Latest Morning Briefing Stories

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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

KHN Morning Briefing

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.

Bernie Sanders Is Promising His Supporters ‘Medicare For All,’ But It’s Likely Dead-On-Arrival In Congress

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made his “Medicare for All” a lynchpin of his campaign. But there isn’t much support for it from the lawmakers whose help he would need to get is passed. Meanwhile, The New York Times looks at what it took other countries to get to universal health care, and the history isn’t pretty. Meanwhile House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to unveil legislation to address high health costs in order to offer coverage for vulnerable moderate Dems.

Government Health Plans To Pay For Testing; Private Insurers Vow To Ease Cost Concerns As Well

KHN Morning Briefing

As federal officials promise that Medicare, Medicaid and ACA plans will have the costs of their tests covered, some private insurers promise they will cover diagnostic testing when ordered by a doctor, ease network, referral and prior authorization requirements and/or waive patient cost sharing. States have been taking steps to ease cost concerns over testing, as well.

Supreme Court To Take Up Health Law Case To Dems Delight, But Don’t Expect Decision Before The Election

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration said it was premature for the Supreme Court to get involved in the case, but the justices agreed to add it to their docket. While the decision itself isn’t likely to come before the November elections, Democrats are excited that the issue — something these see as a winning topic for themselves — will be kept front of mind voters.