Weekend update

From Washington, DC,

  • The Senate is on State work break this week, while the House of Representatives is focusing on electing a new Speaker on Wednesday October 11.
  • The Motley Fool tells us,
    • “The most important day of the year for the more than 66 million people who receive a Social Security benefit each month is nearly here. This coming Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, at 08:30, a.m., ET, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will announce the 2024 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). * * *
    • “Suffice it to say, the 2024 Social Security COLA isn’t going to be anywhere close to [2023’s historic] 8.7%. It will, however, be an above-average boost to benefits.
    • “According to the latest estimate from Mary Johnson, senior Social Security policy analyst at The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), a nonpartisan senior advocacy group focused on advancing issues important to seniors, the program’s COLA is expected to hit 3.2% for 2024. Over the past 20 years, Social Security’s COLA has averaged just 2.6%.”  

From the public health front,

  • The Washington Post informs us,
    • “In a sobering analysis, researchers warn that those who’ve had childhood cancer are highly likely to face physical and mental health challenges later in life, with 95 percent developing a “significant health problem” related to their cancer or treatment by age 45.”In a sobering analysis, researchers warn that those who’ve had childhood cancer are highly likely to face physical and mental health challenges later in life, with 95 percent developing a “significant health problem” related to their cancer or treatment by age 45.
    • “The researchers reviewed 73 studies, including 39 cohort studies that followed patients over time. Publishing their findings in JAMA, they said approximately 15,000 children and adolescents through age 19 are diagnosed with cancer every year and that 85 percent of children now live five years or more beyond their diagnosis. That’s compared with just 58 percent in the 1970s, according to the American Cancer Society.
    • “The research documented a variety of concerns for young cancer survivors, ranging from subsequent hormone issues to reproductive health challenges, problems with muscles and bones, cognitive impairment and more.”
  • The New York Times lets us know,
    • “A new study has an encouraging message for Americans who shy away from Covid shots because of worries about side effects: The chills, fatigue, headache and malaise that can follow vaccination may be signs of a vigorous immune response.
    • “People who had those side effects after the second dose of a Covid vaccine had more antibodies against the coronavirus at one month and six months after the shot, compared with those who did not have symptoms, according to the new study. Increases in skin temperature and heart rate also signaled higher antibody levels”
  • MedPage Today explains why utilizing artificial intelligence may reduce maternal and infant mortality.
    • “For example, “One of the biggest threats to maternal and infant health is the unmet needs within the social determinants of health, which often directly influence mothers’ ability to access healthcare services. If a pregnant woman doesn’t have access to reliable transportation to get her to and from the doctor or lives a significant distance from one, AI can measure how that might impact health outcomes for her and her unborn child. Then, it can flag it for her doctor or health plan so they can help solve these issues before they cause larger problems.
    • “The result? Reduced racial disparities for maternal health, fewer preterm births and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions, and shorter NICU stays.” 
  • Medscape reports,
    • “Once weekly glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) semaglutide (Ozempic, Novo Nordisk) significantly improved A1clevel and body weight for up to 3 years in a large cohort of adults with type 2 diabetes, show real-world data from Israel.
    • “Treatment with semaglutide was associated with reductions in both A1c (-0.77%; P < .001) and body weight (-4.7 kg; P < .001) at 6 months of treatment. These reductions were maintained for up to 3 years and, in particular, in those patients with higher adherence to the therapy.
    • “Avraham Karasik, MD, from the Institute of Research and Innovation at Maccabi Health Services, Tel Aviv, Israel, led the study and presented the work as a poster at this year’s annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).”

From the U.S. healthcare business front

  • Forbes reports
    • “Uber Health is partnering with UnitedHealth Group’s Optum health services business to make paying for ancillary benefits like ride share and product delivery easier for seniors via the Uber app.
    • “Health plan benefit cards, including health spending account (HSA) and flexible spending (FSA) cards, can be added as a form of payment within the Uber app,” Optum and Uber said in statement released Sunday during HLTH 2023 in Las Vegas. “This payment option can then be used to cover eligible expenses, including health related rides (like non- emergency doctor visits), over-the-counter items and healthy food.”
  • Per Healthcare Dive,
    • “Rite Aid on Wednesday said it has failed to meet the New York Stock Exchange’s continued listing standards. The retailer is no longer in compliance with NYSE standards on minimum stock price and market capitalization. The NYSE listing standards require a $1.00 average closing share price over a 30 trading-day period. 
    • “As of midday Thursday, Rite Aid’s stock was trading at about 50 cents on the NYSE. Rite Aid now has 10 business days to formally confirm if it will seek to regain compliance and six months to do so. But the company said it, “can provide no assurances that it will be able to regain compliance with the NYSE’s continued listing standards.”
    • “News that Rite Aid faces delisting comes weeks after reports emerged that the company, which has $3.3 billion in debt, may seek to close up to 500 of its 2,200 locations as part of a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.”