Tuesday Tidbits

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell is expected to be confirmed the week after next. Next week Congress will be on a Memorial Day recess. The Senate Finance Committee will vote on her nomination tomorrow according to the Hill.

The OPM Director Katherine Archuleta touted the success of the Blue Cross multi-state plan in her blog yesterday.  OPM does deserve credit for getting this ACA mandated program off the ground.

A federal judge in Pennsylvania today legalized same sex marriage in that State.  According to the New York Times, “In the last several months, judges have struck down marriage limits in seven states: Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Idaho and, on Monday, Oregon.”  Most of these courts have stayed their decisions pending appeal. The significance of these decisions is that within two years this issue will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Of course this decision would expand the number of FEHBP covered spouses in states that currently ban same sex marriage.

Fierce Heathcare Payer reports on an interesting Commonwealth Fund study suggesting four ways that insurers can combat the rising prices associated with healthcare provider consolidation. Thanks!

Finally, the FEHBlog noticed this Modvive.com article about a study projecting cancer trends over the next 15 years or so. “Presently, lung cancer is already the top killer overall, but pancreatic and liver cancer will surpass the current 2nd (breast and prostate cancer for women and men respectively) and 3rd (colorectal cancer) most deadly cancers.” On the bright side, “the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act signed into law by President Obama last year is expected to provide more attention and resources. Recalcitrant cancers are those with a 5-year survival rate lower than 50%, and include liver and pancreatic cancer.”