OPM announced today steps to boost federal hiring to address the Zika virus. The OPM blog post notes that

Like all Americans, Federal employees who plan to travel for business or personal reasons in the upcoming weeks and months may be understandably concerned. My advice is to visit the State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Travelers’ Health websites for the most updated travel information. This CDC website also details preventive measures you can take to protect yourself against Zika if you do plan to travel to one of the affected areas. The locations with ongoing Zika virus transmission are likely to change over time, so be sure to check back to these websites before each trip you are planning to take.

Several years back, the New York Attorney General successfully took up the cudgel against health insurer use of the commonly used out of network fee “reasonable and customary” fee schedule then in use.  According to a Fierce Pharma report, that Attorney General now is tangling with health insurers over Hepatitis C drug coverage. The Attorney General believes that eligibility for the expensive drugs should include members who are in the chronic / asymptomatic as well as the acute / sympotomatic stage of the disease.

Unsurprisingly, the health insurance industry is not pleased about the recent probe. The New York AG’s subpoena “is overly broad and does not take into account evolving guidance related to these new therapeutic classes of drugs,” Leslie Moran, a spokeswoman for the industry group New York Health Plan Association, told the news outlet.  And some of the blame should be placed on drugmakers, rather than insurers, Moran said. The latest investigation “does not take into consideration the impact of excessive and unsupported pricing of these drugs–which has a negative impact on affordability of coverage,” Moran said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

The FEHBlog will be following this fight.

The FEHBlog is interested in genomic developments.  The Wall Street Journal this morning included an interesting opinion piece by two medical specialists titled “Genetics and Mental Illness – Let’s not get carried away.” It’s worth a read.  

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