KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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After 3 Discussions With Trump, Rep. Cummings Says Drug Prices Are A Top Priority For President

However, the director of the Office of Management and Budget plays down the possibility of allowing Medicare to negotiate the cost of drugs. Also, the Columbus Dispatch examines the difficulties that seniors face in enrolling and navigating Medicare. And hospitals must now give Medicare patients official notice if they haven't been admitted to the hospital and are instead in observation care.

ABC News: Democrat: Trump 'Enthusiastic' About Call For Medicare To Negotiate Drug Prices
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings said President Trump in recent meetings was "enthusiastic" about proposals to lower drug prices by having Medicare negotiate with pharmaceutical companies and by importing less costly medicines from Canada or other foreign countries. Cummings said he met three times over the past week with the president about drug prices. (Scanlan, 3/12)

Columbus Dispatch: Many Have Trouble Navigating Medicare’s Complexities
More than 57 million seniors and disabled adults depend on Medicare, but too many people struggle to enroll and navigate the complexities of the federal health-insurance program, a national advocacy group says. And with half of all people on Medicare living on annual incomes of $24,150 or less, many can't afford the co-payments, co-insurance and deductibles associated with their coverage. (Pyle, 3/12)

Kaiser Health News: By Law, Hospitals Now Must Tell Medicare Patients When Care Is ‘Observation’ Only
Under a new federal law, hospitals across the country must now alert Medicare patients when they are getting observation care and why they were not admitted — even if they stay in the hospital a few nights. For years, seniors often found out only when they got surprise bills for the services Medicare doesn’t cover for observation patients, including some drugs and expensive nursing home care.The notice may cushion the shock but probably not settle the issue. (Jaffe, 3/13)

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