 percent of overall personal health care services.

According to the study, drug prices are higher in the United States than in the rest of the industrialized world because the U.S. health care system allows manufacturers to set their own price for a given product. 

Hillary Clinton releases mental-health agenda

The presidential campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton released a plan on August 29 to tackle gaps in the country’s mental health system, once again using President Barack Obama’s health care law as a starting point for further reforms.  Like Obamacare, Clinton’s plan aims to put mental health on the same level as physical health care in terms of how it is paid for by insurance companies.