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Health spending within the U.S. grew to $three.6 trillion in 2018, in keeping with a brand new report from the federal authorities. The charge of development — four.6% — was up barely from 2017’s four.2%, even though practically 1,000,000 extra Americans lacked insurance coverage.
Meanwhile, Congress has lower than two weeks to complete a yr’s value of labor, together with the spending payments required to maintain the federal government operating and promised laws to deal with “surprise” medical payments and prescription drug costs.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News.
Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:
The share of the financial system spent on well being care truly declined barely from 2017 to 2018 — from 17.9% to 17.7%. But that may come as small solace to shoppers, for whom prices appear to be ever-rising. And it’s shoppers’ considerations driving the political well being debate. Congress doesn’t seem prone to cross particular person spending payments earlier than the present federal spending invoice expires Dec. 20. It seems they might have one other momentary invoice that may probably fund the federal government till February or March. That momentary invoice is a tempting goal for individuals advocating for the everlasting repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax on beneficiant well being plans or a measure to assist shoppers keep away from shock medical payments after they get sudden care from a health care provider or hospital that isn’t of their insurer’s community of suppliers. Democrats operating for president have centered a lot of their well being debate on whether or not to maneuver towards a “Medicare for All” plan or another authorities possibility, akin to permitting individuals to affix Medicare in the event that they lack insurance coverage. But even that scaled-back notion might be extraordinarily disruptive to the employer insurance coverage market. Then once more, that’s what opponents of the ACA predicted, too, but the regulation didn’t trigger employers to drop protection in giant numbers. Recent stories have documented a tense relationship between Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Seema Verma, the pinnacle of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It’s not simply private — the disputes are having a really actual impression on the work of the division. A Senate committee this week authorized the nomination of Stephen Hahn to be the pinnacle of the Food and Drug Administration. Although some senators raised questions concerning the White House’s obvious step again from banning flavored vaping merchandise, it seems that Hahn’s nomination is prone to be authorized by the complete Senate.
Also this week, Rovner interviews KHN’s Markian Hawryluk, who wrote the most recent KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” installment concerning the excessive value of eradicating a doll shoe from a toddler’s nostril. If you might have an outrageous medical invoice you want to share with us, you are able to do that here.
Plus, for additional credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they suppose you need to learn, too:
Julie Rovner: The New York Times’ “How a Divided Left Is Losing the Battle on Abortion,” by Elizabeth Dias and Lisa Lerer
Joanne Kenen: The BBC’s “How a wrong injection helped cause Samoa’s measles epidemic”
Kimberly Leonard: The Los Angeles Times’ “Their kids died on the psych ward. They were far from alone, a Times investigation found,” by Soumya Karlamangla
Mary Agnes Carey: The Washington Post’s “How a fight over health care entangled Elizabeth Warren — and reshaped the Democratic presidential race,” by Annie Linskey, Jeff Stein and Dan Balz
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