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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Claire McCaskill Is Betting On Public Outrage Over Drug Prices To Propel Her To Another Term In Senate

KHN Morning Briefing

“I think it is an issue that is more motivating than almost any other issue I talk about in this campaign,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is in a tight race for reelection against Missouri’s attorney general Josh Hawley. In other news on the upcoming midterms: a White House report warns of the “costs of socialism”; anti-abortion advocates work to gin up support for their ballot initiatives in three states; health care takes center stage in a Texas House race; and more.

America Is ‘Beginning To Turn The Tide’ On Opioid Epidemic, HHS Secretary Says Following Dip In Overdose Deaths

KHN Morning Briefing

HHS Secretary Alex Azar cautioned that the battle is not over, but that the 2.8 percent drop in deaths toward the end of last year and beginning of this one showed that the country is making progress. Azar also unveiled a first-of-its-kind pilot program designed to help mothers with opioid addiction and their children. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign a sweeping opioids package that lawmakers pushed through Congress this fall.

States That Expanded Medicaid Under Health Law Are Slower To Spend Opioid Grants, Investigation Finds

KHN Morning Briefing

In states that expanded Medicaid, the program already covers addiction treatment for nearly everyone who is poor and needs it, so they have to rely less heavily on extra opioid funding. In other news on the crisis: celebrities help fight addiction stigma; a look at a wildly successful Shanghai-based syndicate; why abuse-resistant opioid pills are failing to make strides on the market; and more.

Maryland Wants Supreme Court To Review Ruling That Knocked Down State’s Drug Price Gouging Law

KHN Morning Briefing

A federal appeals court last spring said the law — which allows Maryland’s Medicaid program to notify the state attorney general when an “essential” drug rises in price by 50 percent — gives Maryland officials the right to govern business outside the state, effectively providing “unprecedented powers to regulate the national pharmaceutical market.”

Minnesota AG Files Suit Against Drugmakers Over High Insulin Prices: It’s ‘A Life-Or-Death Drug For People’

KHN Morning Briefing

The lawsuit alleges the insulin makers fraudulently set an artificially high “list” price but then negotiate lower prices by paying rebates and discounts to pharmacy benefit managers. Stories of patients dying because they weren’t able to pay for their insulin have brought attention to the issue in recent months. Minnesota is the first state to go to court over the prices.