Daily Rounds: Curbing Drug Bills; Wanting Medical Tests; Gloomy Young Docs; Your Good Bugs

States seek curbs on patient bills for costly drugs (The New York Times) "Spurred by patients and patient advocates, lawmakers in at least 20 states, from Maine to Hawaii, have introduced bills that would limit out-of-pocket payments by consumers for expensive drugs used to treat diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inherited disorders....The bills aim to counter efforts by health plans to reduce the amount they pay for expensive medicines by making the patients pay a percentage, typically 20 to 35 percent, of the cost."

How human nature drives up health costs (The Boston Globe) "Imagine you are at a dinner party. The conversation turns to medical ailments. Joe says his orthopedist ordered an MRI on his sore back and reassured him that nothing terrible was wrong. Fred says that he also has a sore back, but his doctor told him that he didn’t need an MRI and recommended he take it easy. Fred says he will go see Joe’s orthopedist. Last week’s recommendations by nine medical organizations to rein in medical testing by “choosing wisely’’ would help bring down the costs of health care. But is choosing wisely in our blood?"

Young docs see gloomy future, survey says (Reuters) "A majority of young doctors feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S. healthcare system, with the new healthcare law cited as the main reason, according to a survey released to Reuters on Wednesday. Nearly half of the 500 doctors surveyed think the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, will have a negative effect on their practices, compared with 23 percent who think it will be positive."

Microbiome: How bugs could be crucial to your health (BBC) "Many of these bugs are as essential to your life as your own cells. These microbes have been around since before humans existed, and our bodies have evolved to adapt to their presence just as they have adapted to ours. They are also – to quote one expert – the “last frontier” of medical research, a crucial aspect of our health that scientists rarely considered until recently. It is also one of the most daunting challenges facing biologists today."

More on the microbiome at this NPR report on TEDMED, and here's NPR's initial report on TEDMED.

This program aired on April 13, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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