Health Industry

"Health Industry" Main

Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Threat Of Kaiser Permanente Strike Grows As California Union Overwhelmingly Approves Vote

KHN Morning Briefing

The California union is the largest in a national coalition involved in contract negotiations with Kaiser Permanente, and the first to OK a future strike that could involve up to 80,000 workers. In other health care industry labor news: health care, research and technical employees at the University of California vote to ratify a new contract after two years of negotiations and work stoppages.

Hospital Deals With Drugmakers To Mine Patients’ Genetic Data Raise Privacy Concerns

KHN Morning Briefing

Drugmakers have been buying access to patients’ genetic code data from hospitals. But those facilities don’t always disclose to patients the full ways their data could be used. In other news, Modern Healthcare reports on how policy differences complicate potential business deals between religious and secular hospitals.

More Patients Are Getting Hit With Surprise Medical Bills, And The Price Tags Are Going Up, Too

KHN Morning Briefing

A study finds that over 42% of patients hospitalized or treated in an emergency room received surprise bills in 2016. “Out-of-network billing appears to have become common for privately insured patients even when they seek treatment at in-network hospitals,” the researchers concluded. As the costs of health care continue to grow for many Americans, two former collection agency executives are trying to make a dent by forgiving medical debt.

Chief Adviser On Prescription Drug Pricing To Quit HHS

KHN Morning Briefing

John O’Brien’s departure comes at a time when the political debate is intensifying over how to control drug costs. The Department of Health and Human Services says John Brooks, principal deputy director of the Center for Medicare, will “expand his current responsibilities to serve as senior advisor for drug-pricing reform.”

Kaiser Permanente’s Net Income Soars To $2B In Second Quarter

KHN Morning Briefing

The not-for-profit health system cites strong equity returns and an accounting change as reasons behind the strong jump. Other hospital and health system news comes out of California, Connecticut, Minnesota and Louisiana, as well.

U.S. Removed From Canada’s List Of Countries It Uses To Control Drug Prices

KHN Morning Briefing

In addition to the United States, Switzerland was also kicked off the reference list the Canadian government will use to regulate prescription drug costs. Meanwhile, Allscripts, Rite Aid and Novartis are in the news. And Stat interviews the FDA’s digital health chief about artificial intelligence devices.

Graham Vows A ‘Smart’ Health Law Repeal If Republicans Retake The House

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said his legislation would shift money from states that expanded Medicaid to ones that didn’t. “If we could get the money back to the states, Democratic policies would be tested against our policies,” Graham said. State insurance news comes out of North Carolina and Georgia, as well.

Sarepta’s Stocks Plunge After FDA Received Report That Boy Was Injured In Gene-Therapy Study

KHN Morning Briefing

Sarepta argues that the report was submitted to the FDA in error. The biotech company said the study involves two arms, with one receiving the drug and the other placebo, and the patient could have been on either. In other pharmaceutical news: a heart drug to get reviewed by the FDA, the benefits of Medicare’s decision to cover CAR-T therapy, and a call for pricing reforms.

When It Comes To Patients With Short-Term ‘Junk’ Plans, Insurers Aren’t Spending Much On Medical Care

KHN Morning Briefing

The “loss ratios” can be as low as 9 cents for medical care for every dollar in premiums. “Compared to comprehensive plans that have to comply with the ACA’s rules, short-term plans’ coverage limitations often result in carriers paying out far fewer claims, or paying pennies on the dollar,” said Rachel Schwab, a research associate at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

‘Medicare For All’ Could Toss Wrench In Senate Democrats’ Plan To Use Midterm Playbook That Secured The House

KHN Morning Briefing

Senate Democratic candidates want to replicate the success of the midterm elections, where House candidates used protecting the health law as a winning topic. But the push toward a more progressive plan like “Medicare for All” could undermine that strategy. Meanwhile, opponents of a Medicare buy-in option say such a plan would hurt rural hospitals.

Sen. Casey’s Frustration With CMS About Quality Of Care From Medicaid Contractors Bubbles Over After Tense Meeting With Centene

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) wants CMS regulators to look into Medicaid managed care companies that he says are prioritizing profits over patients. After meeting with Centene, the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care company, Casey was appalled. “I thought they would try to persuade me that they were going to do better, but they didn’t seem interested in that at all,” he said. Meanwhile, advocates fear that if an Obama-era rule is dropped from Medicaid there won’t be enough providers to care for the low-income patients.