MorningRX: August 22, 2023


Poll finds Americans still struggle with health misinformation, CMS release new guidance on out-of-pocket Prescription Drug Cost Program, and experts call for continued masking in health care settings.

Health Misinformation Still an Issue for Many Americans

The majority of Americans still struggle to know whether health misinformation is true or false, according to a new poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. One-third of adults say the claim that COVID-19 vaccines killed thousands of otherwise healthy people is either definitely or probably true, and 24% said it’s probably true that the vaccines cause infertility. Additionally, 20% of adults said it’s probably true that the MMR vaccines have been proven to cause autism in children, while 43% said it’s probably false.

“Most people aren’t true believers in the lies or the facts about health issues; they are in a muddled middle,” KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a release. “The public’s uncertainty leaves them vulnerable to misinformation but is also the opportunity to combat it.”

CMS Issues Guidance on Out-of-Pocket Prescription Drug Cost Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a draft guidance outlining requirements and procedures for the Medicare Prescription Payment Plan, according to a release. The plan is part of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and allows people with Medicare Part D to pay out-of-pocket costs in monthly payments spread out over the year beginning in 2025. The plan aims to reduce the burden of high upfront out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for seniors and people with disabilities.

“For people with Medicare Part D who face high costs early in the year, today’s announcement will ease the burden of out-of-pocket prescription drug costs,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a release. “This is one more example of how the President’s prescription drug bill is reducing costs and increasing access to life-saving medicines for our Medicare beneficiaries.”

Experts Call for Continued Masking in Health Care Settings

A group of experts are calling for continued masking in health care settings due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a commentary published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. In the commentary, the authors said that even though the rates of severe COVID-19 have declined, severe outcomes that disproportionately impact the elderly and those with underlying health issues are still occurring. It is therefore necessary to consider keeping certain public health measures in place to keep those vulnerable populations safe.

“Our appreciation and understanding of both patient and health care system impacts associated with SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses have been reshaped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors wrote. “We should be mindful of continuing areas of uncertainty while integrating the lessons learned into our hospital-based practices to prevent harm to vulnerable patients rather than reverting to suboptimal prepandemic behaviors.”

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