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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Guidance To Allow States To Request Block Grant Waivers For Medicaid Programs Expected Soon

KHN Morning Briefing

Approving state waivers to change Medicaid funding to block grants would be among the Trump administration’s most controversial moves to reshape Medicaid. While supporters of block granting say it gives states more flexibility, critics warn that it creates incentives for states to cut aid for its most vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion advocates are frustrated by the last remaining red-state holdouts.

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.

Can House Ways And Means Committee Break Through Gridlock On Hill Over Surprise Medical Bills?

KHN Morning Briefing

The issue of protecting patients from surprise medical bills has been looked at as a rare problem that may draw a bipartisan compromise. But lawmakers have yet to settle on who gets stuck with the bill if not the patients. The House Ways and Means committee is just the latest to try put forward legislation. In other health care industry and costs news: air ambulance coverage, state’s efforts on surprise billing, CEOs’ earnings, Medicare payments, and more.

A Record That Keeps Getting Broken: Hemophilia Treatment Poised To Become Most Expensive Drug In World

KHN Morning Briefing

The gene therapy, which isn’t officially priced yet, was extremely successful in trials. Its maker says that insurers seem on board with paying somewhere between $2 million and $3 million for the drug, which would break the previous record held by Novartis’ spinal muscular atrophy drug. Experts warned when Novartis’ drug was approved at its $2.1 million price that it was setting a bad precedent. In other pharmaceutical news: more updates from the JP Morgan conference, the science behind the Ebola vaccine, a diabetes pill, 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.

An Unlikely Coalition Of Conservatives Comes Together To Urge North Carolina To Expand Medicaid

KHN Morning Briefing

A group of business leaders, law enforcement and county officials, all of whom identified themselves as conservative or Republican, say the state has been missing out on an opportunity to help people. While elsewhere red states are starting to be won over to the promises of expansion, in North Carolina opposition remains. Medicaid news comes out of Florida and Kansas as well.

Betting On Medicare Advantage Pays Off Big For UnitedHealth

KHN Morning Briefing

UnitedHealth executives said they added 370,000 Advantage members during the open enrollment period that ended Dec. 7, which reflects growth of about 140% over the prior annual enrollment period. As the program grows in popularity, insurers clamor for a piece of the lucrative marketplace.

Health Care Takes Back Seat To Foreign Policy, Gender Politics At Democratic Debate As Candidates Cover Well-Trodden Ground

KHN Morning Briefing

Although the domestic agenda was somewhat anchored by discussion of health care, the topic didn’t take center stage like at previous debates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) focused on the cost of the status quo while moderates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made the argument that debating “Medicare for All” is a pointless since many in Congress don’t support it.