Weekend update

Thanks to ACK15 for sharing their work on Unsplash.

From Washington, DC,

  • Congress is back home this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. Roll Call has made available a tentative 2024 Congressional calendar.
  • FedSmith reports that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management issued a final 2024 calendar year locality pay rule last week.
    • “For 2024, four new locality pay areas have been established by the final regulations. These are:
      • “Fresno-Madera-Hanford, CA; 
      • “Reno-Fernley, NV; 
      • “Rochester-Batavia-Seneca Falls, NY; and 
      • “Spokane-Spokane Valley-Coeur d’Alene, WA-ID. 
    • “The President will set locality pay rates for these four areas. This usually occurs in late December.”
  • MedPage Today suggests that Medicare coverage of GLP-1 anti-obesity drugs is the key to lower prices. Medicare coverage would benefit FEHB plans with Medicare Part D EGWPs. While Medicare would pay lower prices for these drugs, the FEHBlog doubts that Medicare coverage will help payers without Medicare Part D EGWPs.

From the public health and medical research front,

  • The New York Times states,
    • “Shortly after a baby is born, doctors clamp the umbilical cord linking the infant to the placenta, which is still inside the mother’s uterus, and then cut it. New research shows that if doctors wait at least two minutes after the birth to clamp the cord, they significantly improve in-hospital survival rates for premature infants.
    • “Delayed cord clamping — an intervention that can be introduced at relatively little cost — is believed to help because it allows umbilical cord blood, which is rich in iron, stem cells and antibodies, to flow back to the baby. Some experts say that it’s not entirely clear why the strategy seems to help, but that the data is convincing.”
  • Fortune Well tells us what super-agers can teach us about living longer.
    • “One hundred year-old Maureen Paldo still lives in the same Chicago home that she and her husband purchased when they married after World War II. Paldo, who’s been widowed for about 30 years, says she still manages the stairs, takes walks as often as possible, and loves to have people come to visit. * * *
    • “Paldo is participating in a a large, genetic study of elders, called the SuperAgers Study, to help researchers answer some key questions about life span and health span. It may even lead to a longevity pill that could help more of us live healthier, longer lives.
    • “We still don’t really know why some people live well into their ninth or tenth decades of life with few physical or cognitive problems, while others show decline much sooner. While genetics plays a role, we are still learning about all of protective inherited and natural factors, according to Dr. Sofiya Milman, the study’s chief investigator and Director of Human Longevity Studies at the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. SuperAgers all seem to have the APoE2 gene variant in common, which protects against Alzheimer’s or dementia, but that’s only a partial explanation.
    • “In one analysis, Milman’s team compared the lifestyle of centenarians to the lifestyle of a general population group from the same birth years. Those in the general population group didn’t live as long, despite similar rates of tobacco and alcohol use, diet, and exercise.
    • “What is it that makes the difference?” she asks. “We know enough to know that this is a very valuable group to study because looking at smaller groups of superagers and centenarians have indicated that there’s definitely heritability for healthy aging and healthy longevity.”