Trump Targets Surprise Medical Billing As Administration Pushes For More Transparency In Health Care Pricing
"We're going to stop all of it, and it's very important to me," President Donald Trump said during a health care roundtable. Surprise billing -- the practice of charging patients for care that is more expensive than anticipated or not covered by their insurance -- has been regarded as a possible bipartisan issue to tackle in the divided Congress.
Trump Calls For Cracking Down On Surprise Medical Bills
President Trump on Wednesday spoke out against surprise medical bills that patients often cannot afford, highlighting an issue that has received bipartisan concern in Congress. “The health care system too often harms people with some unfair surprises ... medical bills and the like,” Trump said at a roundtable at the White House, along with patients who had received unexpectedly large bills from hospitals. (Sullivan, 1/23)
Trump Vows To End Balance Billing
"We're going to stop all of it, and it's very important to me," Trump said as cameras rolled during the portion of a roundtable discussion on healthcare with his top deputies and patients from around the country with stories of unexpected high medical costs. Senators from both parties are currently working on legislation to stop insurers and hospitals from leaving patients to foot the bill for high and unexpected medical bills. (Luthi, 1/23)
In other national health care news —
Hacienda Sexual Assault Investigation: Nurse Arrested
Phoenix police arrested a 36-year-old nurse at Hacienda HealthCare facility, alleging he sexually assaulted and impregnated an incapacitated woman at the center. The woman gave birth to a boy Dec. 29. Staff members told a 911 operator that they had not known she was pregnant. "From the minute we first became aware of the crime, we have virtually worked non stop seven days a week to resolve this case," Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said in announcing the arrest Wednesday morning. (Burkitt, Shuman and Harris, 1/23)
Juul Labs Lobbies Lawmakers
The presence of Juul e-cigarettes in high schools across the country is increasing — and so is Juul Labs' lobbying presence in the nation's capital. The company, which bills its product as "a satisfying alternative to cigarettes," spent $750,000 on lobbying during the last three months of 2018, according to lobbying disclosure forms filed with Congress on Tuesday. (McMinn, 1/23)
Trump Plan To Put Drug Prices In Ads Might Work, But Not If Pharma Gets Its Way
A Trump administration proposal to require drug makers to advertise prices in television ads could dissuade consumers from considering pricey medicines, according to a new study. But this reaction was mitigated when ads mentioned some patients may be able to receive the treatment for nothing, which is language that drug makers are pushing to include in the White House scheme. The researchers showed five different ads to 580 people about a fictitious diabetes drug. One ad did not mention price, another indicated the drug cost $50 a month, and still another cited $15,500 a month. Two other ads also mentioned each price, respectively, but added a line that “eligible patients” may be able to get the drug for as little as $0 a month, according to the study in JAMA Internal Medicine. (Silverman, 1/23)
The New York Times:
How To Stop Rogue Gene-Editing Of Human Embryos?
A year ago, Dr. Matthew Porteus, a genetics researcher at Stanford, received an out-of-the-blue email from a young Chinese scientist, asking to meet. A few weeks later, the scientist, He Jiankui, arrived in his office and dropped a bombshell. He said he had approval from a Chinese ethics board to create pregnancies using human embryos that he had genetically edited, a type of experiment that had never been carried out before and is illegal in many countries. “I spent probably 40 minutes or so telling him in no uncertain terms how wrong that was, how reckless,” Dr. Porteus said in a recent interview. (Belluck, 1/23)