Midweek Update

Good news! The Wall Street Journal reports today that

The cancer death rate in the U.S. dropped 2.2% from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop ever recorded, according to the latest report from the American Cancer Society, continuing a longstanding decline that began a quarter-century ago.

The drop is largely driven by progress against lung cancer, though the most rapid declines in the report occurred in melanoma. Advances in treatment are helping improve survival rates in the two cancers, experts say.

More good news from Health Data Management

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and several member health insurers pilot tested the program, called the Fast Prior Authorization Technology Highway (Fast PATH), to improve the [physician-detested prior authorization] process. The initiative will rely on technologies of Availity and Surescripts to accelerate the exchange of prior authorization requests, responses and information exchange.

Healthcare Dive informs us about a Kaiser Family Foundation study finding that the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces have stabilized even though the individual mandate has been zeroed out. That doesn’t surprise the FEHBlog because the FEHB Program has waived pre-existing conditions without any individual mandate for over 60 years. What’s more the Administration’s individual coverage health reimbursement accounts should feed more people into the marketplaces over time.

The FEHBlog’s favorite podcast, Econtalk, features an interview with computer scientist Melanie Mitchell, who discusses her book about the state and future of artificial intelligence. It’s a helpful discussion for lay people like the FEHBlog who hear artificial intelligence bandied about.

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