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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Appeals Court Delivers Blow To Trump Administration As It Upholds Decision To Block Contraception Exemptions

KHN Morning Briefing

Judge Patty Schwartz, writing for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, said the Affordable Care Act plainly states that women must be provided preventive health services. The Trump administration’s rules that would allow employers to deny workers insurance coverage for birth control due to religious or moral objections sparked an immediate court challenge when rolled out in November.

Affordable Care Act 2.0: Biden Unveils Plan To Expand Health Law, Sharpening Dividing Line Between Candidates

KHN Morning Briefing

Former Vice President Joe Biden rolled out his health plan Monday morning following a weekend of trading jabs over “Medicare for All” with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Biden’s plan would include the creation of a public option as well as the elimination of the existing cap on health care tax credits to make coverage more affordable. The proposal solidifies Biden’s stance as one the health law’s biggest defenders in a race where health care has become a dividing topic between the candidates.

Puerto Rico Medicaid Funding Bill Advances, But Lawmakers Agree To Work On Safeguards In Wake Of Corruption Scandal

KHN Morning Briefing

The Health Subcommittee sent the bill, which includes an additional $12 billion over four years for Puerto Rico, to the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Lawmakers said that there was no time to address the recent corruption scandal over a government employee allegedly stealing Medicaid dollars in the current bill, but that members will work to add oversight to the funding.

PBMs Breathe Sigh Of Relief As Trump Kills Drug Rebate Proposal And Pharma Companies Become Next Likely Target

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump’s drug pricing strategy received its second major blow this week on the announcement that the proposal to eliminate drug rebates in Medicare and Medicaid plans will be withdrawn. In January, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said that the proposal had “the potential to be the most significant change in how Americans’ drugs are priced at the pharmacy counter, ever.” But the changes met significant pushback from insurers and hospitals who worried the proposal wouldn’t force drugmakers to lower prices and would likely see higher profit margins from it. Looking forward, Trump will be left considering ideas that are more popular with progressives than his party.

Kamala Harris Proposes Plan To Chip Away At Backlog Of Rape Kits That Can Often Sit Untested For Years

KHN Morning Briefing

2020 hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she would spend $1 billion to encourage states to clear rape kit backlogs and invest in reforms, including requiring rape kits to be tested within narrow time frames, counting and reporting untested kits, and giving victims information about the status of their testing. The issue received national attention in recent years after it came to light how many states and counties have crushing backlogs of kits.

Family Races Against Ticking Clock To Get Coverage Approval For $2.1M Gene Therapy

KHN Morning Briefing

A pricey treatment offered hope to a family with a daughter with a rare defective gene that causes spinal muscular atrophy. The therapy must be administered before the age of 2, but the family is locked in a fight with its insurance company over coverage. In other pharmaceutical news: the use of PrEP in the fight against AIDS, Massachusetts’ governor’s drug plan, clinical trial data, and more.

Trump’s Ambitious Order Aims To Revolutionize ‘Stagnant’ Kidney Care System With Focus On Cost, Care And Donors

KHN Morning Briefing

The wide-ranging executive order includes proposals to increase accessibility for at-home treatments, encourage kidney donations to address shortages, launch a public awareness campaign, develop artificial kidneys and more. President Donald Trump touted the plan as a “a first, second and third step” toward improving kidney care for Americans.

California Expands Medi-Cal To Cover Young Adults Living In Country Illegally As Issue Gains Traction In 2020 Race

KHN Morning Briefing

California already covers low-income children regardless of immigration status, but now has become the first state in the country do go further to young adults. Meanwhile, the Democratic debate thrust the issue into the national spotlight after the candidates showed support for expanding health care coverage for everyone in the country. Meanwhile, border arrests are finally dropping, but still remain high.