Latest Morning Briefing Stories
Getting coverage can be just the first hurdle when it comes to navigating the high costs in the health industry. Many patients are delaying or even skipping care completely because they can’t afford it. In other news on health care costs and the industry: uninsured children, Medicaid payments, Oscar Health, the senior care-home industry, another Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, and more.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that big changes in health care, a “deeply personal” issue, can make people “uneasy.” Warren has been hammered over her “Medicare for All” plans and has begun to emphasize a 3-year grace transition period into the new system. Meanwhile, KHN takes a look at how other countries pay for health care.
An appeals court ruling kicked the case back down to the lower court for further work, which means it wouldn’t make its way to the Supreme Court until after the 2020 elections — during which health care is expected to be a major concern for many voters. By keeping the case front of mind for the public, the Democrats are trying to own what has proven to be a winning issue for them in the past.
“I don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll just let it go where we are talking and I’m confident that we’ll get something,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. Medicaid news comes out of Texas, as well.
The study is one of the first large-scale efforts to examine whether hospital combinations deliver benefits to offset higher prices associated with the sector’s consolidation. Other hospital news looks at lawsuits over unpaid bills, violations at psychiatric facilities, hospital infections, and more.
The rule that insurers have to provide a separate bill to show the amount being spent on the abortion coverage they provide is deeply unpopular outside of the antiabortion movement due to the administrative burden it’s expected to cause. Abortion rights groups also condemn the rule, saying it will cause confusion and further stigmatize a legal form of health care. In other news on the health law: after three years in office President Donald Trump still hasn’t delivered a “replacement” law; and more.
These Christian nonprofit groups offer far lower rates because they are not classified as insurance and are under no legal obligation to pay medical claims. But many of those who buy into them don’t fully realize that their claims don’t have to be met and are left facing sky-high medical bills alone. In other health care cost and insurance news: geographical disparities in prices and medical debt.
A look at what happened over the holidays as the 2020 candidates gear up for the Iowa caucuses.
The sweeping spending measure passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week contains lots of wins for an industry that has publicly been under attack for the past year. The success shows how formidable the health care industry remains.
The state battles that experts expect to see in 2020 reflect a deepening cultural divide within the country over how to address public health issues. Republicans still control a majority of state capitals, but Democrats have made gains in recent years. The dynamic could set off some fireworks in the coming year. Meanwhile, hospitals are fighting state-level laws to rein in health care costs, foreshadowing issues that might come in any federal push to do the same.
And new customers totaled more than 2 million people — an increase of 36,000 from last year. That’s considered a positive sign because it reflects consumer interest. The final tally doesn’t include the millions of people who chose a health plan through state-run exchanges.
The tool was launched to help beneficiaries better organize their medication lists. The potential breach was contained though to about 10,000 authorized users.
Many questions remain following the appeals court’s decision to kick the case back down to a federal district judge, but the Affordable Care Act does remain intact for now. Meanwhile, Republicans get some political breathing room as they head into the 2020 elections because it’s unlikely the lawsuit will be in front of the Supreme Court anytime soon.
With his health care proposals, Democratic presidential race late-comer Michael Bloomberg stands in middle-of-the-road ground rather than steering into the progressive lanes of the party, where universal care and “Medicare for All” are more favored.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) exchange started out with some teasing, but escalated into shouting and interruptions as they touched on well-worn arguments about the status quo versus the costs of “Medicare for All.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) jumped in to redirect Sanders’ anger toward congressional Republicans instead of his rival candidates. But overall, health care played a much smaller role at the final debate of the year as “Medicare for All” sinks in popularity.
It’s a widely believed that attacking the health law — and its popular provisions that protect preexisting conditions — proved to be a political vulnerability for Republicans during the 2018 elections. Because the case has been kicked back down to the lower courts, that means a final decision on the law’s fate might not come until after the 2020 election cycle.
“Tonight’s ruling is a chilling threat to the 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions and every other family who depends on the lifesaving protections of the Affordable Care Act,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Meanwhile, insurers and other industry groups who have been living with turmoil for years over the fate of the law were concerned the decision only drags out the uncertainty. President Donald Trump heralded the ruling, vowing to protect the law’s popular provisions without giving details on how he would do so.
Congress’ decision to repeal three health law taxes was a huge win for the industry, but consumer protection issues — like surprise medical bills — were not included. Meanwhile, advocates hope that the data that might come from the gun violence funding included in the spending bill for the first time in decades will make a difference in swaying lawmakers in the future.
The only full-throated supported of “Medicare for All” at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate is expected to be Sen. Bernie Sander (I-Vt.) In recent weeks, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whose fate got tangled up with the plan, has been re-calibrating her message to focus on the transition period to a new system.
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.