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Azar defends proposed HHS budget, Medicare cuts in House committee hearing

February 16, 2018

During House and Senate committee hearings, HHS Secretary Alex Azar outlines his priorities for the department, including improving health care access and affordability, transitioning toward value-based payment models, reducing prescription drug costs, and expanding coverage for telehealth services.

Inside 'the war' between UPMC and Highmark for the Pittsburgh market

February 16, 2018

A battle between two major health care players in western Pennsylvania could be a harbinger of what is to come nationwide, as forces of consolidation bring providers and insurers into each other's domains.

CMS: US health care spending hit $3.5T in 2017

February 15, 2018

CMS' Office of the Actuary says spending growth projections for 2017 through 2026 are largely fueled by the aging baby boomer population, increased prices for medical goods and services, and growth in disposable personal income.

Ryan calls for GOP to seek 'incremental' health care reforms

February 15, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says he "think[s] the best chance" Republicans have at changing the U.S. health care system is to seek "incremental" reforms, since larger-scale reforms likely would not have enough support to pass in the Senate.

Opioid misuse cost US economy more than $1T since 2001, report finds

February 15, 2018

Researchers say the U.S. opioid misuse epidemic's greatest financial costs stemmed from lost earnings and productivity as a result of opioid drug-related overdose deaths.

What drives differences in state health care costs? New report offers some insight.

February 14, 2018

Elizabeth Mitchell—CEO and president of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, which issued the report—says, "There is significant variation in cost drivers, which calls for different strategies based on individual market characteristics."

The health care provisions in Trump's budget proposal

February 13, 2018

President Trump's fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal requests $95.4 billion in discretionary HHS funding—with some federal health care agencies seeing budget increases and others seeing budget cuts when compared with FY 2017.

The US is spending more on obesity-related health care, study finds

February 13, 2018

The study finds the share of U.S. national medical expenditures dedicated to treating obesity-rated illness in adults increased by 29% from 6.13% in 2001 to 7.91% in 2015—but spending levels varied by state.

'Copay coupons' won't count toward deductibles this year for many patients. What could that mean?

February 13, 2018

Drugmakers often offer coupon cards—often known as "copay coupons"—to reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs for a product, but starting this year, UnitedHealthcare and Express Scripts are excluding the value of coupons in out-of-pocket cost calculations.

White House outlines policies to lower Rx drug prices

February 12, 2018

The White House Council of Economic Advisers outlines several policy suggestions for lowering prescription drug prices in the United States, including ways to reduce incentives for Medicare providers to prescribe high-priced drugs and boost incentives to prescribe lower-priced drugs.

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