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New Hampshire’s Well-Established Price-Transparency Laws For Hospitals Shows Strategy Isn’t ‘A Home Run’

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would force hospitals and insurers to be more transparent about their prices. But a look at New Hampshire, which has the oldest and most comprehensive transparency laws in the country, reveals a more complicated outcome. In other hospital news: how systems profit from the poor they’re supposed to serve, drug shortages, and the struggles of rural hospitals.

False, Misleading Information On Cancer ‘Cures’ Thrives On YouTube, Ensnaring Patients At Their Most Vulnerable Time

KHN Morning Briefing

“People with a new cancer diagnosis are often feeling vulnerable and scared,” said Renee DiResta, a researcher who studies disinformation. Facing the horrors of such a diagnosis and treatment, some people start searching for information and community online. But even as tech giants like YouTube and Facebook try to crack down on false health information shared on their platforms, it’s nearly impossible to get it all. In other health and technology news: robocalls, securing data and digital chronic disease management.

Legislation Would Ensure Preference Given To American Companies For Pentagon Research Funding

KHN Morning Briefing

A bioscience company’s decision to find a partner in China prompted the introduction of the measure. The legislation is the most recent example of the Trump administration and members of Congress taking a more aggressive role to counter the economic and national-security risks posed by China’s rise as a biotech power. Other news from Capitol Hill deals with abortion, black lung, and the 9/11 victims fund.

$1T Spending Bill Passes House In What Amounts To An Opening Bid As Lawmakers Eye Looming Shutdown Threat

KHN Morning Briefing

The measure far exceeds President Donald Trump’s budget request for domestic programs, attracting a White House veto threat, and denies him his full Pentagon budget increase. It also contains policy “riders” related to abortion and other hot-button issues that drove away potential GOP supporters. Lawmakers face a series of deadlines this fall, the first of which is to avert a repeat of this year’s partial government shutdown.

In Debate Over What To Do About Surprise Medical Bills, Alexander Hints At Support For In-Network Guarantee

KHN Morning Briefing

Although many lawmakers agree that patients need to be protected from surprise medical bills, there are different ways that could go and many stakeholders who have strong opinions on what the solution should be. At a hearing on Wednesday, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander said that requiring hospitals to guarantee that any doctor a patient sees is in-network is the strategy he “intrinsically liked the best.” But the future of any legislation is still unclear.

Deepening Quarrel Between White House Officials, HHS Secretary Threatens To Derail President’s Top Health Agenda Items

KHN Morning Briefing

Politico talked to a dozen current and former White House and HHS officials, as well as others familiar with the tensions brewing between President Donald Trump’s aides and HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “You have two teams with two visions,” an individual who’s been in heated meetings with HHS and the White House told Politico. “Alex is outnumbered and keeps losing.”

When It Comes To Hospitals, Robocalls Aren’t Just A Nuisance But A Life-Or-Death Challenge

KHN Morning Briefing

Hospitals “can’t not pick them up,” said Steven Cardinal, a top security official at the Medical University of South Carolina. “They don’t have any indicator it’s a spoof until they answer it.” Officials across the country are terrified for the day that their phone systems can’t keep up with the spam on top of a real emergency. And there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight. In other health tech news: a data breach ends in bankruptcy, a look at how 13 became the age of adulthood for the Internet, and e-prescriptions.

Revenue Growth Beats Out Cost Controls For Hospital CEOs

KHN Morning Briefing

In a survey of hospital and health CEOS, only one of the top-five areas of interest from 2018 remained in 2019: innovative approaches to expense reduction. Last year’s No. 1 topic, preparing for sustainable cost control, fell to No. 11 out of the 29 included.

Party Lines Fall By The Wayside During Hearing Over What To Do About Surprise Medical Bills

KHN Morning Briefing

Although many lawmakers agree that surprise medical bills are an urgent problem, the devil is in the details of how to determine who gets stuck with the costs. “I worry that if Congress chooses the wrong approach, consumers will simply end up paying those costs through higher premiums,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said at the opening of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing. “We simply cannot allow this to happen.”