Jackson briefs reporters about Trump's health. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
President Trump (finally) fired Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin yesterday, announcing on Twitter that he would nominate Ronny Jackson — the White House physician who you may remember briefed us on TV about Trump's "incredibly good genes" — to take over the agency.
What they're saying: Jackson was a surprise choice, so Washington is still getting its bearings, but expect two big questions to come up as Jackson advances:
1. Can he lead this big an organization? He never has before, and the VA has both a big budget and a lot of problems.
2. Will he support privatizing more of the VA? This is a big priority for conservatives, including the powerful Koch brothers. And while Shulkin's travel expenses and general internal strife grabbed a lot of the headlines, his tepid support for privatization was also part of the case against him.
How Trump made the decision, according to the Post:
Think you’re getting stuck with bigger bills for your routine medical costs? You might want to look at this chart, based on research from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. It shows that, back in 1976, our disco-dancing ancestors paid a way bigger share of own their health care costs than we do today.
Between the lines: Out-of-pocket spending is mainly declining because health coverage has gotten more comprehensive.
Yes, but: Out-of-pocket costs don’t include premiums, so it’s possible that we’re just paying for our health care in other ways.
It's not just a feeling — health care mergers really are on an enormous tear right now.
The details, per Bloomberg:
Health insurance startup Oscar announced Tuesday that it had raised another round of venture funding — and said in the process that it turned an "underwriting profit" in 2017. Axios' Bob Herman took a closer look at the company's finances and has some important context for that claim.
Behind the numbers: To calculate its underwriting profit, Oscar took its premium revenues, subtracted out its medical claims and administrative expenses, and then added in reinsurance funding.
The bottom line: Plenty of startups are unprofitable as they make investments in technology and elsewhere — but Oscar has to find a path to profitability somewhat soon.
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