Senator Beckers Legislation Would Limit Insurers’ Ability To Change Medications During Plan Year

first_imgFor TheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS—A Columbia City physician told a Senate committee how a diabetic patient’s health was jeopardized when, because of insurance, medication to manage pain was changed to opioids.“Now she is on opioids that make her dialysis even more difficult,” said Dr. Lisa Hatcher said as she testified Wednesday before the Senate Health and Provider Services Committee about Senate Bill 97.Dr. Lisa Hatcher and Sen. Vaneta Becker discuss a bill that would limit an insurers’ ability to change a patient’s medications. Photo by Zach Roberts, TheStatehouseFile.comThe bill, authored by Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, would prohibit health maintenance organizations or other health insurance providers from modifying an individual’s coverage on a drug during the plan year.Becker said the bill is necessary because while under insurance and being prescribe to one drug it shouldn’t be changed to another drug.Hatcher said she has patients whose health is affected when insurers mandate changes to prescription medications she has ordered. In the case of the diabetic patient, the insurance company declined to cover the cost of the nonopioid medication but would pay for opioids.“This bill advocates for our patients in an effective matter,” Hatcher said.Proponents of SB 97 said that changing a stable patient’s drug in the middle of the year is unfair and can lead to bigger risks because of new drug interactions. It can lead to an increase in emergency room visits, doctors’ visits and an overall hike in medical bills.However, an insurance representative said insurers look for lower-priced drugs to reduce costs for all patients.“We do believe it will increase health care costs,” said Heather Willey, an attorney for CVS Caremark. SB 97,  if it passes, could hike costs between $2.3 and $5.2 million.The committee delayed action on the bill and needs more discussion.FOOTNOTE: Kiara Calloway is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Legislation Would Limit Insurers’ Ability To Change Medications During Plan YearBy Kiara Callowaylast_img read more

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Without a champion Europa lander falls to NASAs back burner

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Country Without a champion, Europa lander falls to NASA’s back burner Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Email An artist’s concept of the Europa lander, which is meant to probe the icy moon for signs of life. NASA/JPL-Caltech center_img After years of being pushed by the U.S. Congress to follow the Europa Clipper, a spacecraft that will survey Jupiter’s frozen moon, with a lander, NASA has begun to push back. The agency disclosed today that the lander mission, if it happens, will now come no earlier than 2030, 5 years later than Congress mandated. And the agency will be challenged to meet the 2023 launch date set for the Clipper.Thanks to the watery ocean beneath its icy crust, Europa has loomed for several decades as a prime target in the search for life outside Earth. But unlike the $3 billion Europa Clipper, a flagship NASA mission under development that will conduct periodic flybys of the moon, the Europa lander has not been rated as a high-priority mission by planetary scientists. Instead, support for the lander was largely marshaled by former Representative John Culberson (R–TX), who, until his election defeat in 2018, led the U.S. House of Representatives spending panel that oversees NASA.The lack of consensus scientific support, and the fact that a 2025 launch would require the lander to be designed before the Clipper observed the moon’s surface, have been driven by the “unattainable” timeline imposed by Congress, NASA’s Office of Inspector General concluded in a report today. Instead of moving ahead with the lander, the report suggests, NASA should delay the project until it can be considered during the next decadal assessment of NASA’s planetary science, led by the National Academy of Sciences and scheduled for 2022. By Paul VoosenMay. 29, 2019 , 4:05 PM Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) In comments included with the report, NASA’s science office in Washington, D.C., led by Thomas Zurbuchen, noted that a reassessment of the lander, conducted last month for planning its 2021 budget request, “resulted in an estimated launch date of no earlier than 2030.” This launch date, it said, would allow time to reduce technical risks and permit the decadal survey to consider the mission. “Technology development will continue as funding allows,” the science office adds. But in the meantime, many of the personnel who had been developing the lander have transitioned to other priorities, the agency said.For this fiscal year, Congress gave NASA $195 million to spend on developing the lander, with a launch required by 2025. Earlier this year, NASA requested no additional money for the lander in its proposed budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins 1 October. With Culberson gone, the new head of science spending in the House, Representative José Serrano (D–NY), did not fully reverse course: Although the 2020 spending bill being considered by the House includes no money for the lander, it directs NASA to include “adequate funding” in its 2021 budget request for continued R&D in support of the lander.Postponing the lander could benefit the strained workforce at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, which manages both the Clipper and the lander, along with the Mars 2020 rover. JPL has struggled to put enough technical staff on the Clipper project, the inspector general reported: In December 2018, the Clipper workforce was understaffed by 10%, with vacancies in science instruments and avionics. The cost projections for the mission were also overly optimistic, the report says; such cost overruns prompted Zurbuchen to cancel development in March of one instrument, a magnetometer. Instead, the mission will use a cheaper, less capable instrument.Congress has also mandated that the Clipper use NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), its long-delayed heavy launch rocket. Using the SLS would allow the Clipper to shoot directly toward Jupiter, arriving 4 years earlier than if launched on a commercial rocket. The agency will struggle to launch the rocket before 2021, the report notes, and it has ordered two missions to Earth’s moon but not a third flight of the rocket. As a result, the report concludes, “We do not see a possibility for Clipper to launch on the SLS by 2023,” as now planned.In its 2020 budget request to Congress, NASA stated that it would prefer to launch the Clipper on a commercial vehicle, such as the Delta IV Heavy or the Falcon Heavy, which would save $700 million. Now, the Europa Clipper team is keeping options open to fly on the SLS or an alternative rocket. But the mission is coming close to finalizing its designs and starting to build hardware, and it will need certainty by this summer, the report says. “Keeping both the SLS and commercial launch vehicle options beyond [this time] creates added risks and uncertainties for an already challenging project.”last_img read more