Dec 4, 2018

HHS' new plans to boost health care competition

HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

HHS' new report about ways to improve “choice and competition” in the U.S. health care system is stuffed with plenty of standard conservative talking points, but a few interesting policies endorsed by independent experts are also tucked inside.

Details: Several of the Trump administration's recommendations mirror an April 2017 policy paper authored by health care policy experts Martin Gaynor, Farzad Mostashari and Paul Ginsburg.

It calls for:

  • Repealing state laws that require providers to ask for permission to build new facilities.
  • Allowing physician assistants and dental hygienists to do more without supervision by a doctor or dentist.
  • More site-neutral payments.

There’s no mention of unscrambling hospital mergers or regulating prices. But the administration could win legislative and public support for some of these policies.

Yes, but: This document also serves as a political vehicle to stump for conservative hobbyhorses — like short-term plans, health savings accounts, lifting the repeal on physician-owned hospitals, and potshots at the Affordable Care Act.

  • HHS also said the government should pursue “programs that encourage value … such as Medicare Advantage” — another indirect attempt to steer Medicare enrollees into private plans.

Go deeper: More ACA competition comes with a catch for consumers

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow26 mins ago - World

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World