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My colleague Bob Herman noticed a bit of a trend lately: It sure seems like there’s been a lot of bad news for and about hospitals — specifically, about their protections for patients’ safety.
Driving the news:
What they’re saying: "We are unnecessarily killing thousands of people every year because hospital quality is not what it should be," says Leah Binder, CEO of the Leapfrog Group, an organization that grades hospital care.
After pushing rising health care costs onto workers for years through higher deductibles and more cost-sharing, big employers are now taking on a more active role trying to control those costs directly, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Details: A whole lot of options are on the table, from direct purchasing agreements with hospitals to onsite clinics to the unusual program in Utah that pays people to travel to Mexico for their drugs.
My thought bubble: Some of these tools are really only available to large employers, and don’t do much to change the underlying system in a way that would also provide spillover benefits to small businesses or individuals.
Wall Street last week pounded the stock prices of the country’s two major lab testing companies, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, after both lowered their revenue and profit estimates for the rest of the year, Bob notes.
The common thread: Fewer labs are being ordered than companies have expected, and some analysts are guessing hospitals are referring fewer tests out and keeping more under their own roofs.
The big picture: Medicare cuts are the main issue for lab testing companies, and they are fighting hard in and out of the courtroom to get them reversed.
Yes, but: A new government report on Friday doesn’t help the industry's case.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Now that they've won the House and the 2020 presidential campaign is about to start, Democrats will have to decide how much "Medicare for All" should dominate their health care agenda, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Drew Altman writes this morning.
Between the lines: But wait, you say — aren’t they excited about "Medicare for All"? Sure, a lot of them are. Same with the narrower idea of letting people buy into Medicare. But here’s where it gets tricky...
Go deeper: Read the column.