Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Hospitals Hit With One-Two Financial Punch Of High COVID-19 Costs And Canceled Procedures

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“I think it’s fair to say that hospitals are facing perhaps the greatest challenge that they have ever faced in their history,” says Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association. Federal aid is being distributed to help needy health system, but some wonder if it will be enough. Meanwhile, some hospitals start inching toward resuming non-coronavirus procedures.

Trump’s Health Strategy For Paying Hospital Costs Mirrors A Single-Payer System. Could That Shift Debate In Years To Come?

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During President Donald Trump’s tenure, his administration has chipped away at the health law and attempted to make moves on transparency and drug costs. But his legacy might be expanded federal health spending that looks a lot like his political foes’ dreams. Meanwhile, Politico looks at what the president said he’d do and what he’s actually done during the pandemic.

Health Law Marketplaces Provide Ready-Made Infrastructure For Influx Of Uninsured Americans. But Will Trump Support Them?

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The Trump administration seems to be doing little to let Americans know they can sign up for health insurance through the exchanges if they lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, some states take steps to help people get on Medicaid during this tumultuous time. But in states where the program hasn’t been extended, Americans are struggling.

Hospitals That Want To Use Stimulus Funds For COVID-19 Patients Must Agree To No ‘Surprise’ Medical Bills

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The stimulus bill includes $100 billion for the health care system to use to treat coronavirus patients, and the White House said hospitals that accept the grants will have to certify that they won’t try to collect more money than the patient would have otherwise owed if the medical attention had been provided in network. Meanwhile, lawmakers may use the next stimulus package to help address the broader issue of surprise medical bills. News outlets report on other insurance coverage and Medicaid developments, as well.

Biggest Champion Of ‘Medicare For All’ Bernie Sanders Ends Presidential Campaign

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Supporters of “Medicare for All,” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) health care plan, are now more pessimistic than ever that the legislation would have a shot at getting passed. Sanders’ decision to end his campaign leaves former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Meanwhile, Republicans launch an aggressive attack against mail-in-voting even as the pandemic rages on.

Advocates Say There Must Be Investment In Medicaid Which Will Likely Become Default Insurance Plan For Many

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As unemployment surges, Medicaid will likely see a reflective wave of new enrollees. But hefty investments into the program will be needed to absorb those extra costs. “You definitely see in the data that as unemployment goes up, the Medicaid rolls go up,” said Josh Bivens, of the Economic Policy Institute. “That’s good, and it’s supposed to happen: It’s a safety net. But this is a quick enough shock that it could be a huge financial burden on Medicaid systems across the states.”

Trump Suggests Health Law Enrollment Might Be Reopened After His Administration Decided Against It

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When President Donald Trump was asked what people should do who lose their jobs because of the outbreak and don’t qualify for Medicaid, he said, “I think it’s a very fair question . . . and it’s something that we’re really going to look at because it doesn’t seem fair.” Earlier in the week, administration officials said they would not launch a special enrollment session. Meanwhile, data released from last year’s health law enrollment for show about 11.4 million consumers signed-up for 2020 exchange coverage.

Premiums Could Spike Next Year As Health System Absorbs Economic Challenge Of Treating Coronavirus

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Depending on how many people need care, insurers, employers and individuals could face anywhere from $34 billion to $251 billion in additional expenses. “No insurer, no state, planned and put money away for something of this significance,” said Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California. Meanwhile, two major health insurers say they will waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment.

Nonprofit Health Centers On Frontlines Of Crisis Face Federal Funding Cut Off In May

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Community health centers face dwindling equipment and resources as they try to care for uninsured Americans amidst the COVID-19 emergency. And there’s an added stress for these facilities because their federal funding will run out in May. Meanwhile, how insurance will cover coronavirus testing and treatment remains an open question.

‘We’ve Resolved Most Of Our Differences’: House Barrels Toward Coronavirus Vote After Day Of Hammering Out Partisan Complaints

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The legislation will include measures to boost paid family leave and unemployment insurance, ensure free coronavirus testing, and strengthen nutritional aid like food stamps. The final sticking points between House Democrats and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the administration’s point person on the deal, involved paid sick leave. The House is expected to vote on Friday, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled the Senate’s weeklong recess next week to assess the legislation.