Forty-four Percent of Americans Skipped a Needed Doctor Visit Because of Cost
So says the new national poll on consumer perceptions of health care from NORC at the University of Chicago and the West Health Institute. Other findings were equally tough: “It’s shocking and unacceptable that medical bills strike more fear in the hearts of Americans than serious illness,” said Shelley Lyford, President and CEO of West Health. The new findings were presented at the Aging In America Conference earlier this week. Read more in Forbes and Next Avenue, and download the issue brief.
A Medicare Rule Seeks to Crack Down on Opioids
A new rule expected to be approved in April says that Medicare will no longer pay for long-term, high-dose opioid prescriptions. The New York Times reports that 1.6 million patients currently have prescriptions that would be effected. Reason articulates the concerns of critics with its headline: “New Medicare Rule Promises Needless Suffering for Pain Patients.” For a great roundup of recent headlines on this rule and other opioid-related news, check out Kaiser Health News.
Citizenship, Immigration and Caregiving
The White House’s policies on immigration are sparking concerns among experts and older people who know there’s a massive caregiver shortage on the way and that immigrants increasingly fill the role of paid caregivers. Kaiser Health News captured the concerns in this highly shared story (If you’re not up-to-speed on the crisis in caregiving, Robert Espinoza of PHI offers a good overview in this piece for The Hill.) Also this week, the Commerce Department announced the 2020 Census will include a question on citizenship status, raising concerns that immigrant communities will be under-represented. A number of states have already announced law suits to fight the decision.Vox broke down the Census issues in this overview.
A New Pill for Aging?
Every time you turn around it seems that someone is trying to “cure” aging… This week offered a couple new studies to consider. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder published a study that found a new supplement called NR delays physiological aging in the same way as calorie restricting. “The idea is that by supplementing older adults with NR, we are not only restoring something that is lost with aging (NAD+), but we also could potentially be ramping up the activity of enzymes responsible for helping protect our bodies from stress,” lead study investigator Chris Martens, Ph.D. told Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. Harvard Medical School also released research recently on a new therapy—this one for vascular aging. Though only tested on mice, the treatment “restores blood vessel growth, muscle vitality, boosts exercise endurance,” according to their report (and there’s a video, which helps translate the science!).
Conference Week in San Fransisco
Many people who work in aging and longevity gathered this week in San Francisco for the ASA’s Aging in American conference, which is the largest multidisciplinary event in the field. General sessions covered technology, Alzheimer’s Disease, senior poverty and population health, and the agenda included the What’s Next Boomer Business Summit and 2018 Diversity Summit. Next Avenue‘s featured session brought together four industry leaders to offer high-level insights on the state of our field. Daily wrap-ups are available on ASA’s blog.