Health care costs

The big picture

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped drug price increases

61 of the drugs with price hikes were being used to treat coronavirus.

Jun 29, 2020 - Health
The coronavirus is slowing health care spending

Delayed care is beating COVID-19 cases right now.

May 21, 2020 - Health
Watch: As Medicare for All debate rages on, costs keep going up

Part 5 of our What Matters 2020 series.

Mar 6, 2020 - Health
The health care debate we ought to be having

Health care is eating up more and more of Americans’ paychecks every year.

Dec 22, 2019 - Politics & Policy
Deep Dive: The drug pricing maze

It can be enormously frustrating for patients — and profitable for everyone else.

Nov 17, 2018 - Health

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Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 13, 2021 - Health

Democrats, led by Biden, are aiming big on health care

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are exploring adding a huge array of health policies to upcoming spending legislation, ranging from further enhancing Affordable Care Act subsidies to allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Why it matters: The next few months may give Democrats the opportunity to walk the walk after campaigning extensively on health care for years, and to plug some of the glaring holes in the system that were exposed by the pandemic.

Apr 13, 2021 - Health

Illinois extends Medicaid coverage to 1 year postpartum

Democratic lawmakers from Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Robin Kelly and Rep. Lauren Underwood. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Tom Williams/Pool/AFP/ via Getty Images

Illinois on Monday became the first state to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers, offering a year of coverage instead of the standard 60 days.

Why it matters: 52% of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. occur within a year of giving birth. In Illinois, it's 80% of maternity deaths, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said on a media call Monday.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Mar 29, 2021 - Health

Another kind of surprise medical bill

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Kaiser Health News' latest edition of its "Bill of the Month" series features a patient who was charged a "facility fee," which drove up what she owed to more than 10 times higher than what she'd previously paid for the same care.

Why it matters: Facility fees — which are essentially room rental fees, as KHN puts it — are becoming increasingly controversial, and patients often receive the bill without warning.

Mar 12, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Hundreds received affordable insulin under new Minnesota program

Alec Smith's death after rationing his insulin inspired a new state law. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Hundreds of Minnesotans with diabetes received life-saving medication at low cost in the first six months of the state's new emergency insulin law, according to a new report from the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

The backdrop: The Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act, which passed with bipartisan support last year, ensures access to a 30-day supply of insulin for a $35 co-pay. The cost of the long-term program is $50 every three months.

Mar 4, 2021 - Health

Centene's CEO made $59 million in pandemic year

Centene CEO Michael Neidorff. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Michael Neidorff, CEO of health insurance company Centene, made almost $59 million in 2020, according to calculations from the company's preliminary financial documents. That amount was roughly 1.5 times more than what Neidorff made in 2019.

The bottom line: Neidorff's compensation is an early sign of how corporate executives, especially those in health care, reaped large, stock-heavy paydays during the coronavirus pandemic, despite the broader economic turmoil.

Feb 27, 2021 - Health

Health care in the New Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby believes that people will feel safe traveling again by this time next year, depending on the pace of vaccinations and the government's ongoing response to the pandemic, he said at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Feb 18, 2021 - Health

Study indicates regulation the best way to lower hospital spending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Government regulations of the hospitals' rates is a much more effective way to reduce costs than relying on competition to do the job, according to a new report by the RAND Corp.

Why it matters: America's health care system is the most expensive in the world, and hospitals account for the largest portion of those costs.

Feb 17, 2021 - Health

Democrats' very pricey, very small health care coverage expansion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office doesn't expect much from House Democrats' plan to temporarily expand health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The big picture: According to CBO's estimates, Democrats' proposals would cover fewer than 2 million uninsured Americans — at a cumulative cost of over $50 billion.

Feb 9, 2021 - Health

Study: More evidence health care cost-sharing doesn't work

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing body of research keeps undermining a key tenet of health economics — the belief that requiring patients to pay more out of their own pockets will make them smarter consumers, forcing the health care system to deliver value.

Driving the news: Even a seemingly modest increase in out-of-pocket costs will cause many patients to stop taking drugs they need, according to a new working paper from Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra.

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