Good morning … Some cool news from my home state: Louisville is renaming its airport after Muhammad Ali.
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Crowd-funding sites like GoFundMe have become a critical part of the health care system — and GoFundMe’s CEO recognizes that that’s a bad thing.
By the numbers: GoFundMe sees more than 250,000 campaigns each year related to medical expenses. They account for about a third of the roughly $5 billion people donate through the site, according to Kaiser Health News.
What they’re saying: In an interview with KHN, GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon made clear he is not thrilled about what this says for the U.S. health care system. Some highlights:
Not everyone can launch a successful health care fundraiser. It often takes "medical literacy, social-media savvy and access to video-making equipment," as Marketplace noted last year.
Our reliance on charity goes further, too. There’s a different charity, called R.I.P. Medical Debt, that buys up and pays off people’s medical debts. So far it has paid off $434 million — out of the $750 billion Americans owe.
The bottom line: Our health care system is … not great.
People are bullish about the role big tech can play in health care. In a PwC survey, majorities said they’re at least somewhat confident tech companies will be able to:
It hasn’t happened yet. The most significant progress so far would be on that last front, making personal health data more accessible — that’s where Apple is focusing a lot of its health care energy, and the early reviews are generally pretty positive. But even that is still in its early stages.
The latest: Apple is trying to get Medicare Advantage insurers to offer subsidized Apple Watches to seniors, for use as health trackers, CNBC’s Christina Farr reports.
Other tech companies have made moves into the health care world, none splashier than Amazon buying PillPack, but they’ve largely been pretty traditional moves.
The big picture: So far, Silicon Valley seems to be better at getting a piece of the health care system than changing it.
Unsurprisingly, hospitals are not happy about the Trump administration’s reported plans to pursue Medicaid block grants through a regulatory process.
"We have long voiced concerns about how block granting Medicaid could ultimately result in losses of coverage and negatively impact access to quality care," Ashley Thompson, the senior vice president of public policy analysis at the American Hospital Association, told Modern Healthcare.
Between the lines: Hospitals are some of Medicaid’s most powerful political allies.
Even if hospitals can’t ultimately stop the administration from writing rules that open the door to Medicaid block grants, they could be a loud voice urging state governments not to take advantage of that option.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and 5 prominent hospital systems in the state have agreed to put their finances on the line in pursuit of cost savings, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.
Why it matters: The vast majority of these kinds of Accountable Care Organizations don’t require providers to pay penalties if their care costs too much or if quality goes downhill. The Trump administration wants to change that, arguing that sharing in the losses is a better incentive — and now so does the dominant plan in North Carolina.
Details: A spokesperson for BCBS of North Carolina confirmed this program essentially mimics Medicare's Next Generation ACO program, which was overseen by BCBS of North Carolina CEO Patrick Conway when he was a top Medicare official during the Obama administration.
Ambrosia, a company that injects young people’s blood into older people, is now up and running in 5 American cities, the company tells Business Insider.
This whole blood-replacement thing is marketed as an anti-aging treatment. But, as Business Insider notes, there’s essentially no evidence it has any medical benefit, and it has raised plenty of red flags along the way.
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