Latest Morning Briefing Stories
In human challenge studies, people are exposed to the disease. But no cures exist for COVID-19, lethal to vulnerable patients. “If something bad happens, you don’t have a perfect fix for it,” said the FDA’s Peter Marks. News on vaccines is on how to volunteer, how it will get to market and more.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department will work with Congress on funding already earmarked for the international health organization.
The Supreme Court settled — at least for now — a decade’s worth of litigation over the women’s health provisions of the Affordable Care Act, ruling 7-2 that employers with a “religious or moral objection” to providing contraceptive coverage to their employees may opt out without penalty.
In return for the massive development funding, Novamax will supply the U.S. government by early 2021 with 100 million doses of its vaccine that is in clinical trials. The Maryland-based company is the seventh drugmaker to strike such a deal with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative. Other vaccine news from GSK is also reported.
Food insecurity has surged over the last three months across all demographics, but has disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic households with children. And other news stories on how racial and income disparities impact health care cover evictions and homelessness; period poverty; immigrant caregivers; child care challenges; and the potential for tech companies to try to close the gap.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted that such a package could include provisions such as direct stimulus payments to Americans as well as liability protections for businesses.
The Trump administration has revealed some of the companies that received Paycheck Protection Program aid intended to help small businesses survive the pandemic and retain jobs.
Editorial pages focus on these pandemic issues and other health issues.
In other news: Hospitals using artificial intelligence in end-of-life care; new doctors; and health centers merge in Boston neighborhood.
The publicly available tool, funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, may help companies trying to set their premiums for 2021. In other news, insurers offer new options for COVID-19 testing.
The measure must still be approved by the House. With just hours left to go before the program was slated to end, senators agreed to give the Small Business Administration the ability to keep approving Paycheck Protection Program loans until Aug. 8. News outlets also detail the economic chaos caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Opinion writers weigh in on these health care topics and others.
The pharmaceutical giant says the regulations keep Pfizer from helping seniors to pay for an expensive heart condition drug. In other pharmaceutical news, drugmakers are teaming up in a new $1 billion for-profit venture to invest in small antibiotic companies.
According to a proposed rule, CMS would permanently allow telehealth costs to be reimbursable for home health agencies. And CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced an extension for its pilot Medicare Care Choices Model program.
Republican lawmakers said they wished that in some instances President Donald Trump would wear a mask so that the general public would follow his example. Meanwhile, Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas — a state where cases are skyrocketing — say they don’t understand the administration’s decision to cut federal support of drive-thru testing sites.
The federal government plans to withdraw support for COVID-19 testing sites located in five states by the end of this month. Trump administration officials say that operations of facilities still open will be transferred to state or local governments. Seven of those sites are in Texas, where a record number of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are being reported.
The American Hospital Association argued that the administration did not have the legal authority to force facilities to reveal prices that were negotiated with insurers. The outcome of the negotiations have long been closely guarded by both sides, but the Trump administration sees transparency as a way to force down health care costs.
Hospitals are arguing for more time to repay federal aid, but experts say many of them will be fine if everything goes according to schedule. Meanwhile, Politico looks at the role consulting firm McKinsey is playing in the distribution of CARES Act funds for hospitals.
The Washington Post and ProPublica report on stories of how U.S. efforts to test for the coronavirus have been hampered by bad equipment that yielded false results. Meanwhile, other testing questions persist, such as, who pays? News outlets report on other tracking and test developments.
The changes would allow commercial health insurers to enter into “value-based” payment schemes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say.