Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Federal Judge Rules ‘Undeniable’ Benefits Of Expanding Short-Term Plans Outweigh ‘Minimal’ Negative Impact

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration issued a regulation last year allowing short-term health care plans to last up to 12 months instead of three. The plans don’t have to adhere to the health law’s strict regulations, so critics blast them as being “junk insurance.” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, however, ruled that the plans aims to “minimize the harm and expense” for individuals who might otherwise decide not to purchase insurance because of high premiums.

Democrats’ Fault Lines Over Health Care Reveal Deeper Philosophical Differences That Go Beyond One Issue

KHN Morning Briefing

Health care is one of the dividing issues for the crowded 2020 Democratic field, but the candidates’ stances on the issue underscore how different their philosophies can be. Meanwhile, those candidates who support “Medicare for All” are still grappling with the issue of how to pay for it. And The New York Times fact checks President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the Democrats’ plans.

UnitedHealth Reverses Course, Approves Coverage For $2.1 Million Gene Therapy For Family Racing Against Clock

KHN Morning Briefing

Lauren Sullivan had been trying to appeal UnitedHealth’s initial refusal of the drug for her 21-month-old daughter, Daryn. The girl was running out of time to receive the treatment before her second birthday in October, when the drug has to be administered. The company also approved claims for three other patients. In other news, UnitedHealth beats expectations for the quarter, prompting company to boost earnings guidance.

Biden, Sanders Duke It Out Over Health Care In Public Scuffle That Highlights Party Tensions Over High-Profile Issue

KHN Morning Briefing

Presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former Vice President Joe Biden would take separate paths on how to address health care, with Sanders going for an overhaul approach and Biden favoring building on what exists. The two philosophies have come to divide a crowded pack of Democrats as the election season starts kicking into gear, and in the past few days Sanders and Biden have been publicly swiping at each other over the issue. Meanwhile, governors are particularly worried about candidates’ rhetoric about getting rid of private insurers.

‘Cadillac Tax,’ Once A Key Provision Of Health Law, Dealt Near-Certain Death Blow By Unlikely Foe: Democrats

KHN Morning Briefing

The “Cadillac tax,” which never went into effect, was intended to help control costs by putting a brake on the value of health insurance plans and avoid having insurers and employers shifting more costs to policyholders. Its implementation has been delayed for years, and House Democrats voted to repeal it once and for all. It still needs to go to the Senate, but in all likelihood the upper chamber will eagerly follow suit, as Republicans didn’t like the provision.

Negotiations About Overhaul Of VA Health System Stand In Way Of Debt-Limit Deal

KHN Morning Briefing

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting $22 billion over two years to cover the cost of a revamp of the VA health-care program signed into law last year. She said that the funding for the program should be in addition to the equal increases she is seeking for nonmilitary and military funding. Lawmakers are trying to get an overall deal done before the House leaves for August recess.

‘If You Like Your Plan … You Can Keep It’: Biden’s Blast-From-The-Past Promise Highlights Pros, Pitfalls Of His Health Strategy

KHN Morning Briefing

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a similar vow to voters at an AARP/Des Moines Register forum that then-President Barack Obama made as he was touting the health law. The echo from years past highlights Biden’s strategy of building upon the system already in place that has only grown in popularity in recent years. But it could put him out of step with the mood of the party. “Politically, Biden is trapped by his old job,” said Scott Jennings, an appointee in former President George W. Bush’s administration.

At First AARP Forum, Presidential Candidates Talk Compensation For Caregivers, Age Discrimination And Drug Prices

KHN Morning Briefing

All four of the participants at the first of five presidential candidate forums that AARP and the Des Moines Register are sponsoring in Iowa favored a more moderate expansion of health care coverage over progressive “Medicare for All” proposals. Monday’s forum in Des Moines featured former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Appeals Court Delivers Blow To Trump Administration As It Upholds Decision To Block Contraception Exemptions

KHN Morning Briefing

Judge Patty Schwartz, writing for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, said the Affordable Care Act plainly states that women must be provided preventive health services. The Trump administration’s rules that would allow employers to deny workers insurance coverage for birth control due to religious or moral objections sparked an immediate court challenge when rolled out in November.