Daily Rounds: 63% Support MA Reform; Melanoma Drugs; More 'Tiered' Plans; E. Coli In Sprouts?

Support for Massachusetts universal health care law rises - The Boston Globe Support for the Massachusetts universal health care law has increased since 2009, according to a poll of the state’s residents — even as the law has become the subject of blistering attacks in national and presidential politics, and health care costs soar. The poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and The Boston Globe found that 63 percent of Massachusetts residents support the 2006 health law, up 10 percentage points in the past two years. Just 21 percent said they were against the law. Yet opposition has grown to one of its central elements — the requirement that people who can afford insurance buy it or face a fine. Forty-four percent said they oppose the mandate in the Massachusetts law, compared with 35 percent who opposed it in a 2008 poll. Still, the mandate retains the support of a narrow 51 percent majority of residents. (

Studies Find Two New Drugs Effective Against Advanced Melanoma - CHICAGO — Two new drugs have been found to prolong the lives of people with advanced melanoma, representing what researchers say is notable progress against the deadly skin cancer after decades of futility.
The drugs represent success in two new approaches to combating cancer: one by attacking a specific genetic mutation that accelerates tumor growth; the other by unleashing the body’s immune system to fight the disease “This is an unprecedented time of celebration for our patients,” Dr. Lynn M. Schuchter, a melanoma specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, told reporters Sunday in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where the results were presented. The drugs do not cure melanoma, except perhaps in rare cases. But experts said they might add two to several months to the expected lifespans of people with advanced melanoma. (

More Massachusetts health insurers launching tiered plans - The Patriot Ledger BOSTON — Two more of the state’s largest health insurance companies are getting ready to join Blue Cross Blue Shield in offering so-called tiered insurance plans under which premiums are lower, but consumers pay more to be treated at high-cost hospitals. Blue Cross Blue Shield started offering its two-tier plan in January and says about one-third of its small-business clients have been switching over to that plan as their insurance contracts come up for renewal. Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care now say they will offer their own tiered plans before the end of the year. The tiered plans represent a way for insurance companies to deal with hospitals charging widely varying rates for the same procedures. Consumers have been largely unaware of the discrepancy because they typically face the same co-payment, no matter where they go. (

Germany: Sprouts Likely Cause Of E. Coli Outbreak : NPR Initial tests have confirmed that bean sprouts grown in northern Germany are the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that has killed at least 22 people and sickened over 2,200, an agriculture official said Sunday. Different kinds of sprouts from one organic farm in the greater Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be traced to infected persons in five different German states, Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann told reporters. "There were more and more indications in the last few hours that put the focus on this farm," Lindemann said at a press conference in Hannover. "Many restaurants that suffered from an E. coli outbreak had those sprouts delivered," his spokesman, Gert Hahne, told The Associated Press. (

This program aired on June 6, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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