New Drug Price Bill; ‘Overlapping’ Suicide Risk; Wearables Talk

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New Drug Price Bill; ‘Overlapping’ Suicide Risk; Wearables Talk

What it does: Allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices, places caps on drug prices, limits out-of-pocket drug costs for beneficiaries to $2000, makes vaccines free for beneficiaries, and provides additional assistance to lower-income seniors.

Pass by budget reconciliation: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hopes the bill will pass by the end of July with a process known as budget reconciliation. To be successful, all 50 Democratic senators must support the bill, and it needs a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.

Caveat: The bill must get past Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who can strike portions of it. Democrats are not expecting large changes, however, inasmuch as they have proposed similar changes in the past.

Six themes emerge: The most common overlaps include an incapacity to work due to deterioration of physical health, substance use that was jeopardizing employment, the interaction between mental health and work-related problems, relationship conflicts that affect work, legal problems, and increased financial stress.

Compounded by the pandemic: Study authors suspect the results would have been different had the pandemic not happened. They are waiting on more data to examine that idea.

Context: Doctors have the highest suicide rate of any profession. The 2022 Medscape Physician Suicide Report found that 22% of physicians reported having suicidal thoughts, up from 14% in 2019.

Healthcare workers who are experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Challenges ahead: Authors of the study say there is a lot of work to be done to figure out how consumer wearable devices relate to health outcomes and how physicians can integrate data into practice.

Other considerations: How physicians discuss wearable devices with patients, the influence of wearable devices on healthcare utilization, whether wearable devices contribute to disparities in healthcare, and whether they could be used to mitigate disparities.

Kaitlin Edwards is a staff medical editor based in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter @kaitmedwards. For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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