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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Developmentally Disabled Medicaid Beneficiaries In Missouri Stranded On Wait-Lists After Funds Were Slashed

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Revamped Tool To Help Medicare Patients Pick Prescription Plans Steering Them Toward More Expensive Coverage

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Former Baltimore Mayor Indicted On Fraud Charges Connected To Her ‘Healthy Holly’ Book Scandal

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Charity Designed To Help Patients Navigate Health Care Costs To Pay $4M To Resolve Pharma Kickback Allegations

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

U.S. Territories On Path Toward ‘Medicaid Cliff’ As Congress Drags Its Feet Over Funding

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

In Juul’s Early Days, Execs Bragged About The ‘Leg Up’ Research From Big Tobacco Gave Them On Addiction

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Verma Defended Communication Contracts As Way Of Promoting Policies, But Emails Reveal Talk Of Glamour Magazine Profile

KHN Morning Briefing

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.