Good morning. It feels truly miraculous that we've made it through another week. Happy Friday.
Today's word count is 776, or ~3 minutes.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The Trump administration argues its new price transparency rules will help patients shop for cheaper care and encourage insurers to make such shopping attractive.
Yes, but: Research shows most patients don't shop for care, even when tools exist to make it easier.
Driving the news: The administration released two price transparency regulations last week.
The problem: Most patients haven't used cost-comparison tools when they've been made available in the past.
None of this matters much in places where providers have monopolies, as patients don't have any choice about where they get their care and thus can't shop around.
The bottom line: "The norms around how we get health care — how we use the internet to make health care-related decisions — [have] been changing," Desai said.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Hundreds of hospitals are suing the Department of Health and Human Services, claiming in a pair of lawsuits that they've been shortchanged on Medicare payments, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Why it matters: Medicare is full of highly technical payment policies that change every year, and hospitals are trying to recoup billions of taxpayer dollars in these cases.
Details: Both lawsuits were filed this week.
Between the lines: Hospitals have not been shy lately to use the courts as a vehicle to halt payment policies they believe are unlawful.
Plans to ensure patient safety as the nation transitioned to electronic health records have yet to come to fruition a decade later, Kaiser Health News reports with Fortune.
Between the lines: Manufacturers of electronic health records, providers, policy wonks and Congress have either blocked the effort or stalled it through fights over how to do it correctly.
Why it matters: Thousands of patient safety reports related to EHRs have accrued in the meantime.
Medicare is taking years longer than private insurance to cover some generic drugs, meaning seniors could be paying more for their prescriptions, according to Access for Affordable Medicines, a lobbying group for the generic drug industry.
Between the lines: A 2017 policy change made the distinction between generics and brand-name drugs unclear, forcing the two types to compete within the same formulary tiers, Bloomberg notes.
Yes, but: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has argued this policy keeps Medicare premiums down by encouraging flexibility in the plan's design and increasing negotiating leverage with drugmakers, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
Go deeper: The downside of cheap generics
Massachusetts lawmakers passed the toughest ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products in the country on Thursday, proposing a 75% tax on vaping products and requiring the state's Medicaid program to cover cessation counseling, AP reports.
The big picture: Massachusetts now awaits Gov. Charlie Baker's decision whether to sign the bill, Marisa writes.