What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), June 9, 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.

In the Spotlight

“‘How long have I got?’: Why many cancer patients don’t have answers”

Via USA TodayFor patients near the end of life, talking about their goals and values can help people avoid unwanted medical interventions, said Dr. Rachelle Bernacki, associate director of the Serious Illness Care Program at Ariadne Labs, a health care research center led by Dr. Atul Gawande. Read More »

Affordable Care Act

“Senate Republicans are closer to repealing Obamacare than you think”

Via Vox.comThe votes still aren’t there, but a path has opened to get them. Republicans have negotiated for a month inside back rooms of the Senate. They plan no public hearings on the legislation. Some of their members are eager to vote soon, acknowledging that public pressure against the bill is only likely to grow as the summer wears on.

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“Key GOP centrists open to ending Medicaid expansion”

Via The HillGOP moderates in the Senate are open to ending federal funding for ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, but want a longer deadline for ending the additional funding than their leadership has proposed.

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) have proposed a seven-year phase-out of federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, beginning in 2020 and ending in 2027.

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Cancer Policy

“8 things doctors are buzzing about at the biggest cancer meeting”

Via The Washington PostPartly because of the possibility of expensive combination therapies, many doctors are fretting about costs and whether their patients will be able to afford promising new drugs. Already, they say, ‘financial toxicity’ is hitting some patients hard.

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“Quantity Over Quality? Minorities Shown To Get An Excess Of Ineffective Care”

Via Kaiser Health NewsMinority patients face a double whammy: Not only are they more likely to miss out on effective medical treatments than white patients, but, according to a new study, they’re also more likely to receive an abundance of ineffective services.

The study, published in the June issue of Health Affairs, examined 11 medical services identified as “low value” by the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely initiative. That program pinpoints unnecessary, overused medical tests and treatments in an effort to reduce waste and avoid needless risk in the health care system.

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“#ASCO17: Patient Engagement Improves Survival Outcomes”

Via ASCO ConnectionSimple interventions can make huge differences. In this case, something obvious as giving our patients the means to let us know how they are doing, coupled with the infrastructure to act on this information, not only made them feel better, but produced a survival advantage that paralleled (maybe even surpassed) the latest treatments being celebrated on the main stages across ASCO.

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Coping with Cancer

“When Your Personal War On Cancer is Exhausting”

By Susan Gubar on New York Times Well BlogWhile dealing with a chronic or terminal condition, however, some people decide to reject medical options that damage the life left to be lived. Those who cease and desist should not be considered cowards, deserters, losers or quitters. Conscientious objectors, they have made their separate peace — if not with cancer, then with their living and their dying. Wearied by treatment fatigue, they want their remaining days or months to consist of more than a war against cancer.

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