News Clips from My In-Box

An assortment of informational articles arriving at my in-box which I have reviewed and found to be interesting. Quite a bit of healthcare this time which I believe can be accessed by readers at Angry Bear.

Tennessee won’t incentivize Covid shots — but pays to vax cows – POLITICO, August 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee has sent nearly half a million dollars to farmers who have vaccinated their cattle against respiratory diseases and other maladies over the past two years.

But Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who grew up on his family’s ranch and refers to himself as a cattle farmer in his Twitter profile, has been far less enthusiastic about incentivizing herd immunity among humans.

How businesses save thousands by replacing single-use plastic — Quartz (

Switching from single-use disposable items, like plastic utensils and paper cups, to reusable items is better for the environment. It also saves businesses money.

The problem is that now there is more disposable waste in the world than we know what to do with. There is an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic alone in the environment, and 79% of all plastic ever made still exists in our waters and landfills. Nine percent are in the recycling stream. The remaining 91% are being incinerated.

Swimming caps for natural Black hair are banned from the Olympics — Quartz (

Soul Cap, a UK firm started four years ago, had applied to FINA last year, ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, for its headwear to be officially approved. Its founders had started the company because they saw that people with “volume-blessed” hair—and in particular Black people who sported their hair in Afros, dreadlocks, and weaves—struggled to wear ordinary swim caps. Soul Cap’s headwear is more capacious, and comes in sizes up to XXL.

“We’d sent a variety of our sizes to FINA,” a Soul Cap spokesperson said. “But we were actually rejected on registration, which meant we couldn’t even appeal their decision.” FINA ruled that international swimmers “never used, neither require to use, caps of such size and configuration.” Soul Cap’s headwear, the ruling said, did not follow “the natural form of the head.”

8 worst states for healthcare in 2021 (

WalletHub ranked states by healthcare costs, accessibility and outcomes in 2021. The personal finance website examined 44 healthcare measures when ranking the states.

The site also ranked the best states for healthcare.

US hits 70% vaccination rate—a month late, amid a surge | Modern Healthcare

The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot into 70% of American adults. This is coming a month late and amid a fierce surge by the delta variant that is swamping hospitals and leading to new mask rules and mandatory vaccinations around the country.

In a major retreat in the Deep South, Louisiana ordered nearly everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public settings, including schools and colleges And other cities and states likewise moved to reinstate precautions to counter a crisis blamed on the fast-spreading variant and stubborn resistance to getting the vaccine.

Why Does the Myth of the Confederate Lost Cause Persist? – The Atlantic

For some Americans, history isn’t the story of what actually happened; it’s the story they want to believe.

Most of the people who come to Blandford Cemetery, in Petersburg, Virginia, come for the windows—masterpieces of Tiffany glass in the cemetery’s deconsecrated church. One morning before the pandemic, I took a tour of the church along with two other visitors and our tour guide, Ken. When my eyes adjusted to the hazy darkness inside, I could see that in each window stood a saint, surrounded by dazzling bursts of blues and greens and violets. Below these explosions of color were words that I couldn’t quite make out. I stepped closer to one of the windows, and the language became clearer. Beneath the saint was an inscription honoring the men “who died for the Confederacy.”

Prescription Drugs, Global Health, And More | Health Affairs (free access)

Drug utilization management exemplifies the escalating battle between payers seeking to contain costs and suppliers seeking to maximize sales and profits, with patients and clinicians caught in the middle. Scott Howell and coauthors review the literature and conclude that the combined costs to these parties amount to approximately $93.3 billion per year, which they call “one of the most counterproductive uses of resources in the US health care system.”

ASC sues to block hospital’s ‘anticompetitive’ acquisition: 5 details (

“Marion HealthCare, a surgery center with orthopedics, gastroenterology, general surgery and more, filed a lawsuit July 29 to challenge Southern Illinois Hospital Service’s planned purchase of Harrisburg (Ill.) Medical Center. The surgery center cited President Biden’s July 9 executive order to enforce antitrust laws written to prevent “excessive concentration of industry,” particularly in healthcare.

The effect of the proposed acquisition on the … primary and corollary product markets would be to substantially reduce competition in those markets, limiting alternative, competing providers of hospital and ambulatory surgery services, thereby potentially raising costs to patients, reducing choice of institutional providers and physicians, and further, causing antitrust injury to Marion HealthCare,” Marion HealthCare claims in the lawsuit.”

I wonder if this is more a test of whether Biden’s Executive Order will hold up in court? This could have far reaching consequences for presidential executive orders.

August 3, 2021 – by Heather Cox Richardson – Letters from an American (

A study from the Niskanen Center think tank shows that the expanded Child Tax Credit, which last month began to put up to $300 per child per month into the bank accounts of most U.S. households with children, will primarily benefit rural Americans and will give a disproportionately large relative boost to their local economies. According to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, “the…nine states that will gain the most per capita from the expanded child allowance are all red states.”

xpostfactoid: ACA enrollment under ARPA: The view from near 100% FPL (and San Antonio)

“The ACA’s tragic coverage gap confronts poor people in the 12 states that have refused to date to enact the ACA Medicaid expansion with a cruel logical absurdity: they may earn too little to qualify for government-supported health coverage.  Adults in households with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level (100% FPL) do not qualify for subsidized coverage in the ACA marketplace.”

Andrew Sprung is writing about the healthcare insurance gap between non-expansion Medicaid states and expansion Medicaid states. The former is at 100% of FPL and the latter is 138% to obtain healthcare coverage coverage. Those in the gap can not obtain coverage.

Economic Value and Treatment Decisions for Patients | Gastroenterology | AMA Journal of Ethics | AMA Ed Hub (

Introduction: “Physicians’ primary responsibility is to promote patients’ well-being, which includes not causing financial harm. Physicians also have duties to prudently steward health care resources. Balancing these responsibilities requires recommending interventions likely to achieve patients’ health goals while avoiding unnecessary expenditures. Cost-effectiveness data should be used to inform population-based conceptions of an intervention’s value and are not intended to be used by individual clinicians offering recommendations to individual patients. Cost-effectiveness data should be incorporated into patient–clinician conversations about an intervention’s affordability and its influence on adherence to a care plan, as these are key promoters of evidence-based practice, value-based care, and optimal outcomes.”

If you have read some of my posts on Angry Bear, you will find I have discussed pharmaceutical pricing and the ICER which reviews pricing and pricing increases of pharmaceuticals (I this case). Concerning me is the growth using of value based care justifications without reviewing the costs of the drug, etc.