Happy Labor Day!

Congress returns to Capitol Hill tomorrow. The current federal fiscal year ends on September 30, and Congress goes out on the campaign trail just about at the same time.  

Later this month, the Office of Personnel Management will announce 2017 FEHBP premium changes. 
In other news over the weekend,
  • The Society for Human Resource Management released a useful employer survey on health care benefit costs. Cost curve continues up.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports on a new class of ovarian cancer drugs. 

The drugs, known as PARP inhibitors, are thought to help the body slow the disease’s progression by helping to prevent cancer cells from repairing themselves after chemotherapy treatment, thereby shrinking tumors and delaying relapses.

The drugs don’t work in everyone, and are thought to have the greatest effect in women with mutations of the BRCA genes, who represent about 15% of ovarian-cancer patients. But recent research, still ongoing, indicates that the drugs may benefit an additional 35% of patients with different genetic profiles. 

“We’re not seeing cures, but we’re seeing patients benefit in a really major way,” says Dr. Robert Coleman, a gynecologic oncologist and PARP researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “The question is, can we expand [the drugs] to more patients?”

  • CNN reports on why scientists reconstructed the genome of a 6th Century AD plague that killed 25 million people in Europe.  That’s a good question.