Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Trump issues order to bring transparency to health care prices | Fight over billions in ObamaCare payments heads to Supreme Court

Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. 

The Trump administration is pushing price transparency for providers and insurers, the Supreme Court will hear a case about billions of dollars in ObamaCare payments, and Missouri's last abortion clinic gets another week.


Trump issues executive order to bring transparency to health care prices

The Trump administration is working on regulations that will require health care providers and insurers to tell patients how much a service will cost before they get it.

President Trump, in an executive order issued Monday, directed the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to put out rules requiring hospitals disclose prices that reflect what patients and insurers "actually pay" for services.

The rules aim to bring more transparency to a health care system where patients usually don't find out how much a procedure costs until they get the bill in the mail.

This will "go down as one of the most significant steps in the long history of American health care reform," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

The rules will also require health care providers and insurers to tell patients about the out-of-pocket costs they'll face before they receive health care services.

Why it matters: Many of us have ended up in situations where we need a procedure done and want to find the best price. That's not always possible when providers don't give full and accurate quotes -- if they give one at all. Regulations could help with that. 

Reaction: Democrats, who almost always oppose Trump's health care proposals, gave a tepid response. Republicans think transparency will encourage competition, which will lower prices. Democrats think transparency can help but want more aggressive action to lower health care costs. 

"Transparency is an important first step, but this initiative cannot become a license for industry to sustain the high cost status quo," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

"Real steps must be taken to lower prices for health care on everything from drug prices to medical procedures."

Read more on the order here.


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ObamaCare headed to the Supreme Court... just not THAT case

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a case on whether insurance companies are owed billions of dollars in ObamaCare payments from the federal government.

This case is a bit more technical than the high-profile ones over the entire law. But it still matters. 

What's at stake: About $12 billion in ObamaCare "risk corridor" payments to insurers that the companies say they are owed. 

The politics (flashback!): Risk corridors have faded as an issue recently, but for several years limiting the funds was a top goal of Republicans, who argued the funds were a "bailout" of ObamaCare insurers. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) made his push to limit the funds a big part of his 2016 presidential campaign. 

Read more here


Title X update: Trump administration to hold off, for now 

The Trump administration is indicating it will not enforce its changes to a federal family planning program despite getting the go-ahead last week from a federal judge. 

The changes ban Title X recipients from referring women for abortions, and cut funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

"We are still evaluating the full implications of the decision and the appropriate next steps given several considerations," said an HHS spokesperson.

"We have not yet begun monitoring or enforcing the new rule.  We will provide further guidance in due course."

A three-judge panel for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay last week on three injunctions placed on the rule by lower courts. 

The plaintiffs, including Planned Parenthood, have asked for a larger panel of judges to re-hear the case.


Judge rules Missouri's last abortion clinic can stay open until Friday

Missouri's lone abortion clinic can stay open until at least Friday after a judge ruled to extend a preliminary injunction. 

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Michael Stelzer allowed the extension on Monday and ordered Planned Parenthood and the state to take the case before a state panel that handles licensing issues. 

But Planned Parenthood said its worried the panel will not reach a decision by Friday, making Missouri the first state in nearly 50 years to not have an abortion clinic. 

"The terrifying reality is that access is hanging on by a thread with a narrowing timeline," said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an OB-GYN at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. 

Why it matters: Planned Parenthood sued the state last month for refusing to renew its license. The state, which said it was investigating the clinic for allegedly breaking state laws, would not renew its abortion license without interviewing five of its doctors. 

The state says the clinic is unsafe for patients, citing three failed abortions. Planned Parenthood says the state is motivated by politics and not science.

Read more on the fight here.



Medical groups: Climate change is 'greatest public health challenge of the 21st century'

Dozens of medical and public health groups are calling on elected officials and candidates to commit to an agenda to combat climate change.

"The health, safety and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change," the 74 groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, said in a letter Monday.

They called climate change the "greatest public health challenge of the 21st century."

The groups are pressing elected officials and presidential candidates to "meet and strengthen U.S. commitments" under the 2015 United Nations climate agreement from which President Trump has vowed to withdraw the U.S.

The letter comes ahead of the first Democratic primary debates this week, when White House hopefuls are expected to touch upon their plans to address the climate crisis.

Read more here.


Legislation to raise legal tobacco age set for Senate vote 

Bipartisan legislation to raise the legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21 is set for a key Senate vote this week.

The bill from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was added to a massive piece of health care legislation in the Senate Health Committee. The broader legislation is intended to lower health costs and bring generic drugs to the market more quickly and will be marked up on Wednesday.

"Tobacco is clearly harmful and addictive, especially for young people," Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said in a statement. "Helping Americans live healthier lives is an important part of reducing health care costs."

The legislation was introduced to combat the massive spike in youth vaping, which federal health agencies have deemed a public health crisis. It also includes a major revision that should help smooth its passage. 

Some Democrats-- notably Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii)-- had expressed concern that the McConnell bill left too much leeway for tobacco company influence, because it required states to pass their own tobacco laws. The version included in the health committee package removes this requirement. 


The Hill events

On Tuesday, June 25th, The Hill will host Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation at the Newseum in Washington, DC. The Hill's Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons and Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack will sit down with Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and an expert panel for a discussion on how leaders in Washington and the health industry can bring down drug costs for Medicare patients while continuing to ensure quality of care for those who depend on the program. RSVP here

On Wednesday, June 26th, The Hill will host the Future of Healthcare Summit at Long View Gallery in Washington, D.C. We will discuss some of tomorrow's biggest questions in healthcare with policymakers, health officials and industry leaders. Speakers include Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), FDA's Dr. Amy Abernethy, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Nano Vision CEO Steve Papermaster and many more. RSVP and learn more about the summit here


What we're reading

Progressive Democrats are furious at Nancy Pelosi for cutting them out of a prescription drug pricing deal (BuzzFeed News)

CBD-infused food and beverages are still illegal under U.S. law. So why are they everywhere? (The Washington Post)

The researcher behind the smartphone "horns" study sells posture pillows (Quartz)


State by state

Maine Medicaid enrollment lower than expected since expansion (Associated Press)

Judge approves Teva's $85 million opioid settlement with state of Oklahoma (NBC News)

Nebraska slowly rolls out voter-approved Medicaid expansion (Associated Press)

Teens of 'anti-vaxxers' can get their own vaccines, some states say (Stateline)


From The Hill's opinion page 

Give Americans in Puerto Rico the health care they deserve

Thanks to Trump, the health care choice is yours