In a speech before Congress in which he promised “Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed,” President Donald Trump laid out some expected goals for health care, without much detail about how to achieve those goals. (For comparison, see President Obama’s first congressional address.)
On Tuesday night, Trump talked about bringing drug and insurance costs down, giving states flexibility with Medicaid, tort reform and expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts. Continue reading
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has blocked the merger of Anthem and Cigna, the second court ruling this year against megamergers in the health insurance industry.
On Thursday, Anthem said it would appeal the Feb. 8 ruling promptly and request an expedited hearing. Cigna said it would review the decision and evaluate its options. Anthem has a financial incentive to appeal given that under the terms of the merger proposal, Anthem agreed to pay Cigna $1.85 billion if the deal fell apart. Continue reading
Medicare Advantage 2016 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update, by Gretchen Jacobson, Giselle Casillas, Anthony Damico, Tricia Neuman and Marsha Gold for the Kaiser Family Foundation, May 11, 2016.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Monday sided with the Department of Justice to block the merger of Aetna and Humana. The ruling is being called a victory for members of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, since Aetna and Humana — two of the nation’s largest health insurers would, as a combined company, have owned the biggest share of the Medicare Advantage market, The Wall Street Journal reported.
For journalists covering health insurance in their cities and states, there’s a story on how the merger would have affected competition in states where the two companies compete. Continue reading
Donald J. Trump
The Washington Post has taken a post-election look at 15 major industries in a story aptly titled, “Mr. Business Goes to Washington. NOW WHAT?” The overview was written by Thomas Heath, with health care industry input from Carolyn Johnson.
The Post story divided industries into “winners” (assuming no major recession) and “it’s complicated.” Health care – naturally – fell under “complicated.” Continue reading
Source: Robinson JC, Whaley C, Brown TT. Association of Reference Pricing for Diagnostic Laboratory Testing with Changes in Patient Choices, Prices, and Total Spending for Diagnostic Tests. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 25, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2492.
When Safeway, a grocery store chain, introduced reference pricing for the most commonly used clinical laboratory tests, spending on those tests dropped by 32 percent over three years, according to a recent study.
Using reference pricing, Safeway saved $2.57 million over the three years of the study (2011 to 2013). Of that amount, $1.05 million (41 percent) went back into consumers’ pockets, and the remaining $1.70 million accrued to Safeway, the study showed. Also, reference pricing led to a 32 percent drop in the average price that consumers paid for 285 different lab tests.
The researchers concluded that reference pricing can lead to savings for employers, workers and family members. JAMA Internal Medicine published the study online on July 25. Continue reading