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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

How Insulin Prices Have Become A Clear, Simply Rallying Cry For 2020 Democratic Candidates

KHN Morning Briefing

Unlike other health care issues, the rise in insulin prices isn’t that complicated. The personal stories of patients rationing insulin with fatal results paints a clear picture of pharmaceutical companies profiting that candidates can leap upon. In other pharmaceutical news: Democrats target Republicans over high drug costs, presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg wants to go after patent protections, pharma bro Martin Shkreli faces new fraud accusations, and more.

Insurers To Invest $55M In Making Cheaper Versions Of Expensive Generic Drugs In Sign Of Growing Frustration

KHN Morning Briefing

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and 18 of its member organizations are teaming up with Civica Rx, a nonprofit that is already selling drugs used in hospitals to health systems. The move comes not long after California Gov. Gavin Newsom floated a similar proposal, in which the state would contract with outside manufacturers to sell generic drugs under a California label.

Trump Hints He May Be Open To Cutting Medicare, Safety-Net Programs In Shift From 2016 Campaign Promises

KHN Morning Briefing

“At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that’s actually the easiest of all things, if you look,” President Donald Trump said in response to a question whether cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security were on the table. The statement was a departure from the last election when Trump tapped into the popularity of the two programs while wooing voters.

Health System Is ‘Ill And Needs A Bold New Prescription,’ Major Doctor Group Says In Call For Single-Payer Model

KHN Morning Briefing

The American College of Physicians said it’s not signing on to specific proposals from the 2020 Democratic candidates, but is broadly supporting a single-payer system or a public option model. In other health care industry and costs news: surprise medical bills, rising spending, the high price of fertility treatments, medical debt, the urgent clinic industry, 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.

Strategy Of Targeting Hard-To-Treat Patients Held Incredible Promise For Cutting Costs. Then Came The Data.

KHN Morning Briefing

The method of finding the most expensive, hard-to-treat patients and better coordinating their care was touted as a popular idea for containing health care costs. A new study offers a harsh reality check on the benefits of such a strategy though. The surprising lack of results offers a cautionary tale about how difficult it is to improve patients’ care and reduce costs.

Lawmakers Face Ever-Narrowing Window To Work On Big-Ticket Health Issues Before 2020 Election Politics Kick In

KHN Morning Briefing

Two big issues — addressing surprise medical bills and high drug prices — have the chance to draw bipartisan deals even in this divided Congress. But as the 2020 election season ramps up into high gear, neither side wants the other to be able to claim a victory. “If we couldn’t come to a consensus in 2019, it’s hard to imagine for 2020,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) told Politico.

Democrats Ask Supreme Court To Expedite Health Law Case That Otherwise Would Be Decided Post-2020 Elections

KHN Morning Briefing

An appeals court ruling kicked the case back down to the lower court for further work, which means it wouldn’t make its way to the Supreme Court until after the 2020 elections — during which health care is expected to be a major concern for many voters. By keeping the case front of mind for the public, the Democrats are trying to own what has proven to be a winning issue for them in the past.

As Federal Government Grapples With Missing Native American Women, Another Crisis Looms On Horizon

KHN Morning Briefing

States and the federal government are just starting to address chronic violence against and disappearances of indigenous women. But what happens afterwards? There are few resources available to help the women and their families heal from the trauma. Meanwhile, the Indian Health Service agency faces growing pressure following a series of reports on the problems that plague the understaffed and overwhelmed system.