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The Trump administration's new legal argument against the Affordable Care Act is a political risk. It may also be a liability in court.
How it works: The legal issue here is "severability" — if the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, can it be struck down in isolation? Or is it too intertwined with other parts of the law?
Flashback: We've seen this movie before — in 2012, at the Supreme Court.
The Justice Department has now forced that same all-or-nothing decision into the case now pending before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
"There's no way they were getting Roberts' vote anyway … but this won't help," said Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who helped spearhead a different challenge to the ACA.
It may not get that far. "I think the states ultimately lose," Adler said. "I think the most likely outcome is they lose in the 5th Circuit. If they don't lose at the 5th Circuit, they will lose at the Supreme Court."
If that's what happens, adopting this riskier legal strategy may ultimately be the only thing that saves Republicans from the political nightmare of wiping out 20 million people's health care coverage with no strategy on how to replace it.
Purdue Pharma was willing to pay handsomely to avoid a high-profile, televised trial over the company's role in the opioid crisis.
Driving the news: Purdue, the maker of OxyContin, reached a $270 million settlement yesterday with Oklahoma, where the first major trial over the opioid epidemic is set to begin in May.
Details, via the Wall Street Journal:
The big question: How much more is Purdue willing to pay to settle the 1,600 other lawsuits that have been consolidated before a federal judge in Ohio?
What we're watching: Purdue has said it's considering declare bankruptcy, which would likely limit plaintiffs' ability to collect damages they might win at trial.
Purdue's settlement doesn't affect the other companies Oklahoma is pursuing, including Johnson & Johnson.
The push to begin delivering commercial products via drone is starting — where else? — with health care.
A North Carolina hospital is part of the first regular commercial drone flights the Federal Aviation Administration has ever authorized, AP reports.
The other side: "They're cool, headline-making tests. But when you get down to ... the economics of logistics, that's a different matter," said Colin Snow, of the drone research firm Skylogic.
Durable medical equipment is the culprit in the latest installment of Kaiser Health News' series on surprisingly large hospital bills.
This is not an isolated incident, or a controversy limited to this kind of medical equipment. There was the $629 Band-Aid; the stitches that ran $500 each; the $1,877 bill for piercing a 5-year-old's ears.
A Medicare buy-in is more popular than switching to a single-payer health care system, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University.
By the numbers: Overall, voters were split on the wisdom of single-payer — 45% said it would be a bad idea, and 43% said it would be a good idea.
Republicans were the difference-makers. They overwhelmingly oppose single-payer (79% against), but a plurality of Republican voters (43%) support a Medicare buy-in.
Between the lines: Although the political battle between these rival plans is playing out primarily as a litmus test in the 2020 Democratic primary, Democrats seem fine with either proposal.
Yes, but: Even a Medicare buy-in limited to people older than 50 — pretty much the smallest option on the table for Democrats — would still provoke a big fight from industry.
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