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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Strategy Of Targeting Hard-To-Treat Patients Held Incredible Promise For Cutting Costs. Then Came The Data.

KHN Morning Briefing

The method of finding the most expensive, hard-to-treat patients and better coordinating their care was touted as a popular idea for containing health care costs. A new study offers a harsh reality check on the benefits of such a strategy though. The surprising lack of results offers a cautionary tale about how difficult it is to improve patients’ care and reduce costs.

Local Officials Across Country Push Back Against Federal Policy Barring Pre-Trial Inmates From Medicaid Benefits

KHN Morning Briefing

“Just because you’ve been in jail for a short period of time, that shouldn’t automatically knock you off the [Medicaid] rolls,” said David Davis, the Democratic sheriff of Bibb County, Georgia. “You then have to go through enrollment all over again.” The disruption in enrollment can often negatively effect an already vulnerable population of people. Other Medicaid news comes from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia, California and the South.

AI Helps Brain Surgeons Quickly Assess Tissue Samples While Patient Is Still On The Table

KHN Morning Briefing

It’s standard practice to analyze the samples while the patient is still under, but new artificial intelligence helps brain surgeons do so in two to three minutes rather than the half-hour it used to take. In addition to speeding up the process, the new technique can also detect some details that traditional methods may miss.

Bundled Payments Fall Short Of Expectations In Cutting Spending, Improving Quality

KHN Morning Briefing

The federal government, hospitals and physicians have been gravitating toward bundled payments, but new studies challenge the belief that they help achieve cost savings. Meanwhile, CMS is proposing changes to Medicare Advantage payments for 2021, including an increase in the percentage of patient “encounter data” used to calculate payments.

HHS Taps Entrepreneur Brad Smith To Lead CMS Innovation Center

KHN Morning Briefing

The position leading the agency’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation largely focuses on driving value-based care transformation across the country, Brad Smith says. CMS Administrator Seema Verma praised Smith as an “outside-the-box” thinker who will “help us build on the important work the Trump administration has undertaken to transform our healthcare system to deliver better value to patients.”

Even In First Year Without Individual Mandate, Health Law Marketplaces Were Stable And Profitable, Analysis Finds

KHN Morning Briefing

A key measure of insurers’ financial strength — the percentage of premiums insurers collect that they pay back out in spending on claims — remained relatively strong. Experts say these numbers demonstrate resiliency within the marketplaces despite political turmoil surrounding the health law. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court set a Friday deadline for the Trump administration to respond to Democrats’ request to expedite the health law case.

Lawmakers Face Ever-Narrowing Window To Work On Big-Ticket Health Issues Before 2020 Election Politics Kick In

KHN Morning Briefing

Two big issues — addressing surprise medical bills and high drug prices — have the chance to draw bipartisan deals even in this divided Congress. But as the 2020 election season ramps up into high gear, neither side wants the other to be able to claim a victory. “If we couldn’t come to a consensus in 2019, it’s hard to imagine for 2020,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) told Politico.

When The Cost For Care Is Too High Even For Those Who Have Coverage, Patients End Up Gambling With Their Health

KHN Morning Briefing

Getting coverage can be just the first hurdle when it comes to navigating the high costs in the health industry. Many patients are delaying or even skipping care completely because they can’t afford it. In other news on health care costs and the industry: uninsured children, Medicaid payments, Oscar Health, the senior care-home industry, another Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, and more.

The Financial Impossibilities Of Making Antibiotics: Why Drugmakers Are Going Bust Even In Era Of Superbugs

KHN Morning Briefing

Doctors are prescribing the drugs sparingly and patients only need to take them a week or two at a time. In a world where pricey million-dollar cancer drugs are king, drugmakers producing modest antibiotics are crashing just when the country needs them the most. In other pharmaceutical news: pay-to-delay deals, blockbuster treatments and a failed promise.

Democrats Ask Supreme Court To Expedite Health Law Case That Otherwise Would Be Decided Post-2020 Elections

KHN Morning Briefing

An appeals court ruling kicked the case back down to the lower court for further work, which means it wouldn’t make its way to the Supreme Court until after the 2020 elections — during which health care is expected to be a major concern for many voters. By keeping the case front of mind for the public, the Democrats are trying to own what has proven to be a winning issue for them in the past.