Trending News Today: UPMC Health Plan, AstraZeneca Enter Value-based Contract for Heart Drug

Top news of the day across the health care landscape.

A new American Lung Association report said that the FDA is failing to protect youth from e-cigarettes, CNN reported. According to the article, the association’s State of Tobacco Control report criticized the agency for the lack of regulation for e-cigarette products. When graded by the association for its efforts, the agency received a D in coverage for quit-smoking programs and Fs for both taxation and regulation policies, but was awarded an A for media campaigns, the article reported.

UPMC Health Plan has entered into a value-based contract with AstraZeneca for its Medicare members taking ticagrelor (Brilinta), a drug used to prevent heart attack, stroke, and other heart problems, The American Journal of Managed Care reported. According to the article, the value-based agreement will tie reimbursement to patient outcomes. UPMC Health Plan will pay less for the drug if it fails to prevent a heart attack or stable angina within 12 months of a patient’s first attack, the article reported.

House Democrats will begin to hold hearings on expanding Medicare this spring and will aim to pass a bill by the end of next year, Reuters reported. According to the article, John Yarmuth, chairman of the House Budget Committee, told Reuters that the most feasible option may be passing legislation that expands Medicare to all those above 50 or 55 years of age. Yarmuth said he is waiting for an assessment from the Congressional Budget Office that will help lawmakers understand which variables are needed to consider expanding Medicare, the article reported.