The Food and Drug Administration unveiled changes to food labels at the White House Thursday. Among the proposed changes in what FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg calls “new and improved, more user friendly” labels:
• Calorie counts will be in bigger, bolder print than other facts.
• Grams of added sugars, whether they come from corn syrup, honey, sucrose or any other source, will be shown in one number.
• Serving sizes will reflect portions people typically eat, as shown by studies — meaning they will be bigger than serving sizes are now on many products. Therefore, foods and drinks that people typically consume in one sitting — such as 20-ounce bottles of soda — will be labeled as single servings.
• “Calories from fat” will be gone, while total fat, saturated and trans fats remain, reflecting science showing the type of fat people eat is more important than the amount.
• Labels will list vitamin D and potassium instead of vitamins A and C, reflecting shifting concerns about common deficiencies in American diets.
The main question is whether the changes will actually lead more consumers to read and use the information to eat fewer calories and watch their consumption of everything from sugar to sodium and fiber.
You can read the FDA’s proposed changes here.
Senator Nordquist’s bill passed unanimously (43-0) to create a Health Care Data Base Advisory Committee in Nebraska. This is a major step toward providing Nebraska citizens with better data about the health care system.
Read more here.
Some of the most promising experiments to improve quality of care while cutting expenses are taking place at the local level.
Read the full story here
The UNMC Center for Health Policy released a report today describing the state of the cancer workforce in Nebraska. In reviewing workforce numbers over a five-year period, (2008-12), we found that the number of adult cancer physicians increased by 24.7 percent, while the number of pediatric cancer physicians actually decreased by 1.2 percent during that time. Our report also provides other supportive data including trends and characteristics of the workforce including physicians, NPs, and PAs. We conclude the report by outlining several policy and organizational options for improving the oncology workforce in Nebraska.
You can access the press release here.
Here is a direct link to the full report.
“Being the only state still with the power to set rates at all of its hospitals, Maryland is no stranger to health experimentation. But the state took another big step forward on Friday with the announcement that the federal government will allow the state to tie increases in hospital spending to economic growth—a bold challenge for a sector of the economy that has typically far outpaced the broader economy.”
Read the full story here.
Across the country, most state legislators will be wrestling with the following:
Medicaid, income tax revisions, minimum wage, public pensions, immigration, safety net programs, higher education, employee compensation, transportation funding, and drones. Other issues that could be big are abortion, fracking, GMOs, privacy, social impact bonds, and autonomous vehicles.
Read the full story here.
“The latest rule will allow consumers with a canceled health plan to claim a “hardship exemption” if they think the plans sold through new federal and state marketplaces are too expensive. The ability to get an exemption means that the administration is freeing these people from one of the central features of the law: a requirement that most Americans have health insurance as of Jan. 1 or risk a fine. The exemption gives them the choice of having no insurance or of buying skimpy “catastrophic” coverage. Until now, the law allowed people younger than 30 to buy catastrophic coverage — an exception to the law’s benefit rules in an effort to attract young adults who have been particularly prone to avoiding coverage in the past. The law also has allowed hardship exemptions for people 30 and older who could not afford the regular coverage.”
Read the full news story here.
Here is a link to Healthcare.gov with a description of this change and a link to the hardship exemption form.