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Trending News Today: Rare Superbug Fungus May Be Spreading

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Published Online: Feb 12,2018
Davy James, Managing Editor
On Friday, the White House released a 30-page white paper outlining strategies to lower drug costs through reforms to Medicare and Medicaid. The plan, which also seeks to expedite drug approvals while spurring innovation and competition, was met with mixed reviews. "Despite promises to drastically lower prices, the mix of proposed changes does not appear likely to do so, even though there are some constructive proposals," John Rother, CEO of the advocacy group National Coalition on Health Care, told ABC News. The proposal includes measures such as reviving Medicaid rules to remove incentivizes for manufacturers to inflate drug costs, requiring insurers to share manufacturer drug rebates with patients, and altering the rule that requires the Medicare prescription program to cover at least 2 different medications across each drug class, according to ABC News. "And prices will come down substantially," President Donald Trump said in the ABC report. "Watch."

The number of patients in the United States infected with a rare, deadly superbug recently reached 200, up from only 7 infections reported in 2016, according to Kaiser Health News. Candida auris typically enters the bloodstream through wounds, ventilators, or catheters and leaves patients whose health is compromised especially at risk, specifically those in hospitals and long-term care facilities, according to Kaiser. The report notes that C. auris, which acts similarly to a bacterial superbug, is easily transmitted through contact with contaminated surfaces or person to person. Approximately 40% of those infected with the bacteria have died. The current outbreak has mainly been centered in New York and New Jersey, with cases also reported in California, Illinois, and Florida, according to Kaiser.

President Trump’s budget proposal will include approximately $17 billion to combat the opioid epidemic, according to The Hill. The Department of Health and Human Services will receive $3 billion in 2018 and $10 billion for 2019 to expand prevention, treatment, recovery, and mental health services, The Hill reported. The funding follows Trump’s declaration of the epidemic as a public health emergency months ago.