Happy Friday! I feel ladies huddled in blankets throughout the nation felt vindicated by a new study that discovered these gender-based battles over the thermostat that appear commonplace in each workplace aren’t nearly consolation. As rooms heat, so do ladies’s math and verbal check scores. Will this be the tip of the temperature wars? Unlikely, however one can hope!
Now on to what you’ll have missed this week as you prepare to move off into your Memorial Day (visitors).
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — famously identified for his or her skill to supply bipartisan laws collectively — launched a wide-ranging (and once I say wide-ranging, I imply it) bundle of payments geared toward curbing well being care prices. Their plans for shock medical payments stole the highlight as a result of it’s the problem du jour on Capitol Hill, however there’s a lot else in there as properly. Here are the highlights:
• The draft doesn’t choose one of the simplest ways to deal with shock medical payments, however somewhat offers three choices which have been circulating because the debate began: utilizing an arbitrator, price-setting for out-of-network docs and having hospitals thought of “in-network” for a well being plan promise that everybody working there may be additionally in-network.
• According to our associates from STAT, the bundle is “unexpectedly ambitious” and “surprisingly weighty” in terms of decreasing drug costs, together with a measure to ban “spread pricing” — which is an trade follow that permits PBMs to pocket the distinction between a pharmacy worth and wholesale worth from a drugmaker. The measures would additionally make it simpler for generics to get to market and more durable for brand-name medication to take care of unique patents for prolonged intervals.
• Other client protections included: a requirement that sufferers obtain their invoice inside 30 enterprise days, a ban on hospitals’ “gag clauses,” an order that hospitals might now not conceal sure anti-competitive contract options from the employer plans and a provision requiring well being plans and suppliers to present sufferers estimates of out-of-pocket-costs for a service inside 48 hours of a request.
Will some or any of it get executed? It’s unclear, however these within the know say that folks needs to be taking the bundle significantly.
Is there room within the Democratic Party for a lawmaker who holds an anti-abortion stance? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief’s determination to again out of a fundraiser for Rep. Daniel Lipinski of Illinois threw a highlight on that very query this week as tensions run excessive across the hot-button situation.
The wave of anti-abortion laws throughout the nation might look like a united, well-coordinated effort from a “master planner,” however individuals contained in the motion mentioned it’s much less about one particular person’s technique and extra about feeding off each other’s momentum. The New York Times takes a take a look at the community of disparate activists who’ve introduced the nation the closest it has been to overturning Roe v. Wade.
Meanwhile, a coalition of states is suing over an expanded Trump administration rule that permits well being care personnel to refuse to carry out sure procedures, reminiscent of abortions, for spiritual or ethical causes.
2020 hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) each supplied up laws this week geared toward enhancing maternal care, a subject that has gotten extra consideration lately following a bevy of high-profile statistics on the grim reality for U.S. women. Harris’ invoice would goal racial disparities — black ladies are three to 4 instances extra possible than white ladies to die throughout childbirth — whereas Gillibrand’s would make adoption and in vitro fertilization extra reasonably priced and supply government-sponsored “baby bundles” to new mother and father.
On that notice, an evaluation by USA Today has discovered that regardless of greater than a decade of steerage that has referred to as for performing episiotomies (a process that cuts the vagina to create extra room for the infant) solely in circumstances of emergencies, they’re nonetheless being executed at startlingly excessive charges.
Vice President Mike Pence would possibly fly somewhat beneath the radar in an administration dominated by huge personalities and scandals, however, in case you look carefully, you may see his fingerprints everywhere in the Department of Health and Human Services. Politico has a superb story in regards to the sphere of affect that Pence has created on the company and the way he has directed its course to deal with a few of his high priorities.
Over on the Department of Housing and Urban Development, officers are working to roll again protections for homeless transgender individuals. The new proposal would enable HUD-funded suppliers of shelters to think about an individual’s intercourse or gender identification in figuring out whether or not they are often admitted.
How do you erase hundreds of pollution-related deaths a yr? Change the maths. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to change the way in which it calculates the well being dangers of air air pollution, which suggests the demise charge will look higher on paper however not in actuality.
The Oklahoma opioid trial kicks off subsequent week and is probably going to attract the eye of a whole lot of events. The listening to is the primary public trial to emerge from roughly 2,000 lawsuits geared toward holding drugmakers accountable for his or her alleged function within the nation’s raging opioid disaster. To borrow a phrase from former Vice President Joe Biden: It’s an enormous … deal.
Speaking of Biden, the previous vp and 2020 presidential hopeful’s sophisticated historical past with the “War on Drugs” is prone to hang-out his marketing campaign path as he tries to win over the areas within the nation hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.
Which highlights the truth that though the Trump administration has faltered and brought missteps whereas dealing with the epidemic, we didn’t get into this downside in a single day. President Barack Obama’s administration made essential errors because the fentanyl-driven disaster was in its infancy.
It would possibly shock you that the second congressional listening to on “Medicare for All” this yr is that this far down within the e-newsletter, however it demonstrates how little got here out of it. Congressional Budget Office officers as soon as once more equivocated about prices, reiterating that “Medicare for All” would most likely cowl extra individuals and in addition be disruptive. (Revolutionary, I do know.) And lawmakers on each side caught to their speaking factors.
On the identical day officers confirmed the demise of a sixth immigrant baby in U.S. custody, lawmakers had been on the Hill buying and selling barbs with Kevin McAleenan, the pinnacle of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, over the fatalities.
In the miscellaneous file for the week:
• A NYT story that appears at a quiet public well being disaster in California and contains one in every of my favourite quotes for the week: “Clean water flows toward power and money.”
• A brand new examine introduced some miserable statistics about rural Americans’ monetary safety, together with that: 40% wrestle with routine well being, housing and meals payments; about half couldn’t afford an sudden $1,000 expense of any kind; and 1 / 4 of respondents had hassle accessing wanted well being care up to now a number of years.
• Although a lot of the dialog across the measles outbreak revolves across the vocal anti-vaccination motion, there’s another excuse youngsters aren’t getting their pictures: poverty.
• Board-and-care properties for older Americans are making their house owners into multimillionaires whereas the employees are being paid a shamefully low wage.
• Heroin’s presence is disappearing from East Coast enclaves, the place it used to thrive. But that’s not essentially a great factor (no less than for some individuals).
Have an excellent and restful vacation weekend!