Good morning ...
Situational awareness: Wellington Management, the largest shareholder in Bristol-Myers Squibb, told the company's board yesterday that it doesn't support plans to buy rival drugmaker Celgene.
It's a lot more than just the visible stuff, the Kaiser Family Foundation's Drew Altman writes in today's column. And people will have to understand that before they can understand how Medicare for All, or any other sweeping reforms, would affect them.
Between the lines: Few people think about the other health costs they pay: their taxes to support health care, or what their employers are paying toward premiums (which is depressing their wages).
Why it matters: This could be particularly important when analyzing Medicare for All proposals, since they would so significantly alter the financing of health care by shifting it from premiums and out-of-pocket costs to taxes.
AbbVie paid out $16.4 billion in rebates and other discounts to pharmacy benefit managers and wholesalers in 2018, the pharmaceutical company disclosed late Wednesday in its annual regulatory filing.
Between the lines: AbbVie hasn’t changed its rebating that much. Rebates were 31% and 30% of AbbVie's gross revenue in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Georgia legislators are advancing a bill that aims to prevent patients from getting surprise medical bills. But that proposal could drive up costs across the board, my colleague Bob reports.
Details: The most recent version of the bill says that if patients unexpectedly receive "unanticipated ... out-of-network services," health insurers must pay doctors their full pre-insurance charges, or a metric that averages the highest percentiles of local charges — whichever is less.
The catch: These rates would be very high. If doctors know they will get paid their full charges, or something very close to them, why would they accept lower rates by agreeing to be part of insurers' networks?
BTW: The state senator who is sponsoring the bill, Republican Chuck Hufstetler, is an anesthetist. Hufstetler and his office did not respond to questions.
Racial disparities in health are getting better, but there's still a deep and persistent inequity between the health of white and black mothers.
"Put simply, for black women far more than for white women, giving birth can amount to a death sentence," Harvard's public-health school notes in its magazine.
By the numbers: Maternal mortality is on the rise overall in the U.S., according to Harvard. On average, the mother dies in 18 out of every 100,000 births.
Researchers have consistently tied those disparities to social factors, like poverty and racial discrimination. If your body experiences enough severe stress and fight-or-flight situations over a long enough time period, your health suffers.
The conservative American Action Network is spending almost $3 million to try to keep Republican lawmakers aligned with Medicare's privately run drug benefit, pushing back on mounting pressure to support more direct government intervention.
By the numbers: The advocacy group's campaign will include $2.8 million worth of print and digital ads targeting 46 GOP House members and 11 Republican senators.
Between the lines: Medicare's drug benefit is administered by private insurers and relies on private pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate prices with private drug companies.