KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Hospital Officials Question Whether Medicare Readmissions Penalties Have Run Their Course

The program, mandated by the health law, has been credited with helping bring down costly readmissions. But hospital and industry leaders say that has hit a standstill. Also in the news, a new report spotlights a slowing of the increases in health care prices, and WebMD's CFO talks about plans for the company.

Modern Healthcare: Private Payers Tamp Down Hospital Prices In June
Consumers are getting some relief on healthcare prices this summer. The increase in June was just 1.5% compared with the prior-year period at 1.9%, according to a new report by the Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Hospitals, whose privately insured patients paid just 1.8% more for services in June compared with the year before led the moderation. That's the smallest monthly increase in that category since Altarum started tracking the private-payer pricing data in June 2014. (Barkholz, 8/11)

The Wall Street Journal: WebMD Wants To Go Beyond Medical Information
According to [WebMD's] chief financial officer, Blake DeSimone, who was appointed to the position in September, WebMD is in the process of transforming its flagship site for consumers,, from a one-stop shop for information to a platform people can engage with and take action to improve their health. WebMD last month agreed to be acquired by private-equity firm KKR & Co. for $2.8 billion, after publicly putting itself in play early this year. (Stratton, 8/13)

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