Good morning. Another week down, an infinite number to go.
Today's word count is 656, or a 3-minute read.
President Trump and CMS Administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Trump administration is losing the legal battle over Medicaid work requirements — one of its most impactful and controversial health care policies. But it is leaning into that fight even more aggressively, Axios' Sam Baker reports.
Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally signed off yesterday on South Carolina's work requirements. Medicaid recipients in the state will have to perform 80 hours per month of work or community service, unless they receive an exemption.
Why it matters: Other states have primarily sought work requirements as a condition of their Medicaid expansions, but South Carolina will impose its new rules without expanding.
Where it stands: A federal judge has already ruled against work requirements in Arkansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire, arguing that they’re inconsistent with Medicaid's statutory goals.
Yes, but: Those rulings are working their way through the appeals process, and rather than change course or slow down in the face of legal setbacks, the administration is getting work requirements on the books wherever it can and hoping for an eventual win in the courts.
Flashback: Why Trump's Medicaid work requirements lost
The Trump administration is backtracking on a major policy that cut payments to hospitals while the policy is stuck in the courts, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: The hospital industry is getting back almost $800 million, and the Trump administration has failed to implement another regulation — one that most experts support, too.
Details: Any hospital that was paid a lower amount for a routine clinic visit in 2019 will automatically be paid the difference from the older, higher amount, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a bulletin on Thursday.
House Democrats notched a major win yesterday with the passage of their ambitious prescription drug bill, which was helped along by a last-minute deal between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and progressives.
Why it matters: Pelosi was able to thread the needle between the demands of her progressive and moderate flanks, giving both something to run on headed into 2020 — even though the bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.
Around the same time, the Senate confirmed Stephen Hahn in a 72-18 vote as the next head of the Food and Drug Administration, STAT reports.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A construction company in Salt Lake City has become a model for helping workers who are struggling with suicidal ideation or self-harm, NPR reports.
Why it matters: The construction industry has the highest suicide rates of any occupation, and its demographics mirror those who are the most susceptible to die by suicide — young and middle-aged men, and also veterans, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
10 former NFL players, including the Redskins' Clinton Portis, face felony charges for allegedly defrauding one of the league's retiree health care benefit programs out of $3.4 million by seeking reimbursements for medical equipment that was never purchased, Axios' Kendall Baker writes.
How it worked: The players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses not covered by insurance.
The big picture: There are more than 20,000 retired NFL players, many of whom lawfully rely on — and desperately need — these reimbursements. They're the real victims here, especially if the plan loses its tax-exempt status, as prosecutors suggest it could.