Latest Morning Briefing Stories
The bipartisan proposal released from the Senate Finance Committee this week has won praise from a number of Washington’s loudest drug pricing advocates, but the magnitude of the proposal has even some of Washington’s most outspoken drug pricing experts grappling with its long-term implications. Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Alex Azar is throwing his weight behind the legislation.
Media outlets report on news from Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Virginia.
Through 15 attributes–such as gender, ZIP code and marital status–an algorithm can identify 99.98% of Americans. The study shows just how at risk patients are as more and more health care data goes up online. In other health and technology news: heart-tracking wearables and screen time woes in doctors’ offices.
The Washington Post Fact Checker blasts the claim. While President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget did propose reductions in anticipated spending on Medicare, it was completely unrelated to the tax cut passed by Congress in 2017. In other news, HHS Secretary Alex Azar suggests that Medicare Advantage plans could see pay boosts.
The bipartisan effort, spearheaded by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is projected to save the federal government $85 billion on drug spending over the next decade. The long-awaited legislation comes amid mounting pressure for Congress to act on rising drug costs.
Media outlets report on news from Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Texas, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, West Virginia and California.
Obstetrician-gynecologists are particularly worried about things like faulty or confusing data possibly sending women to their doctors when they don’t need to go or technology that’s simply a waste of money. In other news at the intersection of technology and health care: paying for doctor appointments via apps and an uptick in virtual visits.
“Like everything in health care, it’s just so crazy expensive, and people have to think outside the box,” said Michelle Mills, chief executive officer of the Colorado Rural Health Center. In other news on health care costs, a look at the coverage struggles for those who want to live abroad post-retirement.
“Pharma will argue very hard against drug negotiation of the kind we’re talking about,” said Wendell Primus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care adviser. Progressive House Democrats have been worried for months the plan will not go far enough in taking on drug companies and bringing prices down. Meanwhile, Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) refused to comment on a similarly long-awaited Senate package.
Media outlets report on news from Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, Minnesota, Florida, New Hampshire, Texas, Virginia, Iowa, Ohio and Massachusetts.
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.
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.
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.
The case centers on 80,000 events Novartis held between 2002 and 2011 that federal prosecutors allege amounted to kickbacks masquerading as educational meetings.
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.
Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised concerns about the cost of the fund, which has been thrust into the national spotlight after comedian Jon Stewart lambasted House lawmakers for the delays in shoring up the payments.
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.
Prosecutors say Joseph Prince, a former Veterans Affairs employee, exploited his position of trust to steer patients to seven different home health agencies that subsequently kicked back money to Prince and his family.
Media outlets report on news from California, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.
Although the guidance shifts costs to insurers, the companies have actually been pushing for the flexibility to begin providing coverage for those treatments, such as glucose or blood-pressure monitors, because people who don’t get ongoing treatment for a disease can have their condition worsen, leaving insurers paying even more for their care.