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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

There’s Lots Of Talk About Surprise Medical Bills In Congress, But Ambulance Costs Have Been Left Out Of Conversation

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers across the country and federally have been trying to figure out the best way to address surprise medical bills. But one of the main causes of the problem –ambulance rides — isn’t in any of the proposed legislation. “If you call 911 for an ambulance, it’s basically a coin flip whether or not that ambulance will be in or out of network,” said Christopher Garmon, a health economist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Meanwhile, legislation in the House over the bills is unlikely to be addressed until after August recess.

Federal Judge Rules ‘Undeniable’ Benefits Of Expanding Short-Term Plans Outweigh ‘Minimal’ Negative Impact

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration issued a regulation last year allowing short-term health care plans to last up to 12 months instead of three. The plans don’t have to adhere to the health law’s strict regulations, so critics blast them as being “junk insurance.” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, however, ruled that the plans aims to “minimize the harm and expense” for individuals who might otherwise decide not to purchase insurance because of high premiums.

Democrats’ Fault Lines Over Health Care Reveal Deeper Philosophical Differences That Go Beyond One Issue

KHN Morning Briefing

Health care is one of the dividing issues for the crowded 2020 Democratic field, but the candidates’ stances on the issue underscore how different their philosophies can be. Meanwhile, those candidates who support “Medicare for All” are still grappling with the issue of how to pay for it. And The New York Times fact checks President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the Democrats’ plans.

UnitedHealth Reverses Course, Approves Coverage For $2.1 Million Gene Therapy For Family Racing Against Clock

KHN Morning Briefing

Lauren Sullivan had been trying to appeal UnitedHealth’s initial refusal of the drug for her 21-month-old daughter, Daryn. The girl was running out of time to receive the treatment before her second birthday in October, when the drug has to be administered. The company also approved claims for three other patients. In other news, UnitedHealth beats expectations for the quarter, prompting company to boost earnings guidance.

Biden, Sanders Duke It Out Over Health Care In Public Scuffle That Highlights Party Tensions Over High-Profile Issue

KHN Morning Briefing

Presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden would take separate paths on how to address health care, with Sanders going for an overhaul approach and Biden favoring building on what exists. The two philosophies have come to divide a crowded pack of Democrats as the election season starts kicking into gear, and in the past few days Sanders and Biden have been publicly swiping at each other over the issue. Meanwhile, governors are particularly worried about candidates’ rhetoric about getting rid of private insurers.

Sanders Calls On Candidates To Reject Donations From Health Industry: ‘You Can’t Change A Corrupt System By Taking Its Money’

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) invited his fellow presidential candidates to join him in refusing to accept contributions over $200 from political action committees, lobbyists and executives of health insurance and drug companies. But an ABC News review of FEC records identified at least three contributions of more than $200 from two individual donors who could be considered executives at companies in those fields.

‘Cadillac Tax,’ Once A Key Provision Of Health Law, Dealt Near-Certain Death Blow By Unlikely Foe: Democrats

KHN Morning Briefing

The “Cadillac tax,” which never went into effect, was intended to help control costs by putting a brake on the value of health insurance plans and avoid having insurers and employers shifting more costs to policyholders. Its implementation has been delayed for years, and House Democrats voted to repeal it once and for all. It still needs to go to the Senate, but in all likelihood the upper chamber will eagerly follow suit, as Republicans didn’t like the provision.

Following Months Of Pressure From Hospitals, House Committee May Add Arbitration To Surprise Medical Bill Legislation

KHN Morning Briefing

The vote on the amendment, confirmed to Modern Healthcare by three sources close to discussions, will take place Wednesday along with a swath of health care measures including a two-year delay to the disproportionate share hospital cuts. Meanwhile, the CBO projected on Tuesday that the Senate’s surprise medical bill legislation would save $7.6 billion over a decade.

Health Leaders Worry About Unscrupulous Data Mongers Circling Like Sharks As Patient Records Are More Accessible

KHN Morning Briefing

There are concerns from experts who say patients may not fully understand the privacy implications of new records apps and end up signing a lot of their information away without realizing it. Other news at the intersection of technology and health care: artificial intelligence and dental bills, telemedicine in rural areas, wireless health hazards and more.