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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Judges Rule Individual Mandate Is Unconstitutional, But Kick Case Back To Lower Court For Review Of Severability

KHN Morning Briefing

In a long-awaited decision, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans agreed with Judge Reed O’Connor that the individual mandate can no longer be viewed as a tax, and thus the requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional. But the judges dodged a hard decision on whether that meant the whole law has to fall, sending it back to the lower courts for a closer look at whether the provision can be severed.

Teens May Be Drinking Less, Trying Fewer Hard Drugs, But Their Marijuana Vaping Rates Are Skyrocketing

KHN Morning Briefing

Of 12th graders surveyed, 14 percent said they had vaped marijuana in the last month, nearly double the 7.5 percent reported a year ago. The data also echoed earlier statistics about e-cigarettes, with a quarter of high school seniors reporting that they had vaped nicotine within the last month. Meanwhile, the FDA has approved the sales of a low-nicotine cigarette that could help smokers who are trying to quit.

The Good, The Bad And The Weird: A Deeper Look Into What Actually Made It Into Spending Deal–And What Was Cut

KHN Morning Briefing

The House passed the sweeping legislation on Tuesday, sending it to the Senate ahead of a Friday deadline for a government shutdown. The bill will, among other things, repeal three health law taxes in a win for insurers. Media outlets dive into the particulars of what’s included — like a tobacco age ban and money for wildfire safety — and what is not. Provisions in the latter category might act as a cautionary tale for progressive Democrats as they try to push ahead with “Medicare for All.”

Eli Lilly Vowed To Offer Half-Priced Insulin, But Lawmakers’ Survey Finds Many Pharmacies Don’t Even Know It’s An Option

KHN Morning Briefing

“Our report shows that Eli Lilly has failed to deliver on its promise to put a more-affordable insulin product on the shelves,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn), who teamed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The cost of insulin has become a stand-in for a larger battle of drug costs because the life-saving medication’s price tag has skyrocketed. In other pharmaceutical news: a dwarfism drug, a bankrupt startup, a novel partnership, a Parkinson’s treatment, and more.

Constraining Specialists From Billing Out-Of-Network Prices Would Lower Health Spending By $40B A Year

KHN Morning Briefing

Specialists like anesthesiologists have more power to negotiate higher in-network payments because they’re able to bill so much out-of-network. Limiting that power would have a significant effect on spending, a new study finds. Congress has been working to find a way to curb out-of-network surprise bills, but although they’ve made progress in recent weeks, nothing has passed yet.

Health Highlights In Congress’ $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill: Tobacco Age, ‘Cadillac Tax,’ Medical Research And More

KHN Morning Briefing

Lawmakers released details Monday of a bipartisan deal that would allocate $1.4 trillion in federal spending for the remainder of the fiscal year to avoid a shutdown. Among other health-related measures, it includes a provision raising the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to 21, which advocates say is a “good step” toward a “substantial reduction” in smoking among young people. Media outlets cover the ins and outs of the bills and the ways they touch on health care.