Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Media outlets report on news from Ohio, California, Colorado, Maryland, Florida, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Connecticut, and Georgia.
Stat hosted a summit for top executives and researchers, policymakers, and patient advocates to discuss the future of medicine and the pharmaceutical landscape.
Even those who have been prioritized with the most need are facing a daunting wait-list for care. “We need to help legislators understand in the long run it’s better to support these individuals now,” said Erin Suelmann, executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater St. Louis. “It’s a moral issue, too. These are our most vulnerable population and we need to be caring for them.” Medicaid news comes out of Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, as well.
The Medicare plan finder’s issue stems from a significant change the agency made for 2020. The plan with the lowest premium now gets automatically placed on top, with the monthly premium displayed in large font. Medicare’s previous plan finder automatically sorted plans by total cost, not just premiums, because they are only one piece of information. Meanwhile, a new study shows that Medicare prescription plans are slower to cover new generics than private plans.
The Democrats wrote a letter to the Trump administration pointing to an analysis that found that as many as 100,000 fewer people signed up on the first day of enrollment this year because of the technical glitches. Meanwhile, KHN offers advice on navigating open enrollment season.
Media outlets report on news from Illinois, California, Louisiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oregon, and Massachusetts.
A new study from the Commonwealth Fund details how many Americans who have coverage through their employers are still spending too much of their paychecks on health care costs.
Democratic senators wrote a letter to Google asking for more information on the initiative dubbed “Project Nightingale,” and about the company’s business relationship with Ascension Health.
The prices negotiated between hospitals and insurers has long been held in secret, and hospitals say that the rule would hurt competition. “What they’re doing is illegal,” said Tom Nickels, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association.
Brokers often make higher commissions on the short-term “junk” plans, health policy experts say, which gives them an incentive to sell them. In other insurance news, Americans struggle to find affordable mental health care coverage.
Media outlets offer Medicaid news from across the country.
Catherine Pugh’s book — never delivered to Baltimore residents — was at the center of a scheme to defraud health care companies, Baltimore’s school system and taxpayers, prosecutors say. She received between $600,000 and $800,000 for the books before and after she became mayor in 2016, a time period coinciding with her tenure as a member of key health committees in the State Senate.
“Medicare for All” has been center stage in most of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates, often acting as a proxy for a bigger conversation about the moderate and progressive wings of the party. But on Wednesday night, the candidates moved on from the issue quickly.
At a confirmation hearing, several senators pressed President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, about whether he would push for a ban on flavored vaping products. Hahn said he was not part of discussions on the policy and hadn’t talked to Trump about it but supported “aggressive action to protect our children.”
The government alleged that various drugmakers use charities like Florida-based The Assistance Fund as a means to improperly pay the co-pay obligations of Medicare patients using their drugs. In other pharmaceutical news: a transparency push from President Donald Trump and lawmakers, and an approval for a pricey drug that treats an ultra-rare metabolic disorder.
Media outlets report on news from Maryland, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Florida, Minnesota, Arizona, New York, Rhode Island, Georgia, Texas, Oregon, Massachusetts, California, and Kansas.
If Congress doesn’t increase the amount of designated money by the end of the year, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam say they would need to cut their Medicaid rolls in half, while Puerto Rico says it would need to cut back dental and prescription drug services. Medicaid news comes out of Kansas and North Carolina, as well.
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa says that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is blocking the legislation because he wants to hurt her reelection chances. Meanwhile, Schumer says Ernst’s version of the bill shows she “is simply afraid of the NRA.”
Research from the maker of Camel cigarettes showed that nicotine salts were a key ingredient in making the product palatable and addictive, a Los Angeles Times investigation uncovered. Juul’s salts contain up to three times the amount of nicotine found in previous e-cigarettes. In other news on the vaping crisis: more states sue Juul, President Donald Trump’s decision to back off a flavor ban angers advocates in both parties, a House panel approves its own ban, and more.
Politico has obtained emails that show federal officials and contractors discussing the possibility of boosting CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s public persona with high-profile articles in magazines like Glamour. Federal officials are prohibited from spending taxpayer dollars for publicity purposes, or using their public office for private gain. In other news, Verma criticized hospitals and insurers for fighting against price transparency efforts.