Good morning … This weekend, buy a drink for the health care reporters and analysts in your life, who have spent far too many hours inventing hypothetical 40-year-old non-smokers in Ohio making $40,000 per year — and infinite other variations — and running them through HealthCare.gov, all in a futile attempt to come up with a simple answer about how much insurance costs.
"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," President Trump said yesterday. But there's broad agreement among public health experts that the plan Trump released isn't enough to get there.
The bottom line: The steps Trump announced yesterday will help, experts say. At a minimum, they won't hurt. But they're not enough. To tackle this public health crisis, the administration will need a more complete strategy and a lot of money.
What they're saying:
The bright side: Trump's actions might not be enough to tame the opioid crisis, but some of them could make a real difference.
CVS Health's proposed $66 billion buyout of Aetna, scooped by the Wall Street Journal, would create a sprawling health care empire with roughly $240 billion of annual revenue. Only Walmart would be larger, in terms of annual revenue among U.S. companies across all industries.
Yes, but: That's assuming the acquisition actually happens. Axios' Bob Herman runs through some of the biggest outstanding questions that could pose problems for the deal:
The latest installment in Axios' Expert Voices takes a closer look at Trump's executive order on health care, which will broaden access to cheaper, less comprehensive insurance plans — and could destabilize the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces in the meantime.
We've assembled five policy experts — James Capretta, Christopher Condeluci, Jeanne Lambrew, John McDonough and Tevi Troy — to pick apart the order and tease out its implications.
It's not a big surprise that an insurance executive, whose company sells products on the ACA's exchanges, would sound a note of optimism about the exchanges' future. But it's notable when that executive is Joshua Kushner — the co-founder of Oscar Health Insurance and the brother of President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
Joshua Kushner and Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser have an opinion piece in Axios today outlining their view of the ACA's future — and of how the Trump administration has affected it.
A new report from the Brookings Institution aims to make sense of the complicated history of insurance premiums in the ACA's exchanges, and why they've risen the way they have. The bottom line, per Brookings' Matt Fiedler:
Supporting evidence: The Kaiser Family Foundation is also out with new research today, breaking down how much of insurers' 2018 premium increases, in each state, is attributable to the drama surrounding the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies.
What we're watching today: Former HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell gives a speech on health care at American University, of which she is now the president.
What's on your radar for next week? Let me know by replying to this email, or find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.