Dec 3, 2018

Employers get more involved on health care costs

After pushing rising health care costs onto workers for years through higher deductibles and more cost-sharing, big employers are now taking on a more active role trying to control those costs directly, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: A whole lot of options are on the table, from direct purchasing agreements with hospitals to onsite clinics to the unusual program in Utah that pays people to travel to Mexico for their drugs.

  • “We’re seeing a really keen interest in moving away from high deductibles and coinsurance,” Forrest Burke, chief executive of national markets at UnitedHealthcare, told the WSJ.

My thought bubble: Some of these tools are really only available to large employers, and don’t do much to change the underlying system in a way that would also provide spillover benefits to small businesses or individuals.

  • At the same time, I still think that if there’s going to be a breaking point where direct government-driven cost control becomes more widely politically palatable, employers will be the ones who drive it.

Go deeper: Corporate health costs don't look like a crisis

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

8 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.