Dec 13, 2019

Hospitals win back $800 million from Medicare

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Trump administration is backtracking on a major policy that cut payments to hospitals while the policy is stuck in the courts.

The big picture: The hospital industry is getting back almost $800 million, and the Trump administration has failed to implement another regulation — one that most experts support, too.

Details: Any hospital that was paid a lower amount for a routine clinic visit in 2019 will automatically be paid the difference from the older, higher amount, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a bulletin on Thursday.

  • CMS wanted to create a level playing field, arguing that hospitals should not be paid more for these standard checkups when they could be done for far less in an independent doctor's office.
  • Hospitals naturally hated the idea, took the government to court, won, and are now fighting to eliminate the policy from future years.

Go deeper

Ivanka Trump: "People aren't debating anymore whether paid family leave is good policy"

President Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump declined to comment on CBS News' "Face the Nation" whether she was endorsing any specific bill on paid family leave, but said that she could support Democratic-led legislation if it was the "right policy."

Why it matters: Trump, who has championed paid leave in her role at the White House, said that in the years since her father was elected, people have stopped debating "whether or not paid family leave is good policy" and are now debating "what's the best policy."

Go deeperArrowDec 29, 2019

The health care industry's happy holidays

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The year-end spending bill in Congress epitomizes the power of health care interests.

The big picture: There are lots of goodies for the industry, while patients will get the worst kind of holiday surprise — more medical bills.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

Study: Hospital mergers don't improve quality of care

Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Measures of patient satisfaction and clinical care at hospitals that have been acquired by other hospital systems either declined or did not significantly change, indicating there is "no evidence of quality improvement attributable to changes in [hospital] ownership," according to a new independent study conducted by economists and physician researchers.

The bottom line: Research has already shown hospital mergers, which have boomed over the past 20 years, raise prices. Analysis now shows, contrary to the hospital industry's assertions, that mergers also do nothing to make patient care better.

Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers