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Daily Rounds: More Medicaid, Fewer Deaths; Biomed Building Boom; Obamacare Repeal? Labs, Not Lunches

Medicaid expansion may lower death rate, study says (The New York Times) - "Into the maelstrom of debate over whether Medicaid should cover more people comes a new study by Harvard researchers who found that when states expanded their Medicaid programs and gave more poor people health insurance, fewer people died...Medicaid expansions are controversial, not just because they cost states money, but also because some critics, primarily conservatives, contend the program does not improve the health of recipients and may even be associated with worse health. Attempts to research that issue have encountered the vexing problem of how to compare people who sign up for Medicaid with those who are eligible but remain uninsured."

Construction report: 10 projects that will change the innovation landscape in Boston and Cambridge (Innovation economy on boston.com) - "If you drive around Boston and Cambridge, you can't help but notice that the construction cranes are clustered in three neighborhoods these days: Kendall Square, the Innovation District, and Longwood Medical Center. What exactly will be in all those new buildings? Here's my report on ten projects, all currently underway, that will upgrade our city's innovation infrastructure. You'll notice that most of it is being driven by life sciences companies like Biogen and Novartis, and also healthcare delivery institutions like Boston Childrens Hospital. Add it all up, and the cost of these ten projects is just north of $3.2 billion bucks. Wow."

Repeal health care law? Forget about it (CNN) - "The CBO's report reveals the practical hurdles to repeal and underscores a growing pattern in which the key stakeholders — states, medical providers, businesses, insurers and consumer groups — are moving beyond the partisan squabble to the no-nonsense work of building the market place of 2014, where everyone will be able to purchase affordable insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions. Doctors, hospitals, insurers and employers are, of course, bargaining to improve their specific stakes. They harbor reservations and uncertainties, but their general approach is 'mend it, not end it.'"

Pharma should entice Mass. doctors with science, not food (Forbes) - "The ban has been lifted and “modest meals and refreshments are OK.” This is another example where pharmaceutical company sales practices get in the way of the industry’s basic message.  Rather than focusing on the industry’s real mission of discovering and developing new drugs, healthcare professionals in Massachusetts have been arguing over whether the pharma industry can provide their prescribers free meals.  Such a debate doesn’t enhance the industry’s image.  I fully subscribe to the belief that there is real value in communication between doctors and pharmaceutical company representatives.  In fact, each can teach the other in these types of meetings.  But other venues should be sought to make this happen. Perhaps the answer lies in utilizing the laboratories of the pharmaceutical companies."

This program aired on July 26, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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