Nov 6, 2018

The health industry bets on Republicans for the midterms

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Data: OpenSecrets; Note: Based FEC data from Oct. 26, 2018; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Political action committees for health care companies have mostly donated to Republicans in this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's true across multiple sectors — including doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurers — though it's worth noting that a whole lot of Democratic candidates have sworn off corporate PAC money.

The big picture: Hospitals are the exception. The American Hospital Association's PAC had given significantly more to Democratic candidates, as of Oct. 26. Individual hospital systems' PACs break in both directions.

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The health care debate we ought to be having

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Scott Eisen/Getty Images and Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Americans worry a lot about how to get and pay for good health care, but the 2020 presidential candidates are barely talking about what's at the root of these problems: Almost every incentive in the U.S. health care system is broken.

Why it matters: President Trump and most of the Democratic field are minimizing the hard conversations with voters about why health care eats up so much of each paycheck and what it would really take to change things.

Study: Hospital mergers don't improve quality of care

Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Measures of patient satisfaction and clinical care at hospitals that have been acquired by other hospital systems either declined or did not significantly change, indicating there is "no evidence of quality improvement attributable to changes in [hospital] ownership," according to a new independent study conducted by economists and physician researchers.

The bottom line: Research has already shown hospital mergers, which have boomed over the past 20 years, raise prices. Analysis now shows, contrary to the hospital industry's assertions, that mergers also do nothing to make patient care better.

Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers

A new effort to cut hospital costs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A billionaire with an interest in health care, state legislatures and a well-respected policy shop are all aligning in 2020 to take on hospital costs.

Driving the news: Modern Healthcare reports that the National Association for State Health Policy will be coming up with model legislation in 2020 to help states rein in hospital spending, in addition to work on drug costs.

Go deeperArrowJan 15, 2020