Good morning ...
Situational awareness: In case you missed it, President Trump had this to say yesterday about gun violence and mental health: "Today, if you catch somebody, they don't know what to do with them. He hasn't committed the crime, but he may, very well. And there's no mental institution, there's no place to bring them."
The pharmaceutical industry is using a large portion of its windfall from Republicans' corporate tax cuts to boost its stock prices, my colleague Bob Herman reports this morning.
What's happening: 9 drug companies are spending a combined $50 billion on new share buyback programs, a sum that towers over investments in employees or drug research and development.
The bottom line: All of those buybacks were announced during or after the passage of the Republican tax bill. That money is enriching hedge funds, other Wall Street investors and top drug company executives, but isn't necessarily helping patients.
That's not all: Some drug companies also increased quarterly dividends following the tax overhaul. For example, AbbVie increased its cash dividend by 35% while at the same time committing to a new $10 billion share repurchase program.
Go deeper: Bob has all the details.
In several states, deaths from opioid overdoses outnumber doctors who are able to provide buprenorphine, a drug that helps treat addiction, according to a new Avalere analysis. Nationally, there's an average of 1.6 opioid overdose deaths per provider certified to prescribe buprenorphine.
Why it matters: This is a case for expanding “scope of practice” laws — allowing more nurses and physicians’ assistants to prescribe buprenorphine to help get the epidemic under control — Avalere tells Axios’ Caitlin Owens.
The liberal Center for American Progress is out this morning with its plan for a Medicare buy-in — one version of the “Medicare for all” promise that has become both a rallying cry and a litmus test on the left.
Between the lines: CAP is well within the mainstream of the Democratic party. The existence of this document is more important than its details, which obviously aren't going to be enacted any time soon.
Now that Kentucky and Indiana have gotten federal permission to add work requirements on their Medicaid programs, more state-level Republicans are joining the party.
This will continue. These efforts will succeed in at least some states, and more GOP governors and legislatures will get on board as work requirements become an increasingly popular way to trim the Medicaid rolls.
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