Daily Rounds: The Cost-Cutting Bandwagon; Pivoting From Lawmaker To Lobbyist; Long-Lasting Birth Control; The Science Of Ketchup

For Hospitals And Insurers, New Fervor To Cut Costs (The New York Times) — “After years of self-acknowledged profligacy, hospitals, doctors and health insurers say there is a strong effort under way to bring medical costs under control. Their goal is to slash the rate of growth in the nation’s $2.7 trillion health care bill by roughly half to keep it more in line with overall inflation. Private insurers, employers and government officials are providing urgency to these efforts, and the federal health care law passed two years ago helped accelerate them. Even if the Supreme Court decides next month to declare the entire law unconstitutional, many experts in the field say the momentum is likely to continue.”

Ex-Senator Returns To State House As Lobbyist (State House News Service via The Boston Herald) — “Less than two years after leaving the state Senate, Steve Panagiotakos is back in the building in a major way lobbying on behalf of health insurers on one of the most closely watched and heavily lobbied pieces of legislation to be proposed this session. Panagiotakos told the News Service on Wednesday that he has been hired by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans to represent the organization at a time when the House and Senate are in the midst of advancing complex legislation aimed at slowing the rate of growth of health care costs. Panagiotakos started with MAHP on May 17, the same day the Senate passed its version of a health care cost containment bill after two days of debate.

Long-lasting Birth Control Cuts Pregnancy Rate (The Wall Street Journal) — “A new study confirms that long-acting forms of contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants are better than birth control pills and patches at preventing pregnancies, giving doctors new ammunition to recommend these methods. The study, to be published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, involved about 7,500 women in a project promoting long-acting birth control to reduce unintended pregnancies. There are an estimated three million unplanned pregnancies a year in the U.S., often because of incorrect or inconsistent use of contraception, and about 1.2 million abortions, according to research cited with the study. The Contraceptive Choice project is being run by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study was funded by the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, a charity of Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.”

MIT Engineers Solve An Every Day Problem: The Backed-Up Ketchup Bottle (NPR) — “We’ve all been there: Banging the back of a glass ketchup bottle, begging it to give you a dollop of the good stuff or battling with a plastic bottle coercing it into giving up the last of its contents. Maybe that will be a thing of the past. Six MIT researchers say they’ve solved that problem as part of an entrepreneurship competition. The result is a bottle coated with “LiquiGlide,” a non-toxic material so slippery that the ketchup or for that matter mayonaisse just glides out when you turn it over.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.