What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), December 1, 2017
What Caught Our Eye is our week-in-review blog series, where we recap the cancer policy articles, studies, and stories that caught our attention.

Affordable Care Act

“JCT says Republican tax plan will add $1 trillion to the deficit”

Via New York Times — The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation released their report. Find out more about the implications of the tax bill.
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“Without Obamacare mandate, ‘You open the floodgates’ for skimpy health plans”

Via New York TimesThe drive by Senate Republicans to repeal the individual mandate would result in higher premiums and lower the number of Americans covered. Many consumers would likely turn to the cheap, short-term policies that already skirt provisions of the law and may not cover pre-existing conditions or basic medical needs.
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“Republicans to vote on tax bill today that includes repeal of the individual mandate”

Via PoliticoSenate Republicans were quickly winning over key hold-outs on their massive tax overhaul Friday, even as they frantically rewrote the multi-trillion-dollar legislation and few details were public just hours before a vote.
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“CBO says Obamacare fix wouldn’t do much if individual mandate is repealed”

Via CBS NewsIf a bill to fix Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments were paired with a repeal of the health care law’s individual mandate, the CSR fix wouldn’t do much to lower premiums or increase coverage, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says.
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Get America Covered

If you have coverage through HealthCare.gov, a state run ACA Marketplace, or off-Marketplace coverage, the headlines this year likely have filled you with anxiety. Was health care repealed, is your coverage at risk, are premiums going to be higher? Rest assured: the Marketplace is opening for business on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, and if you enroll you can count on your coverage through the end of 2018.
Find out more at getamericacovered.org »


Cancer Care

“FDA Approves First-Of-A-Kind Test for Cancer Gene Profiling”

Via AP HealthThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Foundation Medicine’s test for patients with advanced or widely spread cancers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed covering it.
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“Replacing lymph nodes to ease painful legacy of cancer care”

Via Stat NewsToo often women aren’t warned about symptoms or checked for early signs, when lymphedema is more easily treated, said Dr. Sheldon Feldman of New York’s Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care. He co-authored physician guidelines issued this fall by the American Society of Breast Surgeons on prevention and treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema.
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Health Policy

“A Hospital Charged $1,877 to Pierce a 5-Year-Old’s Ears. This Is Why Health Care Costs So Much.”

Via ProPublicaTwo years ago, Margaret O’Neill brought her 5-year-old daughter to Children’s Hospital Colorado because the band of tissue that connected her tongue to the floor of her mouth was too tight. The condition, literally called being “tongue-tied,” made it hard for the girl to make “th” sounds.

It’s a common problem with a simple fix: an outpatient procedure to snip the tissue.

During a pre-operative visit, the surgeon offered to throw in a surprising perk. Should we pierce her ears while she’s under?
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“Seven Ways Patients Can Protect Themselves From Outrageous Medical Bills”

Via ProPublicaA doctor offers a surgical add-on that leads to a $1,877 bill for a young girl’s ear piercing. A patient protests unnecessary scans to identify and treat her breast cysts. A study shows intensive-care-level treatment is overused.

ProPublica has been documenting the myriad ways the health system wastes money on unnecessary services, often shifting the costs to consumers. But there are ways patients can protect themselves.
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