Good morning ... I'm not the world's biggest fan of Eminem, but am considering trying to catch him live just to see this incredible sign language interpreter.
The Senate health committee will kick off a series of hearings this week about health care costs, and the House isn’t far behind, now that it has wrapped up its marathon of opioids bills. The focus makes sense — health care costs are one of voters’ top issues in the midterms.
So, does this mean the GOP is moving on from its repeal-and-replace agenda? Not so fast.
Reality check: Rising ACA premiums are a real issue for millions of people, but they’re a tiny fraction of the health care system. Drug prices, rising deductibles and a burgeoning backlash over surprise hospital bills are all animating the cost debate — and none of them are products of the ACA.
The bottom line: Republicans clearly don’t feel that they can say they’re moving on from ACA repeal, and that could complicate any serious effort to address health care costs — an area where bipartisan agreement may not be easy, but is at least not beyond the realm of possibility.
Go deeper: Read the whole story.
Atul Gawande in 2015. Photo: Lisa Lake/Getty Images for Geisinger Health System
Atul Gawande, the newly minted CEO of the health care project from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase shared some initial thoughts about the venture at the Aspen Ideas Festival this weekend.
His priorities: "Better outcomes, better satisfaction with care, and better cost efficiency, with new models that can be incubated for all."
The challenges: “What they're saying for me is, resources won't be the problem. Human behavior will be, and achieving scale will be."
The targets: "There are three sources of waste and they each require different work."
🙏🏻: "By the way, we’re going to come up with a name. It’s one of my first jobs."
The big picture:
More: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon tells Fortune how Gawande got the job. ("He’s got a big brain and a big heart.")
If you’re looking for more proof that employers are fed up with high health care prices, Axios' Bob Herman recommends paying attention to what Walmart is doing.
Driving the news: Walmart executives were making the rounds last week at a conference hosted by Premier, a health care software and group purchasing company that is part-owned by hospital systems. Why?
Why it matters: Walmart is one of the biggest names that has frequently used direct contracting — a process in which a company acts as an insurance negotiator by promising to send its employees to a specific hospital for certain procedures in exchange for discounted rates.
The House on Friday passed the vehicle that contains almost 60 standalone bills to address the opioid epidemic.
What's next: The Senate is working through its own process, and several of its committees have been working on their own bills.
Between the lines: The House and Senate packages won't be identical, but reconciling them doesn't seem like it should be very difficult.
What we're watching this week: HHS Secretary Alex Azar testifies Tuesday at a Finance Committee hearing on drug prices. Senate HELP committee hearing Wednesday on health care costs. Senate oversight committee hearing Wednesday on Medicaid fraud and overpayments.
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