All Health care costs stories

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 7, 2020 - Health

Americans pay much more for insulin

Data: RAND; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The U.S.pays several times more for insulin than any other developed country, according to a new RAND report.

Note: The chart above is comparing the U.S. to the other most expensive countries. The average OECD price, excluding the U.S., was about 11 times less than what the U.S. paid in 2018.

Drugs aren't the reason the U.S. spends so much on health care

Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

Voters care a lot about drug prices, but they’re not the main reason the U.S. spends so much on health care.

The big picture: The U.S. spends twice as much per person as other wealthy nations, according to a new Peterson-Kaiser Tracker analysis — and hospitals and outpatient care are the primary culprits.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 29, 2020 - Health

Joe Biden's plan to make the ACA more affordable

Joe Biden speaks at an event about affordable health care. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's proposal to increase Affordable Care Act subsidies and open the marketplace to people with employer insurance could save millions of people hundreds of dollars a month, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

Why it matters: Biden's plan to build on the ACA — making it more affordable and drawing more people onto its exchanges — sets up a stark contrast with President Trump's vision, which is to tear the entire law down.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Hospital prices' steady rise

Data: Whaley, et al., 2020, "Nationwide Evaluation of Health Care Prices Paid by Private Health Plans"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Employers and private insurers paid hospitals, on average, 247% of what Medicare paid for the same services in 2018, per a new RAND study.

Why it matters: We all pay for this giant gap in prices through our premiums and lost wages.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 14, 2020 - Health

Drug pricing politics aren't dead

Illustration: Axios Visuals

President Trump released an executive order on Sunday ordering the Department of Health and Human Services to begin the process of limiting what Medicare pays for prescription drugs relative to other countries.

Why it matters: It's September of an election year. That means that this executive order is, at best, a statement of Trump's intention to keep trying to achieve something big on drug prices should he get a second term.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Sep 2, 2020 - Health

Half of Americans fear a health-related bankruptcy

Data: Gallup; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of Americans who worry about bankruptcy if they have a serious health issue has spiked over the last year and a half — particularly among men, people of color and young adults, according to a new survey from West Health and Gallup.

Between the lines: Health care costs were a huge issue even when the economy was good and we weren't in a global pandemic. Now, millions of people have gotten sick, lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, or all three.

California could become first state to produce generic drugs

Gov. Gavin Newsom has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the measure. Photo: Agustin Paullier/AFP via Getty Images

California's state legislature approved a measure this week that would allow it to become the first state to develop its own line of generic drugs, including insulin, to tackle rising pharmaceutical prices.

Why it matters: If passed, the motion would put California in direct competition with major generic and brand-name drug manufacturers.

Aug 26, 2020 - Health

"Long-haul" COVID can lead to big bills for patients

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some percentage of coronavirus patients experience symptoms that last well beyond their "recovery" — which can leave them on the hook for thousands in medical bills they may not be able to pay.

Why it matters: Its not clear whether guarantees from insurers and the federal government about covering coronavirus treatment costs will still cover long-term health effects, as the Wall Street Journal notes. And because some people never tested positive back when testing was scarce, they don't have a formal diagnosis — further hampering their issue.

Aug 26, 2020 - Health

Hospitals charge a lot more when Wall Street owns them

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Hospitals owned by private equity firms rake in almost 30% more income than hospitals that aren’t, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: Private equity is gobbling up more and more of the health care industry. Investors are buying up physicians’ practices, hospitals and the firms that negotiate prices with insurers.

Aug 19, 2020 - Health

People of color struggle to afford health care

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

People of color disproportionately lack stable health insurance and have more trouble affording health care than white Americans, a new survey from the Commonwealth Fund shows.

Why it matters: This is one of the long-standing inequalities the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated.