Latest Morning Briefing Stories
While plans from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) target the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies — both subjects of public ire — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg takes on politically powerful hospitals with his health care overhaul proposals. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden bristled over Warren’s dismissal of his criticism of her health plan.
Fifteen states and Puerto Rico were given either a D or an F on the March of Dimes’ annual report card on premature births. Only Oregon nabbed an A grade.
More than half of seriously ill Medicare beneficiaries struggle with medical costs, a report finds. The research surprised experts since Medicare is considered to offer relatively good coverage and most people have supplemental insurance to fill its gaps.
Overturning the Affordable Care Act would eliminate several taxes created to help pay for the law’s expansion, including a 0.9% Medicare tax on single Americans who earn more than $200,000 a year or couples who make $250,000. A court decision is expected soon on the constitutionality of the law.
The plan from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) includes work or volunteer requirements despite troubles other states are experiencing with such measures. Supporters of a full Medicaid expansion under the health law estimated it could cover about 500,000 Georgia residents, while the governor’s office envisions this limited expansion will cover around 52,000 people in its fifth year.
The Washington Post Fact Checker takes a deep dive into the “Medicare for All” cost analysis offered by experts and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Critics continue to focus on the assumptions — such as getting hospitals accepting near-Medicare rates from all patients — that the proposal relies on. If those fall apart, so does the plan.
“Facing a likely risk of being separated from their family members and a delay in obtaining a visa to which family members would otherwise be entitled is irreparable harm,” wrote Judge Michael Simon in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon of the Trump administration’s policy that would require new immigrants to show proof of health insurance or the means to afford it.
Democratic rivals, conservatives and some analysts sounded off about Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to pay for “Medicare for All.” Much of the criticism about the proposal centered around accusations that it’s not realistic when the starting point is the country’s current health care landscape.
Medicare enrollment can be daunting, but in the midst of open enrollment for the program, media outlets offer suggestions on how to make the most of the program.
“Can’t we figure out a simpler way so that people who are eligible can get into these programs?” Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) said during a Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare subcommittee. Republicans are worried about waste in the program. Other Medicaid news comes form Texas, Ohio and Michigan as well.
Although the FDA doesn’t have to follow the guidance, the vote could call into question the use of the medication, which to this point has been viewed as standard treatment. Other pharmaceutical news looks at Alzheimer’s research, as well as a recall of a generic version of Xanax.
The clinics faced increasing competition with the rise in telemedicine. Walgreens also announced it will be partnering with Jenny Craig to offer on-site weight-loss consultations.
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period is now underway through Dec. 7. Here are some tips to help you navigate it all if you’re enrolling or changing coverage.
The closures revolve around the facilities’ use of ethylene oxide, a gas that, while critical for cleaning the equipment, can be hazardous at elevated levels.
Researchers find that following mergers, hospital systems used their larger size to seek higher reimbursement, including through “all-or-none” contracting. Even smaller hospitals leveraged their position as alternatives to win higher rates. Other hospital news comes out of: D.C., Connecticut, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois.
Section 6(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which the FTC cited in its information demands, gives the agency broad investigative authority to demand information from companies for use in research, legal experts point out. Other health system and hospital news comes out of Florida, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin.
And the potential constitutional issues with the bill can’t be fixed with a few tweaks — they relate to the central crux of the bill, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Meanwhile, a watchdog report flags safety and reliability concerns over drug imports from China. And in other pharmaceutical news: patents legislation, the roller coaster of Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug, and an investigation into carcinogens.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma faced a hostile House Energy and Commerce Committee and defended the Trump administration’s action on health care. However, she wouldn’t give specifics on a plan for what happens if the Affordable Care Act is ruled unconstitutional. Meanwhile, some states are crafting contingency plans in case the health law falls.
Politico takes a look at how health leaders in North Carolina, with bipartisan buy-in, are improving how health care is delivered and addressing the underlying social and economic drivers of poor health and high costs.
A weekly round-up of stories related to pharmaceutical development and pricing.