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This Week In Public Health: Red State Chops For Trump's CMS Pick, Quitting Smoking In Your 60s

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This week - President-elect Trump's pick to run Medicare and Medicaid helped shape health policy in Indiana - is it a harbinger of what's to come? ... Quit smoking when you're older and it still might reduce your chances of getting sick. ... The price of one drug jumped 5,241 percent in 5 years, and its rise isn't the only one.  ... These and more ...

Trump Picks A Behind-the-Scenes Indiana Consultant To Run Medicaid, Medicare

 “She is a smooth operator, and very, very persuasive,” one Indiana state legislator says of the woman Trump has picked to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “But the question now becomes, ‘What will be her marching orders as they relate to Medicare and Medicaid?’” Verma helped oversee Indiana's Medicaid expansion, reports Side Effects' Jake Harper, but what will she do with the nation's largest health care programs?

 

It's Never Too Late To Quit Smoking, Even In Your 60s

Many people who spent decades smoking may feel there's no point to quitting smoking once you reach old age, but researchers have something to tell them: "It's never too late," says Sarah Nash, an epidemiologist who helped with new research that says people in their 60s who quit smoking are less likely than their tobacco-smoking peers to die. Katherine Hobson reports on the study for NPR.

What Product Saw A 5,000 Percent Price Increase In 5 Years? Yep, You Guessed It, A Life-saving Drug. 

A drug used to treat some infections jumped that eye-popping amount in just five years. But the trend is a larger one: A Wisconsin Watch investigation reveals the costs of seven commonly prescribed antibiotics, cancer drugs, arthritis medications and others have also risen precipitouslySee details of the investigation, with prices and names of the costly drugs.

Quick Hits

Public housing in the U.S. will soon be smoke-free after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a final rule.

Massachusetts lawmakers are readying a new proposal to tax soda after similar taxes passed elsewhere in the U.S. this election.

The rate of new HIV infections -- after declining steeply for a long time -- is leveling off. Why can't we stop it?  And, as a reminder this World AIDS Day (which was yesterday), 38 states still have HIV criminalization laws.

Finally, public health research may soon get a big boost after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to invest more than $6 billion in public health and medical research. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote, and the Obama administration has expressed support. But the money may come with some risks.