Medicare officials tentatively plan to restrict the use of a controversial Alzheimer’s drug to only those patients participating in clinical trials, while the Department of Health and Human Services looks into lowering the monthly Medicare Part B premium. Meanwhile, covid confusion still reigns, as the Biden administration moves, belatedly, to make more masks and tests available. Joanne Kenen of Politico and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more.
Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) dashed the hopes of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats for passage of the giant “Build Back Better” bill before the end of […]
The condition can be an early signal of Alzheimer’s disease, but not always. Other health concerns could be causing thinking or memory problems, and the new drug, Aduhelm, would not be appropriate for those patients.
Lynn Casteel Harper, a minister at the interdenominational Riverside Church in New York City, discusses the spiritual dimension of aging.
The makers of Aduhelm, a drug approved last month despite concerns raised by experts about its effectiveness, have launched a website and ads designed to urge people who are worried about their memory to ask doctors about testing. But some health advocates say it is misleading because some memory loss with aging is normal.
Democrats in Congress reached a tentative agreement to press ahead on a partisan bill that would dramatically expand health benefits for people on Medicare, those who buy their own insurance and individuals who have been shut out of coverage in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Meanwhile, controversy continues to rage over whether vaccinated Americans will need a booster to protect against covid-19 variants, and who will pay for a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel Cohrs of Stat and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Rae Ellen Bichell, who reported and wrote the latest KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” episode about a mother and daughter who fought an enormous emergency room bill.
It could take years for follow-up studies to prove Aduhelm slows the disease — or doesn’t. Meanwhile, its maker will profit.
The potential benefits of Aduhelm are small, its effectiveness is not certain, and even the FDA Thursday shifted its guidance on who should get the drug. But physicians are dealing with an onslaught of interest from patients and their families, and figuring out which patients are best positioned to be helped by the drug will be difficult.
Aduhelm, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last month despite questions about its efficacy, could be prescribed to at least 1 million patients a year, for a price tag of about $56 billion. Experts suggest there might be better ways to spend that money.
The Biden administration is moving to undo many of the changes the Trump administration made to the enrollment process for the Affordable Care Act to encourage more people to sign up for health insurance. Meanwhile, Congress is opening investigations into the controversial approval by the Food and Drug Administration of an expensive drug that might (or might not) slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Kimberly Leonard of Insider and Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. Also, Rovner interviews Marshall Allen of ProPublica about his new book, “Never Pay the First Bill: And Other Ways to Fight the Health Care System and Win.”