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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Intimidation, Fear Used To Prevent Potential Whisteblowers From Speaking Out, VA Employees Claim

KHN Morning Briefing

“If you say anything about patient care and the problems, you’re quickly labeled a troublemaker and attacked by a clique that just promotes itself. Your life becomes hell,” said one longtime employee at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System. In other veterans’ health care news: a lawsuit over burn pits, the nomination hearing for the president’s pick to lead the VA, and staffing issues at medical centers.

A Price Tag On Hope: As Pharma Companies Eye Right To Try, Profit Motives Overtake Any Expected Altruism

KHN Morning Briefing

“Companies cannot be NGOs,” Brainstorm CEO Chaim Lebovits said. “We have to have an incentive.” Health insurers don’t typically pay for treatments that haven’t been approved by regulators or proven to work in clinical trials. That means patients would have to pay for the therapies, which could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, out of their own pockets.

Trump Proposes Shaking Up Agencies With Model That Hearkens Back To 1950s

KHN Morning Briefing

The changes President Donald Trump wants to make to agencies that oversee government aid are unlikely to come to pass, but they signal the White House’s agenda toward social safety-net programs. Right now the focus is on the Education and Labor Departments, but officials are also looking at programs and offices within HHS.

Long History Of Fraud And Shady Operators Linked To Association Health Plans Has Experts Worried

KHN Morning Briefing

As the Trump administration moves forward with its final rule allowing small businesses and self-employed workers ti get coverage through association health plans, fraud experts are concerned that the “unauthorized or bogus” plans that flooded the marketplace in the early 2000s will crop up again. Meanwhile, New York and Massachusetts will sue the federal government over the rule.

Psychological Damage From Separation Has Already Been Done To Kids, Experts Say As Trump Caves On Immigration Policy

KHN Morning Briefing

“It’s not like an auto body shop where you fix the dent and everything looks like new. We’re talking about children’s minds,” said Luis H. Zayas, professor of social work and psychiatry at the University of Texas at Austin. “We did the harm; we should be responsible for fixing the damage. But the sad thing for most of these kids is this trauma is likely to go untreated.” Media outlets dive into the mental health toll of President Donald Trump’s family separation policy, as well as the lasting political ramifications it may have in the coming months.

Atul Gawande Says U.S. Health System Is ‘Very Expensive Pile Of Junk.’ As Head Of Billionaires’ Initiative, Will He Be Able To Fix It?

KHN Morning Briefing

The health world has been closely watching to see who Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase would choose to lead their health care initiative geared toward reining in astronomical costs. Atul Gawande, a highly respected doctor and writer on health care policy, is a “well-known luminary” in the field, but the pick was also a surprise to some because he lacks hands-on experience running a large organization.

As Long-Serving Public Official, VA Nominee Entrenched In ‘Swamp’ Trump Once Said He Wanted To Drain

KHN Morning Briefing

But many say that’s a good thing. “The president is beginning to understand that in order to deal with the swamp, you have to have some people who understand how the swamp works,” said Trent Lott (R., Miss.), a former Senate majority leader. “The idea that anybody who has worked in Washington shouldn’t be involved in Washington is absolutely the wrong way to go.” Robert Wilkie is expected to be approved to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.