Latest Morning Briefing Stories
A selection of stories from around the country, including news from Texas, Tennesseee, California, Georgia and Missouri.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
A selection of articles about health care from around the country, including North Carolina, New York, Louisiana, California, Florida and Massachusetts.
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.
Among the selling points — the benefits of rural life.
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.
Media outlets report on news from New York, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Vermont, Ohio, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri and Massachusetts.
Mighty Vapors, Liquid Labs, V8P Juice International and Hookah Imports have been selling products introduced to the market after the effective date of a rule that gave authority to the FDA to regulate all tobacco products. In other vaping news, researchers study a cluster of vaping-related lung illnesses in Wisconsin.
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 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.
Media outlets report on news from Georgia, Texas, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, Connecticut, Missouri, Ohio, California, Colorado, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
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.
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.
The results could help the company sell skeptical investors on its acquisition of Aetna, as the health insurer drove much of the gains.
Media outlets report on news from Georgia, Missouri, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Connecticut, New York, Texas, California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida and Louisiana.
Officials say the issue doesn’t put patients at risk, but the drugmaker could face penalties for withholding the information. The news has also unsettled an industry where many are racing to be the first to come out with these expensive gene therapies.
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.