What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), April 14, 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

Published this week, Elisabeth Rosenthal’s An American Sickness: How Healthcare became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back describes the business of health care and how it fails patients. See her interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, as well as her tips for consumers to avoid unnecessary costs.

“How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business”

“Headed to the doctor? Ask these 6 questions to avoid unnecessary bills.”

Affordable Care Act

“Trump dangles Obamacare payments to force Dems to the table”

Via Politico“Major health care and business groups — including the Chamber of Commerce, one of the Obamacare’s harshest critics — are growing increasingly anxious over the fate of the subsidy program. In a Wednesday letter, a broad coalition warned of a potential calamity if Trump doesn’t immediately rescue the subsidies.”

“Obamacare ‘Death Spirals’ Aren’t Going to Happen”

Via Fortune“President Donald Trump is fond of saying that he will simply let Obamacare ‘explode’ (or implode, then explode). But the health law’s marketplaces are actually becoming more stable and may even churn out profits for some participating health insurers by 2018, according to a new Standard & Poor’s report.”

“How GOP Voters Are Getting in the Way of a Medicaid Rollback”

Via The Atlantic“Before the ACA expansion, Medicaid served few working adults. That made it easy for critics to disparage it as a welfare program for poor families often implicitly portrayed as non-white. Now Medicaid not only serves more working-class adults, but also provides a lifeline to those mostly white, lower-income, rural, and small-town communities beset by rising health challenges and contracting economic opportunity.”

Cancer Policy

“What Precision Medicine Can Learn from the NFL”

Via Forbes“With the upcoming NFL draft, it hit us–rival franchises compete bitterly on the field every Sunday, yet have developed a structure that enables the entire enterprise to flourish, and profit. What if a similar philosophy could be brought to precision medicine, encouraging data sharing so that drug development and discovery are accelerated, while still allowing for competition and profit?”

“The federal panel that opposed prostate cancer screening just changed its mind”

Via The Washington Post“This is not a recommendation that says men should go get screened. This is a complex decision. Some men will want to avoid the chance of dying of prostate cancer no matter what, while others, given the side effects, will not think the benefits are worth it,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an internist at the University of California at San Francisco.

“Doctor: Why the new direction on prostate cancer screening”

Via CNN.com“Hopefully, we will all embrace shared or informed decision-making. Some men who are concerned about prostate cancer will elect to be screened, and others who are less concerned will not; doctors should support either decision. Once diagnosed, hopefully patients and their physicians will not rush into treatment but explore and consider all reasonable options,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society.

Coping with Cancer

“At the End of Life, A Way to Go Gentle”

Via New York Times Well Blog — Our friend Dr. Susan Gubar discusses Dr. Jessica Zitter’s recent book, Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life. Dr. Gubar writes, “In place of hope for recovery, Dr. Zitter emphasizes, ‘the miracle of time at home, of pain management, of improved quality of life. These are all concepts I’ve seen families embrace in place of survival – the only concept of hope previously imagined.”

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