Latest Kaiser Health News Stories
Newsletter editor Brianna Labuskes wades through hundreds of health care policy stories each week, so you don’t have to.
The survey comes amid a broader push among the industry to get more women into leadership roles. More health systems are appointing chief diversity officers tasked, in part, with ensuring gender diversity. Time’s Up Healthcare also recently launched to address similar disparities and injustices. But shifting from how things have always been done in health care has proven to be difficult and slow.
The highly anticipated health care package from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) contained more than 30 specific ideas on how to drive down health care costs including measures on surprise medical bills, pharmacy benefits managers, hospitals’ “gag clauses,” and other consumer protections. The surprise medical bills, in particular, have garnered much attention in recent months, as a rare bipartisan issue Republicans and Democrats both see as a win.
Joanne Kenen of Politico, Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss the latest Democratic efforts to push “Medicare for All” in the U.S. House. They also review new initiatives to raise the federal minimum age to purchase tobacco to 21 and new lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s actions on reproductive health. Also, for extra credit, the panelists suggest their favorite health policy stories of the week they think you should read, too.
The legislation from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is part of a larger congressional push to chip away at practices that increase health care costs across the industry. Meanwhile, KHN offers a look at what Congress may be doing about surprise medical bills over the next few months.
It’s unclear how far along the project is, or if it will ever become a commercial device, but the concept is likely to add fuel to the debate about the amount and type of personal data scooped up by technology giants. In other health and technology news: electronic health records, information blocking and patient privacy, and a behind-the-scenes look at artificial intelligence that can detect cancer.
This high-profile issue has gained bipartisan attention, but it remains unclear if that’s enough to move it to the finish line. Here’s a review of the current state of play.
A decade ago, the notion of insurers owning physicians groups was fairly unusual, but it’s now a trend as health care companies look to contain costs. Other health industry news focuses on physicians groups, Johnson & Johnson’s court woes, and intellectual property battles.
Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) instead is focusing on issues where he sees there might be some bipartisan agreement — such as surprise bills. Alexander said Tuesday the package would also address rebates that drug companies give on their drugs as well as medical pricing “transparency.”
The “Medicare for All” plans being touted by progressive lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates include benefits, such as no copays and long-term care coverage, that surpass those of other countries with universal health care. Experts say it raises questions about how realistic the legislation is, but others say they are needed to sway Americans who are happy with their insurance coverage.
The company’s hires–and now departures–have been closely watched as many in the health industry are braced for the new and possibly fierce competition expected to come from the initiative founded by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase. Other news from the health industry focuses on the “app economy,” elder care home profits, the legacy of Uwe Reinhardt and violence in the workplace.
Editorials and columns delve into issues on health costs, insurance, opioids, birth rates and more.
Deep questions underlie what is happening in Fort Scott, Kan.: Do small communities like this one need a traditional hospital at all? And, if not, what health care do they need?
Even sponsors of the legislation acknowledge the state plans may save consumers only 5-10% on their premiums. Other news on insurance markets in the states comes from North Carolina, Georgia and Houston.
The senators unveiled the legislation among a broader national push to protect patients from sky-high surprise medical bills. Although most agree that the patient shouldn’t be stuck with the costs, there is some dispute about how to settle any conflicts between the insurers and the hospitals.
Doctors were gushing on social media about a trip that had been sponsored by a new Botox rival. Should they fall under the FTC requirement that social media users be transparent when they’re promoting a product? Ethicists weigh in. In other news from the health industry, CVS will start requiring third-party testing on vitamins and supplements sold in its pharmacies, and Nestle enters talks to sell its skin-health business.
Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) will co-sponsor a measure that would set up an independent-arbitrator system to make a ruling if hospitals and insurers can’t work out who picks up the extra costs. “It’s called baseball-style arbitration. It’s been piloted and used well in New York,” said Hassan. The bill is just one of several expected over the next few weeks that deal with surprise medical bills, an issue that got a recent boost from President Donald Trump.
Federal Trade Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter’s remarks support the chorus of calls among lawmakers and policy advocates who say antitrust officials at the FTC and the Justice Department need to get tougher on mergers and anticompetitive conduct across industries. Other health care industry news focuses on Walmart and the American Medical Association.
The bipartisan measure instead sets up a process for determining how much the insurance company needs to pay the medical providers for the out-of-network care, basing the payments on the usual rates in that geographic area. “There is no question this proposal would transfer a bargaining power from providers to insurers — a fact that is sure to have provider groups up in arms,” Benedic Ippolito of the American Enterprise Institute tells Modern Healthcare. In other news from Capitol Hill: “Medicare for All,” detention centers, and a caucus for female veterans.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) said the first-in-the-nation public-option model will act as a counterweight to Republicans’ efforts to chip away at the health law marketplace. Meanwhile, Inslee also signed a measure creating a new payroll tax that will go toward a $100-per-day allowance for Washington residents to use for a variety of long-term care services. In other news, Washington has told two “sham” health care sharing ministries to stop selling insurance plans in the state.