Good morning ... Situational awareness: Rep. Jacky Rosen, Sen. Dean Heller's opponent in the midterm elections in Nevada, introduced a resolution last night to get the House to defend the Affordable Care Act's protections for people with pre-existing conditions in court.
State-level Democrats are already a party to the lawsuit. So the substance of this step may be less significant than the fact that Heller's opponent is introducing it, a few days before the anniversary of last year's final, failed repeal vote.
The 64 health care CEOs in the S&P 500 cumulatively made almost $1.7 billion in 2017, according to a new Axios analysis of their compensation. That total is 74% higher than the $949 million that is normally highlighted in company proxy documents.
The details: Within the compensation totals, Axios' Bob Herman calculated the actual realized gains of CEOs’ stock options and awards (shares that were actually exercised and taxed), versus the estimated fair value of their stock (a guess of future stock value that is prominently featured in SEC filings and headlines).
Winners: Neal Patterson, the former CEO of health IT firm Cerner, was the highest-paid health care CEO, with $148.6 million in compensation in 2017. Patterson died last year from cancer, so his stock ownership immediately vested. After him, these were the highest-paid CEOs based on actual realized gains:
The other side: Several company spokespeople said the CEO pay packages represent the companies’ strong stock market growth and years of awarded shares.
The bottom line: Many health care CEOs, and other top executives at large companies, make more than you think.
Go deeper: The entire S&P 500 — in an interactive graphic.
Medicare proposed two significant steps yesterday to cut hospital spending by hundreds of millions of dollars.
Driving the news: Most significantly, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed expanding a policy that calls for "site-neutral" payments.
Why it matters: These proposals aren't necessarily headline-grabbing, but will touch off a fierce lobbying blitz, especially from hospitals.
But speaking of headline-grabbing debates, CMS Administrator Seema Verma took a couple digs at "Medicare for All" yesterday in a speech that otherwise focused on programmatic changes to the Medicare program.
Young people have more medical debt than older people, even though they tend to spend much less on health care, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. "Medical debt," in this case, means an unpaid medical bill that has been referred to a collection agency.
By the numbers: About 16% of consumers have an unpaid medical bill, the study says, adding up to roughly $81 billion.
The big picture: The top-line finding here is that people without health insurance are more likely to have outstanding medical bills.
But insurance isn't a failsafe. Because most unpaid bills aren't catastrophically large, they're well within many people's deductibles. So, younger or lower-income people with high-deductible plans could still have to face a collection agency if they need to use their coverage.
Add one more item to the list of false content Facebook won't do anything about: pages claiming that vaccines cause autism. They appear at or near the top of searches for "vaccines," the Daily Beast reports.
What they're saying: "A Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Beast it removes information that violates its community guidelines and allows users to tailor the information they see on the site ... But Facebook refused to comment on why it allows anti-vaccine hoaxes to spread on the site, or why it makes it so easy to find anti-vaxx groups through searches."
A single bot flooded the Food and Drug Administration with at least 255,000 comments about how to regulate vaping. That's almost half the public feedback the FDA received, according to the Washington Examiner.
The FDA had asked for public comments about flavored e-cigarette products. The comment period closed last week.
If the goal was to simulate a persuasive groundswell of public opinion, it probably won't work.
What we're watching today: HHS Secretary Alex Azar speaks at the Heritage Foundation about free market principles in health care (11 am; livestream). Senate Democrats hold a news conference to mark the upcoming anniversary of repeal-and-replace.
Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Medicare's payment systems.
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