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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.

As Border Patrol Agents Become A Common Feature At Hospitals, Medical Professionals Struggle To Preserve Patients’ Rights

KHN Morning Briefing

Earlier this year, the agency that oversees Border Patrol said its agents averaged 69 trips to the hospital each day across the country. Although hospitals have typically been treated as “sensitive locations” that are generally free of immigration enforcement, the rule is discretionary and ambiguous when an enforcement action begins before a trip to a hospital or when an immigrant is already in custody.

Juul Temporarily Halts Online Sales Of Flavored E-Cigarettes, But Critics Say That’s Far From Enough

KHN Morning Briefing

Data shows “that 64 percent of high school e-cigarette users now use mint or menthol flavors and this number is growing all the time,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. However others said Juul’s decision to halt sales of flavors like manjo, crème, fruit and cucumber would hurt adult smokers. Meanwhile, the cases of the vaping-related lung illness continue to climb.

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.

Kaiser Permanente Ratifies New Contract With Union Representing About 57,000 Of Its Health Care Workers

KHN Morning Briefing

“Our new contract recognizes the skill and dedication we bring to our work, and the guaranteed raises and protected benefits give us the peace of mind to focus on caring for our patients,” Jessica Rodriguez, an emergency department technician at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. In other health industry and insurance news: union negotiations in Wisconsin, benefits for families of law enforcement officers, the retiree health care landscape, and more.

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.

Opioid Drug Distributors In Talks With State AGs Over Potential $18B Settlement As Massive Nationwide Trial Nears

KHN Morning Briefing

McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health would collectively pay $18 billion over 18 years. Johnson & Johnson is also involved in the deal negotiations and could contribute additional money. The distributors are among the companies slated to go to trial Monday in federal court in Cleveland in the cases of two Ohio counties that have been chosen to serve as a bellwether for the broader litigation.

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.”