Good morning. The first trailer for the Mister Rogers biopic is out, and normally I don't like biopics, or feelings, but if you need me, I'll be holed up for the next couple hours rewatching this trailer and feeling some feelings.
Anyway, it's a beautiful day to read 1,078 words about health policy, which should take about 4 minutes.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The Indian Health Service remains deeply troubled, according to 2 new reports released yesterday from the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Inspector General.
Why it matters: The IHS is responsible for more than 2 million Native Americans — a population that tends to need a lot of care, much of it specialized. Yet the IHS has been beset for years by underfunding and mismanagement.
Driving the news: IHS hospitals often do not follow protocols for dispensing opioids, and they don't use states' prescription drug monitoring programs to track opioid prescriptions, the OIG said.
A separate audit details one of the highest-profile examples of the IHS' shortcomings — the staffing shortages and safety problems that prompted the government to temporarily close the emergency department in IHS' Rosebud hospital, in South Dakota, in 2015.
The other side: Some tribes seem to be able to do better on their own.
Yes, but: The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates the North Carolina hospital, was in a unique position to opt out of the IHS, thanks to a casino whose revenues largely paid for the new hospital.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
House Democrats will release a bill on drug pricing in September, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's top health care aide, Wendell Primus, said yesterday at a Brookings event.
Details: Primus said the bill will focus on the most expensive drugs — primarily, those that have been on the market a long time and still don't have any competition.
What's next: The bill is close to finished, but leadership opted not to introduce it before the August recess, when pharma would have a month to attack it while lawmakers are back in their districts, Primus said.
What we're watching: This proposal could face criticism both from the left and right. Progressives have already said they're worried it won't go far enough, and Republicans have traditionally been loath to let the government set drug prices.
HealthEquity, a leading provider of health savings accounts, said last week that it had "participated in drafting legislation" to significantly expand HSAs.
Why it matters: Most companies hide their behind-the-scenes involvement in bills, Axios' Bob Herman writes. And the bill the company says it helped write is one that would directly expand its profits.
Between the lines: HealthEquity is one of the largest companies that handles health savings accounts, which function as pre-tax savings funds for medical expenses. This bill would undeniably boost its top and bottom lines.
What they’re saying: HealthEquity did not address questions about how it shaped the bill or whether its involvement was a conflict of interest.
A nationwide Medicaid expansion would have prevented more than 15,000 deaths, according to a new analysis published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
By the numbers: Researchers relied on data from the American Community Survey, an annual survey with some 4 million respondents, and matched that data with Census Bureau death records.
All told, expansion states saw a mortality rate that's about 0.2% lower than nonexpansion states, the authors write — which would translate to roughly 15,600 lives, had the expansion not been optional for states.
An art installation at Burning Man. Photo: Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty Images
If you're trying to raise money to study the medical use of psychedelic drugs, you might want to find a gathering of rich people who are at least comfortable with, and perhaps enthusiastic about, psychedelic drugs. And thus you find yourself at Burning Man.
That's where Rick Doblin, the founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, has turned to find funding for clinical trials of MDMA (ecstasy or molly). And, luckily for all of us, last time he invited 2 Bloomberg reporters along for the trip.
Where it stands: This strategy seems to be working.
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