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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

At Height Of Feud Between Azar And Verma, White House Advisers Drew Up List Of Replacements

KHN Morning Briefing

Advisers were braced for HHS Secretary Alex Azar or CMS Administrator Seema Verma to abruptly leave the Trump administration as they waged an increasingly public and personal feud last year. The issue has since seemed to simmer down. In other HHS and CMS news, a new study looks at what Medicare paid for undelivered post-op visits in 2018.

Industry Roundup: J&J Posts Earnings Above Estimates; Critics Bash Short-Term Health Plans; Mergers Edge Toward Finish Line

KHN Morning Briefing

Although Johnson & Johnson posted better than expected earnings, its sales fell short of estimates. Some of the company’s most lucrative medicines face competition from generics and biosimilars. Other news on the health industry focuses on short-term plans, mergers, a teeth-straightening business, a hospital’s efforts to retain patients, and more.

Long-Anticipated Vertical Merger Guidelines From FTC And DOJ ‘Don’t Say Much,’ Some Complain

KHN Morning Briefing

“They don’t really do much new, and they don’t refer at all to healthcare or use any healthcare-related examples,” said Douglas Ross, a veteran antitrust attorney. The guidance update from the agencies comes as concerns mount over the growing consolidation of hospitals and physician practices. In other news on the health industry and costs: Medicare payments for acupuncture, an interview with the Gates Foundation CEO, the cost of teeth aligner treatment, and more.

House To Vote On Emergency Disaster Aid For Puerto Rico As Trump Adds Restrictions To Newly Released Funding

KHN Morning Briefing

The push to allocate supplemental funds comes as the island reels from a series of catastrophic earthquakes this month while still recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The Trump administration announced earlier this week that it would release billions in aid that it held up since last year, but officials say Puerto Rico has to agree to increased oversight for the funds.

Betting On Medicare Advantage Pays Off Big For UnitedHealth

KHN Morning Briefing

UnitedHealth executives said they added 370,000 Advantage members during the open enrollment period that ended Dec. 7, which reflects growth of about 140% over the prior annual enrollment period. As the program grows in popularity, insurers clamor for a piece of the lucrative marketplace.

A Cancer Prognosis Can Be Daunting. One Site Wants To Make It Easier For Patients To Understand Their Survival Chances.

KHN Morning Briefing

The tool, which is free, asks users to enter information about their age and gender, then more details about their cancer diagnosis, and then they can see what the survival rates look like for similar patients. In other health and technology news, the American Medical Association wants to connect doctors and startups and a study finds doctors are spending too much time on their electronic devices.

‘It Was Beautiful’ Once Upon A Time, Now LA Hospital Becomes Latest Casualty In Financially Uncertain Landscape

KHN Morning Briefing

Last week a judge gave Verity Health permission to close the doors of the old St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles. Throughout the decades, the mission of the hospital to serve the most needy remained consistent, and thus it struggled financially. In other hospitals news: out-of-network billing, health care prices, psychiatric care, emergency departments, and more.

The Quiet Crisis Of Rural Hospital Closures

KHN Morning Briefing

Hospitals are closing their doors with startling frequency, leaving vulnerable patients with no help in sight. Already this week, the bankrupt owner of St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles said it plans to shut the facility after a failed sale attempt, and it looks like there’s only going to be more pain to come in the future.

AI Helps Brain Surgeons Quickly Assess Tissue Samples While Patient Is Still On The Table

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s standard practice to analyze the samples while the patient is still under, but new artificial intelligence helps brain surgeons do so in two to three minutes rather than the half-hour it used to take. In addition to speeding up the process, the new technique can also detect some details that traditional methods may miss.