Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Kaiser Permanente Ratifies New Contract With Union Representing About 57,000 Of Its Health Care Workers

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“Our new contract recognizes the skill and dedication we bring to our work, and the guaranteed raises and protected benefits give us the peace of mind to focus on caring for our patients,” Jessica Rodriguez, an emergency department technician at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. In other health industry and insurance news: union negotiations in Wisconsin, benefits for families of law enforcement officers, the retiree health care landscape, and more.

Warren Continues To Take Flak Over Her Support For ‘Medicare For All’ As Plan’s Popularity Dips In Polls

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Former Vice President Joe Biden used Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) stance on “Medicare for All” to take a dig at her “credibility.” That criticism followed a debate where Warren, a new front-runner in the 2020 presidential race, drew rivals’ attacks over how she was going to pay for the plan. Meanwhile, an unearthed tweet shows that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who was particularly vocal at the debate, supported Medicare for All in 2018.

A Kansas Judge With No Law Degree Holds The Futures Of City Residents With Medical Debt In His Hands

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In the midst of a soaring crisis over health care costs, the debt collection court in Coffeyville, Kansas is emblematic of a larger problem that’s been getting national attention. Providers, like hospitals, are suing some of the sickest clients, who are losing everything they own because they needed care. In other industry and insurance news: stocks, Amazon employees’ coverage, antitrust suits, and more.

Warren Feels The Heat As Rivals Pile-On Over Her Alleged Hedging On ‘Medicare For All’ Costs

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The latest Democratic debate on Tuesday night highlighted the rising popularity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the polls as many of her rivals went on the attack. Most notably South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who struck a more aggressive tone than in previous debates, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is fighting for her place in the 2020 presidential race, had sharp words for the scope of Warren’s health plans. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said. Klobuchar joined in with, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up.”

‘Medicare For All’ Talk Likely To Be Center Stage At Dem Debate. But What About Other Health Topics?

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While much of the health campaigning in the primaries has focused on how the different candidates will ensure health care coverage, there’s large swaths of the cost conversation that haven’t been touched — such as hospital spending, health care deserts and even decisions over drug development. Abortion, as well, has been one of the least talked about topics in the previous debates. Will that change at Tuesday night’s debate in Ohio when 12 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage?

Alarmed By Rash Of Rural Hospital Closures, Georgia Lawmakers Wonder If Financial Management Classes Are The Answer

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Nearly 60 rural Georgia hospitals must ensure their board members, CEOs and chief financial officers complete at least eight hours of classes by the end of next year or risk being fined and losing a valuable state tax credit. In other health industry and insurance news: dropped mergers, new partnerships, legal woes, DNA tests, surprise costs, and more.

A Decision On The Future Of The Health Law Is Poised To Drop Soon. This Is What’s On The Line.

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could deem the health law unconstitutional in its ruling in Texas v. Azar, a decision that could come as early as this month. Although the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land for a while no matter what the court decides, it could throw some things — like enrollment numbers — into flux. Meanwhile, a new study shows the impact the health law has had on patients with diabetes.

Warren Faces Increasing Pressure To Explain How She’d Pay For A ‘Medicare For All’ System

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says that she supports rival candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) health care plan. But she also has faced criticism from members of her own party that she’s been “evasive” when it comes to paying for such a system. Other news on the elections looks at more candidates’ health plans, where the Democrats stand on gun control, and the pregnancy discrimination story that inspired women to speak out.

CMS Faulted By Government Watchdog For Approving Medicaid Work Requirements Without Considering Costs

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“Without requiring states to submit projections of administrative costs in their demonstration applications, and by not considering the implications of these costs for federal spending, CMS puts its goals of transparency and budget neutrality at risk,” the Government Accountability Office said in the report. The GAO, a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, found in its report that costs to administer the work requirements range from about $6 million in New Hampshire to $271 million in Kentucky.

Senate Democrats To Target Trump’s Expansion Of ‘Junk Insurance’ Plans

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The effort is part of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s efforts to hit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for ignoring legislation passed by the Democratic House on health care, guns and other issues. Meanwhile, a new report finds that more states are taking control of their health law marketplaces.