Latest Morning Briefing Stories
So far, more than 932,000 people have signed up for 2020 health insurance coverage down from 1.1 million sign-ups this time last year despite the marketplace being stronger than ever.
Red states are noticing the benefits their neighbors reaped by expanding the program, and are slowly warming up to it themselves. “There’s been a ton of evidence showing large gains in health care coverage, while helping states economically and keeping rural hospitals open,” said Connie Farrow, spokeswoman for Healthcare for Missouri. “And it hasn’t hurt state budgets. It remains a really good deal for states to cover hundreds of thousands of people.” Medicaid news comes from Wyoming, Idaho and Florida, as well.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) standing in the 2020 Democratic primary has only grown since his heart attack, proving that the political thinking of days passed may no longer apply to the current landscape. Meanwhile, Sanders has made some lifestyle changes post-attack.
Kaiser Permanente Chief Executive Bernard Tyson, one of a few top black executives of major U.S. for-profit or nonprofit corporations, is remembered as an influential voice on issues of race relations and health policy. But his tenure at Kaiser Permanente wasn’t without strife. In other health industry news: a canceled merger, a promotion at UnitedHealth Group, and a possible acquisition.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma delivered a fiery speech to the nation’s 56 state and territorial Medicaid directors in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, covering a range of issues. She also defended her decision to hire allies as outside contractors to help her develop a communications strategy.
The National Nurses United enthusiastically threw its weight behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential campaign due to his “Medicare for All” plan, so it was unlikely the union would go for anyone else in the current primary contest. Union members, though, say that while they support Sanders, they won’t be going negative in attacks against his rivals. Meanwhile, KHN fact checks Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) claims about out-of-pocket spending.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge, argues that the state has violated federal laws by failing to offer children intensive mental health services, instead relying on psychiatric institutions and the juvenile justice system to stabilize children in crisis. Medicaid news comes out of Minnesota and Tennessee, as well.
“For people who live with little to no savings, any increase in Medicare premiums or drug costs is going to be a struggle,” said Fred Riccardi, president of the Medicare Rights Center.
Bernard Tyson was described by colleagues in a company statement as “an outstanding leader, visionary and champion for high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.”
“Everyone sat up and said: ‘Wow, we’re not very good. Not only are we very expensive, we kill a lot of people,’ ” recalled Dr. Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at University of California at San Francisco, who who has written about patient safety issues for years. Many of the report’s ambitious goals, such as creating a reliable system of measuring errors, have yet to be realized. In other news on hospitals: debilitating lawsuits, financial struggles at rural facilities, infant deaths from contaminated equipment, and more.
Under the Trump administration, there’s been a push to allow veterans to seek care outside the VA system as a way to cut down on wait times and improve access. But some worry that will ultimately hurt veterans in the long run. Media outlets cover other news related to vets’ health care on Veterans Day.
Legal rulings have made red states more hesitant to try to implement work requirements, but Republicans aren’t throwing in the towel yet. Work requirements “are not dead, but they’re certainly on life support,” said Joan Alker, of Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “The reasons for states not to go down this path are piling up.” Medicaid news comes out of Missouri, Wyoming and Maine, as well.
Media outlets report on news from California, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) dove into a hot-button election topic with the release of a sweeping plan to tackle the immigration crisis. On day one of his presidency, Sanders says he would end family separations and shutter for-profit detention centers, among other things.
Those implementing the plan say they are unable to guarantee a health care network large enough to accommodate all the veterans who might seek care under the expanded privatization system. They say they might need as much as $75 million more in funding to make it work. Meanwhile in other veterans health news: Apple announces that vets will be able to access their health records through an app, doctors celebrate the success of a penis transplant, horses help overcome trauma, and more.
So far, more than 177,000 people enrolled for coverage under the health law. But during the first week of open enrollment last year — which spanned three days instead of this year’s two — 371,676 people signed up. Meanwhile, anyone signing up for Medicare during its enrollment season should be on high alert for scams.
In Kentucky and Virginia, Democrats won big on health care issues like Medicaid expansion. But in Mississippi, Democrat Jim Hood’s support of a plan that would cover about 300,000 poor residents wasn’t enough for him to win the gubernatorial race. In other elections news: a look at the Virginia Legislature’s priorities now that Democrats are in control.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R) just released a new health care blue print for the state, including limited Medicaid expansion. While critics are glad that something is being accomplished, they’re worried it doesn’t go far enough.
While plans from Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) target the insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies — both subjects of public ire — South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg takes on politically powerful hospitals with his health care overhaul proposals. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden bristled over Warren’s dismissal of his criticism of her health plan.
With a tight lead in the Kentucky gubernatorial race, Attorney General Andy Beshear (D) claimed victory in an election where the debate over Medicaid expansion and work rules featured prominently. In other 2019 election results, Democrats gained control of both houses in Virginia. Lawmakers in the state have promised to tackle gun control reform if they gained control of the Legislature. And in Mississippi, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) secured the gubernatorial win, all but ending discussion of expanding Medicaid there.