KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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What’s Ahead For The Health Care Sector In 2016?

Bloomberg offers a series of charts to aid in understanding the market forces at work in the health industry in the year ahead. Meanwhile, a large shareholder sells off its stake in a giant hospital physician staffing company while a startup focused on cancer blood tests raises $100 million. Also, why insurers are enjoying this year's mild winter.

Bloomberg: The Eight Charts You Need To Understand Health Care In 2016
Next week bankers, investors, companies and researchers from around the world will gather in San Francisco for the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, a massive gathering that sets the tone for the rest of the year. These are the charts that will help you keep up with the industry in 2016. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index, a 190-member barometer of the health industry’s hottest sub-sector, is up a paltry 1.4 percent since the start of 2015, a volatile year that saw the debate over drug prices drag down stocks. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. (Tracer, 1/8)

Modern Healthcare: Leading Envision Healthcare Shareholder Sheds Its Stock
Envision Healthcare, a giant hospital physician staffing firm, has seen its fifth-largest shareholder, Winslow Capital Management, sell its entire 4.6% stake in the company over the past three months, according to a financial disclosure filed Thursday.Winslow Capital owned 8.6 million shares of Envision Healthcare on Sept. 30. (Barkholz, 1/7)

Bloomberg: Why A Mild Winter Is A Win For Health Insurers
A warm winter is helping create the slowest start to the U.S. flu season in five years, during what is typically a dangerous time of year for the elderly and a costly one for health insurers. The flu virus thrives in a dry, cold environment. It badly hurt insurers’ financial results last year, when Aetna Inc. and Anthem Inc. blamed epidemic levels of influenza for exceeding fourth-quarter estimates of their spending on medical care. This year may be the opposite: Health insurer Centene Corp., for example, raised its 2015 earnings guidance by about 5 cents last month, thanks largely to the absence of flu. (Cortez and Tracer, 1/7)

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