Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Hospital-Acquired Infections Dip, But Experts Say That There’s Still More Work To Do

KHN Morning Briefing

Experts say there are certain infection types–such as pneumonia or C. diff–that aren’t showing any progress. Meanwhile, health care executives weigh in on what a politically divided Congress will mean to the hospital industry. And other hospital news comes out of Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas.

Health Spending Growth Slows For Second Year In A Row

KHN Morning Briefing

Although the nation spent $3.5 trillion on health last year, federal economists found that the increase in health expenses did not exceed the growth in the overall economy.

A Federal Judge Is Making Noise About Halting CVS-Aetna Deal, But What Can He Actually Do About It?

KHN Morning Briefing

Under the law, when the Justice Department strikes an agreement with companies, the deal must be cleared by a federal judge to provide a layer of oversight for those negotiations. In the CVS-Aetna case specifically, that means Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can decide whether the agreement Justice struck with CVS and Aetna on their Medicare Part D businesses addresses anti-competitive issues. If he finds it does not, the companies can either appeal or renegotiate.

After Years Of Rising Deductibles For Workers, Some Employers Are Tapping The Brakes

KHN Morning Briefing

Instead of continuing the trend of passing on the burden of higher costs to employees, some companies are looking to address the underlying reasons for the spending. Among other strategies, some organizations are bypassing insurers and negotiating deals with hospitals directly and a growing number are offering their own clinics. Meanwhile, experiments that work to improve a patient’s social factors, such as housing, are finding big savings.

Ocasio-Cortez Flips ‘Death Panel’ Rhetoric, Arguing That They Already Exist In Private Marketplace

KHN Morning Briefing

The idea that “death panels” will decide when people on Medicare should be cut off from live-saving services has often been used against Democrats, but this weekend Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) countered that that principle already exists in the current health care system. “They are companies + boards saying you’re on your own bc they won’t cover a critical procedure or medicine,” she tweeted. Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez also expressed frustration that Congress can offer cheap health care benefits to its own members yet “would deny other people affordability that they themselves enjoy.”

Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Reading The Tea Leaves In Blue Wave’s Wake

KHN Original

In this episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Alice Ollstein of Politico and Anna Edney of Bloomberg News discuss the impact of House Democratic leadership elections and their impact on health policy; as well as efforts by the Trump administration to address high drug prices and ensure the safety of medical devices. Plus, Julie Rovner interviews KHN’s Jay Hancock about the latest “Bill of the Month.”

Privacy Concerns Mount As Doctors Embrace App To Direct Patients Toward Buying Medical Supplies On Amazon

KHN Morning Briefing

The app enables doctors to choose which supplies to recommend, then email the list of products to a patient. Privacy experts are expressing concern that patients could unwittingly share personal and potentially sensitive health information with Amazon. Meanwhile, UnitedHealth Group is riding high after debuting a platform to streamline medical record data despite Amazon’s announcement it would be entering the landscape.

New Health Industry Giant Emerges With Completion Of CVS’ $70B Acquisition Of Aetna

KHN Morning Briefing

CVS faces a heavy lift in uniting two complicated companies with very different business models and approaches, but company leaders are optimistic that the merger will cut health care costs and improve consumers’ experience. The deal has been working its way through state and federal regulators for the past year, and finally gained the last go-ahead needed from New York this week.