Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Sheriff departments across America defend “medical bonds” because they help keep health costs under control. But an investigation in Alabama shows that even defendants who have been charged with serious crimes like murder are being put back on the streets because of the practice.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued Sutter claiming the hospital system abused its market power to raise prices. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutter will continue to operate as an integrated system. But it has agreed to end a host of practices that Becerra alleged unfairly stifled competition
ProPublica investigates how much a New Jersey plan that covers teachers paid out for specialists because it doesn’t have limits on out-of-network bills. More than 70 acupuncturists and physical therapists earned more than $200,000 in 2018 from their teacher clients alone, and one brought in more than $1 million.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has outsized power in deciding the Senate’s schedule, has not slated the Senate Finance Committee’s drug pricing bill for a vote, largely because the package does not have widespread Republican support. In other pharmaceutical news: “one-and-done” therapies, generics lawsuits, and insulin costs.
In a long-awaited decision, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans agreed with Judge Reed O’Connor that the individual mandate can no longer be viewed as a tax, and thus the requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. But the judges dodged a hard decision on whether that meant the whole law has to fall, sending it back to the lower courts for a closer look at whether the provision can be severed.
The proposed rules would allow states, drug wholesalers, or pharmacies to apply to import certain drugs from Canada. The policy would also let drugmakers import their own products sold in other countries.
The Navajo Nation is seeking to create a one-of-a-kind Medicaid program to address the inequities in care for its members.
As we near the end of the decade, The Wall Street Journal takes a look back at the way the Affordable Care Act has left a lasting impact on the country.
The work requirements were a central part in the 2019 race between now-Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and the then-incumbent Matt Bevin (R). Bevin’s plan, which had been blocked by the courts, would have stripped Medicaid coverage for about 100,000 Kentuckians.
Lawmakers released details Monday of a bipartisan deal that would allocate $1.4 trillion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a shutdown. Among other health-related measures, it includes a provision raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, which advocates say is a “good step” toward a “substantial reduction” in smoking among young people. Media outlets cover the ins and outs of the bills and the ways they touch on health care.
Health systems are trying innovative ways–like building a warehouse distribution facility and committing to hiring marginalized workers–to improve overall health outcomes. The push is part of a larger trend for health systems to tackle problems beyond just treating patients. In other hospital news: price transparency, co-ops, mental health care, a $1.8 billion settlement, and more.
But the flip side is that families may be unprepared to handle a seriously sick relative.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug plan includes many policies that President Donald Trump himself has touted. It was almost a dare for him to fight against it, and at first he seemed interested. That all changed with impeachment.
The report comes amid the state’s struggle to contain costs for its Medicaid program. Medicaid news comes out of Kentucky, Maine and Wisconsin, as well.
Rear Adm. Weahkee, who tried to turn around a foundering IHS hospital in South Dakota, has been nominated to take over the agency that has been plagued with staffing shortages, quality of care complaints, allegations of abuse, and more. Several Native American groups have expressed support for Adm. Weahkee’s nomination. His Senate confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday.
Read about the biggest pharmaceutical development and pricing stories from the past week in KHN’s Prescription Drug Watch roundup.
Efforts to address surprise medical bills had stalled until a bipartisan agreement emerged over this past weekend. The White House praised lawmakers’ “delicate work” to reach a deal, which is a compromise between two other strategies for dealing with the costs. But even with the White House’s support, question marks remain about whether the deal can be pushed through both chambers and sent to President Donald Trump by the end of the year.
And Medicare officials hinted Friday that they would be amenable to providing a window for beneficiaries who are worried about their plans. Other news on Medicare focuses on: prescription drug prices, hospital and hospice payments, and increasing costs.
Opinion writers weigh in on curbing the costs of pharmaceuticals and other issues.
But while the growth in health care usage slowed last year, larger hikes in prices more than offset it. Overall, national health care spending rose to $3.65 trillion in 2018, up 4.6% from 2017, according to an annual report by nonpartisan economic HHS experts. Retail prescription drug prices dipped by 1%, the first drop since 1973.