This week’s Innovation Partners BioBlog takes a look at the legislation moving through the government now to fund research, treatment and more. Senator Warren is proposing additional subsidies for healthcare insurance, while the new budget bill increases funding for research, drug treatment and mental healthcare. These stories and more in this week’s BioBlog.


Medical Research, Drug Treatment And Mental Health Are Winners In New Budget Bill

The new $1.3 billion plan, which will fund the government through September, includes provisions for new funding for medical research, addiction treatment, and mental health care. The Senate is expected to vote on it soon. While it does not stabilize the Affordable Care Act, the bill does provide hope as well as funding for projects that will ease the minds of many. Special attention is on the opioid crisis as well as an increase for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Texas Oncology, Aetna Collaborate to Improve Patient Care Through Clinical Pathways

Texas Oncology and Aetna partnered to provide better patient care through Clinical Pathways, a payer sponsored program that uses evidence-based treatment pathways. 746 Medicare Advantage patients enrolled in the program. These patients had nine common cancer diagnoses. Over the course of 3 years, the cumulative cost savings were $3,033,248 with savings growing each year. The results point to positive outcomes and future applications.

White House report: Health insurers see profits boom under ACA, even as premiums rise

Health insurance companies are anticipating a respectable and healthy profit margin all the white premiums and Medicare payments are increasing. A White House report in which the Council of Economic Advisers states that health insurers are doing fine under the ACA raises questions about the long-term impact of the act. Health insurers feared hits to their profits under the changes.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces bill to make ACA plans more affordable, tighten controls on private payers

Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a new bill, the Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act, to increase subsidies and make health insurance plans more affordable under the ACA. The plan proposes that people spend more more than 8.5% of their total income purchasing plans under the act. The plan proposed by Warren also aims to make subsidies easier to obtain.

Mayo Clinic uses analytics to filter out meaningless data for ICU physicians

When time is of the essence, too much data can be as bad as too little data. The Mayo Clinic has created a method of filtering thousands of data points down to 60 critical points needed by ICU physicians. They used an “ambient-intelligence” applications licensed by system’s venture capital arm. The new system frees up approximately one hour of time per day for each physician, which enables them to spend more time in person with patients.

ASCO Commends Congress for Passing Largest NIH Funding Increase in 15 Years

ASCO President Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, congratulated congress on passing the largest bi-partisan NIH funding increase in 15 years. The increase includes $5.9 billion allocated to the National Cancer Institute. Within that figure is $300 million authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act.

Cigna-Express Scripts Deal Poses Challenges to Insurers

Express Scripts currently has 51 health plan clients, according to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans. Ten of those are Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated plans, which could opt to go with Anthem’s in-house PBM — IngenioRx — once it debuts in 2020. If the deal goes through, some of the PBM’s health insurer clients will have to decide whether to keep working with an entity now owned by a fellow payer.