Headlines in the News

Trump Signs Executive Order Expanding Medicare

October 3, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that he said would improve private Medicare plans for seniors, slamming Democrats for what he described as putting health care “under threat” with “Medicare for All” proposals.

Trump, speaking for an hour at a campaign-style rally at a retirement community in Florida, offered few details on his executive order and spent most of his speech attacking the health policies of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. He said as long as he’s president, “no one will lay a hand on your Medicare benefits.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that he said would improve private Medicare plans for seniors, slamming Democrats for what he described as putting health care “under threat” with “Medicare for All” proposals.

Trump, speaking for an hour at a campaign-style rally at a retirement community in Florida, offered few details on his executive order and spent most of his speech attacking the health policies of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. He said as long as he’s president, “no one will lay a hand on your Medicare benefits.”

“Medicare is under threat like never before,” Trump told the crowd. “I will never allow these politicians to steal your health care and give it away to illegal aliens….”

Read the full CNBC article

Johnson & Johnson Reaches $20.4 Million Settlement in Huge Opioid Case

October 2, 2019

Health-care giant Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that it has reached a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties on the eve of a huge federal trial to determine who is responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Johnson & Johnson would pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $10 million in cash, reimburse $5 million in legal fees and direct $5.4 million to nonprofits for opioid-related programs in those communities.

Health-care giant Johnson & Johnson announced Tuesday that it has reached a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties on the eve of a huge federal trial to determine who is responsible for the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Johnson & Johnson would pay Cuyahoga and Summit counties $10 million in cash, reimburse $5 million in legal fees and direct $5.4 million to nonprofits for opioid-related programs in those communities.

“The settlement allows the company to avoid the resource demands and uncertainty of a trial as it continues to seek meaningful progress in addressing the nation’s opioid crisis,” Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals said in a statement Tuesday night. “The company recognizes the opioid crisis is a complex public health challenge and is working collaboratively to help communities and people in need….”

Read the full The Washington Post article

Trump and Pelosi Aides Talk Drug Costs Despite Impeachment

October 1, 2019

Even as the impeachment battle rumbled, senior White House and Democratic aides sat down Tuesday to discuss details of drug pricing legislation, officials on both sides said.

Passing a law to curb prescription drug prices remains a top policy priority for President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite her decision to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president’s efforts to get a foreign leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Even as the impeachment battle rumbled, senior White House and Democratic aides sat down Tuesday to discuss details of drug pricing legislation, officials on both sides said.

Passing a law to curb prescription drug prices remains a top policy priority for President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, despite her decision to launch an impeachment inquiry into the president’s efforts to get a foreign leader to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Both sides stressed they were not negotiating during Tuesday’s meeting at the White House, but instead were exchanging information and asking questions. Joe Grogan, a top domestic policy adviser to Trump, called it “a very cordial and productive working session….”

Read the full The Associated Press article

Politics Threatens Drug Pricing Deal Between Congress, Trump

September 25, 2019

A congressional effort to reach a deal to lower prescription drug prices this year seemed on a path to derailment Wednesday amid political escalation on several fronts.

House Republicans took a hard line against a major plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in the first committee hearing on her proposal to authorize government negotiation of certain high-priced drugs.

A congressional effort to reach a deal to lower prescription drug prices this year seemed on a path to derailment Wednesday amid political escalation on several fronts.

House Republicans took a hard line against a major plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in the first committee hearing on her proposal to authorize government negotiation of certain high-priced drugs.

Later in the afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) acknowledged his effort with ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to get their embattled proposal on the Senate floor may not happen this year and could slip into early 2020 when when the presidential election will overshadow congressional activity….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article

Health Insurance Costs Surpass $20,000 Per Year, Hitting a Record

September 25, 2019

The cost of family health coverage in the U.S. now tops $20,000, an annual survey of employers found, a record high that has pushed an increasing number of American workers into plans that cover less or cost more, or force them out of the insurance market entirely.

The cost of family health coverage in the U.S. now tops $20,000, an annual survey of employers found, a record high that has pushed an increasing number of American workers into plans that cover less or cost more, or force them out of the insurance market entirely.

“It’s as much as buying a basic economy car,” said Drew Altman, chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, “but buying it every year.” The nonprofit health research group conducts the yearly survey of coverage that people get through work, the main source of insurance in the U.S. for people under age 65….

Read the full Bloomberg article

‘Value’ of Care Was a Big Goal. How Did It Work Out?

September 23, 2019

For most of its history, Medicare paid for health care in ways that encouraged more services — whether they improved health or not.

Critics called it an emphasis on volume, not value.

The Affordable Care Act was intended to change that, and Medicare started a number of programs to do so, including several new ones this year. Nearly a decade after passage of the A.C.A., is value-based payment working?

For most of its history, Medicare paid for health care in ways that encouraged more services — whether they improved health or not.

Critics called it an emphasis on volume, not value.

The Affordable Care Act was intended to change that, and Medicare started a number of programs to do so, including several new ones this year. Nearly a decade after passage of the A.C.A., is value-based payment working?

The Obama administration’s goal was for 90 percent of Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors to be tied to measures of quality by 2018. Although distancing itself from specific targets, the Trump administration has also committed to this goal….

Read the full The New York Times article