Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Federal Judge Vacates Obama-Era Rule Banning Discrimination Against Transgender Patients

KHN Morning Briefing

Judge Reed O’Connor for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas is the same federal judge who last year ruled that the entire 2010 health care law was invalid. The decision is likely to be appealed, as O’Connor also ruled that the American Civil Liberties Union and River City Gender Alliance could intervene in the case.

Warren Feels The Heat As Rivals Pile-On Over Her Alleged Hedging On ‘Medicare For All’ Costs

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The latest Democratic debate on Tuesday night highlighted the rising popularity of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in the polls as many of her rivals went on the attack. Most notably South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who struck a more aggressive tone than in previous debates, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who is fighting for her place in the 2020 presidential race, had sharp words for the scope of Warren’s health plans. “I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver affordable coverage is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said. Klobuchar joined in with, “At least Bernie’s being honest here and saying how he’s going to pay for this, and that taxes are going to go up.”

‘Medicare For All’ Talk Likely To Be Center Stage At Dem Debate. But What About Other Health Topics?

KHN Morning Briefing

While much of the health campaigning in the primaries has focused on how the different candidates will ensure health care coverage, there’s large swaths of the cost conversation that haven’t been touched — such as hospital spending, health care deserts and even decisions over drug development. Abortion, as well, has been one of the least talked about topics in the previous debates. Will that change at Tuesday night’s debate in Ohio when 12 Democratic presidential candidates take the stage?

A Decision On The Future Of The Health Law Is Poised To Drop Soon. This Is What’s On The Line.

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals could deem the health law unconstitutional in its ruling in Texas v. Azar, a decision that could come as early as this month. Although the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land for a while no matter what the court decides, it could throw some things — like enrollment numbers — into flux. Meanwhile, a new study shows the impact the health law has had on patients with diabetes.

Warren Faces Increasing Pressure To Explain How She’d Pay For A ‘Medicare For All’ System

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says that she supports rival candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) health care plan. But she also has faced criticism from members of her own party that she’s been “evasive” when it comes to paying for such a system. Other news on the elections looks at more candidates’ health plans, where the Democrats stand on gun control, and the pregnancy discrimination story that inspired women to speak out.

CMS Faulted By Government Watchdog For Approving Medicaid Work Requirements Without Considering Costs

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“Without requiring states to submit projections of administrative costs in their demonstration applications, and by not considering the implications of these costs for federal spending, CMS puts its goals of transparency and budget neutrality at risk,” the Government Accountability Office said in the report. The GAO, a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, found in its report that costs to administer the work requirements range from about $6 million in New Hampshire to $271 million in Kentucky.

Senate Democrats To Target Trump’s Expansion Of ‘Junk Insurance’ Plans

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The effort is part of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s efforts to hit Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for ignoring legislation passed by the Democratic House on health care, guns and other issues. Meanwhile, a new report finds that more states are taking control of their health law marketplaces.

During 20th Century, Doctors Were The Quintessential Republican. But That’s Starting To Change.

KHN Morning Briefing

Doctors are a politically powerful group, and they once were firmly in the Republican camp. But with social changes–such as more women being accepted into medical school–comes a political shift leftward. In other elections news: officials say the Trump administration would delay changes to health law until after elections if the court overturns it and Republicans are getting behind mental health platforms.

Bernie Sanders’ Health Incident Confirmed As Heart Attack, Drawing Spotlight To Candidate At Pivotal Moment In Race

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the episode made him “more determined than ever to fight alongside you to make health care a human right.” The heart attack is likely to heighten scrutiny on age in a primary where the top candidates are all in their 70s. Meanwhile, both Sanders and rival candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) struggle to answer questions about how the middle class will be affected by “Medicare for All.”

Idaho Officials Seek Federal Approval For Work Requirements For Medicaid Expansion

KHN Morning Briefing

The waiver — and others expected from Idaho — could take months to process, but “Medicaid expansion will happen on Jan. 1, 2020, regardless of the status of the waivers,” said Idaho Department of Health and Welfare spokeswoman Niki Forbing-Orr. Other Medicaid news comes from Kansas, West Virginia and Minnesota.

Trump Administration Health Transparency Policy Triggering Industry Sparks

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Also in the news, The Washington Post reports that the administration initially intended to defend the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, what’s up with websites advertising “Trumpcare”? In addition, outlets report on developments from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as well as the Food and Drug Administration.

Senate Passes Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown; White House Says Trump Will Sign It

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The federal government’s fiscal year ends Monday and the legislation will provide money to keep the government running. Congress has not yet passed bills to fund individual agencies. Also in news from Capitol Hill, Senate Democrats are seeking a vote to overturn some of the administration’s rules on insurance, consumer groups lobby for legislation to protect against surprise medical bills, the Senate turns down a measure to give federal workers paid family leave and the House passes a bill to improve care for immigrants at the border.