Health Highlights: Oct. 2, 2015

Health Highlights: Oct. 2, 2015

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S. Senate Passes Revision to Health Care Law

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed legislation aimed at shielding small and medium-sized business from hikes in premiums for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

According to the New York Times, the bill gets rid of a provision of the law that mandated strict and expensive requirements for businesses with between 51 to 100 workers.

The new legislation awaits the signature of President Barack Obama, and a White House spokesman told the Times that Obama would sign the bill.

The bill’s passage was a bipartisan effort, and Senator Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) told the Times that it would make sure that “small-business owners all across America are not more negatively impacted by Obamacare.”

For her part, Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire told the Times that “this bill will make a helpful adjustment to the Affordable Care Act for small and midsize businesses by limiting potential premium increases and letting states determine what’s best for their market.”


New Combo Therapy for Melanoma Approved by FDA

A new treatment for melanoma skin cancer that combines two cancer drugs has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The therapy for advanced melanoma includes the drugs Yervoy and Opdivo and is meant to help the body’s immune system fight tumors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Each of the drugs have different mechanisms of action and were previously approved individually to treat melanoma.

The new combined treatment will cost more than $250,000 per patient for the first full year of treatment, according to maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. There are concerns that the high cost could prevent some patients from receiving the therapy.

“What we don’t want to see is that cost becomes a factor in people getting the best kind of care that’s available,” Tim Turnham,executive director of the nonprofit Melanoma Research Foundation, told WSJ.

The Yervoy-Opdivo combination to treat lung cancer is being studied by Bristol-Myers.

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