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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Despite Intense Scrutiny, Doctors Still Receiving Astronomical Sums From Drug and Medical Device Companies

KHN Morning Briefing

An analysis by ProPublica reveals that more than 2,500 physicians received at least half a million dollars apiece from drugmakers and medical device companies in the past five years alone. More than 700 of those doctors received at least $1 million. In other news on the health industry, costs and insurance: workers’ benefits, refunds from insurers, out-patient surgery policies, universal coverage, and more.

Pelosi’s Signature Drug Plan Marches Forward Even As Speaker Clashes With Trump On Other Issues

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers bickered over the pros and cons — “jaw dropping savings” that come with a warning that some pharma companies may not develop as many new drugs — but in the end House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug plan passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Education and Labor Committee. There had been a chance that Pelosi could get President Donald Trump on board as he’s previously supported the proposals in the plan. But that became less certain in recent days with the impeachment proceedings.

Upcoming Ruling On Health Law Poised To Be Huge Headache For Trump Heading Into 2020 Election

KHN Morning Briefing

The ruling on the law’s constitutionality, expected in the next few weeks, could reignite the same concerns that helped propel Democrats into taking back the House in the 2018 midterm elections. It would also possibly let the Democrats re-frame their messaging, which has been centered on pro- or anti-“Medicare for All,” a plan that’s losing popularity in the polls.

Warren Continues To Take Flak Over Her Support For ‘Medicare For All’ As Plan’s Popularity Dips In Polls

KHN Morning Briefing

Former Vice President Joe Biden used Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) stance on “Medicare for All” to take a dig at her “credibility.” That criticism followed a debate where Warren, a new front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, drew rivals’ attacks over how she was going to pay for the plan. Meanwhile, an unearthed tweet shows that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was particularly vocal at the debate, supported Medicare for All in 2018.

A Kansas Judge With No Law Degree Holds The Futures Of City Residents With Medical Debt In His Hands

KHN Morning Briefing

In the midst of a soaring crisis over health care costs, the debt collection court in Coffeyville, Kansas is emblematic of a larger problem that’s been getting national attention. Providers, like hospitals, are suing some of the sickest clients, who are losing everything they own because they needed care. In other industry and insurance news: stocks, Amazon employees’ coverage, antitrust suits, and more.

Warren Feels The Heat As Rivals Pile-On Over Her Alleged Hedging On ‘Medicare For All’ Costs

KHN Morning Briefing

The latest Democratic debate on Tuesday night highlighted the rising popularity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the polls as many of her rivals went on the attack. Most notably South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who struck a more aggressive tone than in previous debates, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is fighting for her place in the 2020 presidential race, had sharp words for the scope of Warren’s health plans. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said. Klobuchar joined in with, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up.”

Women Fill Many Lower-Ranking Positions In Health Care Industry. Yet They’re Notably Absent From Executive Offices.

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s “not because they don’t want the positions, it’s not because they don’t work hard enough, it’s not because they’re not qualified for the positions,” says Julie Silver, a physician and director of Harvard’s leadership course. But at the very early stages of health careers, opportunities for mobility decline, in part because of strict credential requirements for jobs in clinical care and patient management. In other health industry news: Amazon’s efforts to control health spending on employees, Johnson & Johnson’s legal woes, executive pay at big insurers and more.

‘This Is Truly A Nightmare Situation’: Where There’s No Substitute, Drug Shortages Cripple Life-Saving Care

KHN Morning Briefing

A shortage of a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer in children highlights the serious perils of the rampant shortage problem facing the industry. “It’s our bread and butter,” said Dr. Yoram Unguru, a pediatric oncologist. “There is no substitution … You either have to skip a dose or give a lower dose — or beg, borrow or plead.” While the FDA has been trying to address the issue of shortages it’s fallen short in its efforts to grant addition approval of generics. Meanwhile, companies are trying other methods to combat the problem.