The coronavirus kept people out of the hospital.Jul 15, 2020
61 of the drugs with price hikes were being used to treat coronavirus.Jun 29, 2020
Delayed care is beating COVID-19 cases right now.May 21, 2020
Part 5 of our What Matters 2020 series.Mar 6, 2020
Health care is eating up more and more of Americans’ paychecks every year.Dec 22, 2019
It can be enormously frustrating for patients — and profitable for everyone else.Nov 17, 2018
The pandemic has been very good for health insurers — largely because they don't need to pay for procedures that haven't been happening.
By the numbers: The value of health care services performed in America in the second quarter plunged to $1.69 trillion, from $2.26 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The unprecedented drop was enough on its own to account for 9.5 points of the 32.9% annualized fall in second-quarter GDP.
Teladoc's $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo creates the health care industry's largest company devoted to multiple forms of digital care.
The big picture: The coronavirus has accelerated the shift toward virtual doctors' visits.
A three-year-old whistleblower lawsuit alleges Cigna fraudulently mischaracterized the health of its Medicare Advantage enrollees as a way to receive higher federal payments.
The bottom line: This lawsuit was unsealed this week, months after the Department of Justice sued Anthem over similar allegations. However, the federal government declined to intervene in this Cigna case.
The economy has been tanking. Coronavirus infections and deaths have been rising. And the health care industry is as rich as ever.
The big picture: Second-quarter results are still pouring in, but so far, a vast majority of health care companies are reporting profits that many people assumed would not have been possible as the pandemic raged on.
President Trump on Friday signed executive orders that revive several of the administration's previous drug pricing ideas — including attempts to require Medicare to pay no more for drugs than the lowest prices paid by other countries and changing how drug rebates work within industry middlemen.
Reality check: The Trump administration has not enacted any major policies on drug prices. Today's executive orders on their own have limited authority and could take a long time to go into effect, if they go into effect at all.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved an advanced treatment for mantle cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer affecting white blood cells. The one-time therapy, made by Gilead Sciences, is branded as Tecartus.
Why it matters: This is the third federal approval of a CAR-T therapy, a new-age cancer treatment in which a person's own immune system cells are extracted, reengineered, and then infused back into the person's bloodstream.
HCA Healthcare, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country, smashed Wall Street's second-quarter profit expectations even though the coronavirus outbreak forced hospitals to halt elective procedures for several weeks during the quarter.
The bottom line: Medical claims and revenues noticeably declined among hospitals during the height of the pandemic, which has benefited health insurers. But that didn't prevent hospitals from making a lot of money, a large chunk of which was directly subsidized by taxpayers in the form of bailout funds.
A panel of federal judges upheld the Trump administration's cuts to Medicare payments for routine medical visits in a hospital outpatient office — a blow to the hospital industry, which will lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The big picture: Hospitals last year successfully quashed a similar rule, which would have equalized Medicare's pay rates for basic doctor visits, regardless of whether they took place in a hospital-owned or independent clinic. The American Hospital Association said in a statement it is "carefully reviewing the decision to determine our next steps."
Health care companies will start reporting second-quarter financials in earnest this week, showing how the coronavirus lockdowns and subsequent reopenings affected their businesses.
The big picture: Revenues almost certainly will be down for most companies, as the virus forced people to stay at home and led to fewer people getting surgeries and going to pharmacies. But that doesn't mean profits were eliminated, and Wall Street has already pumped health care stock prices back to where they were pre-pandemic.