Good morning. Here is a fascinating account of what a vaping drug bust looks like — a timely read, as an e-cigarette crackdown could end up increasing the demand for black market products.
Today's word count is 809 words, or ~3 minutes.
Health care expenses forced 8 million Americans into poverty in 2018, according to the Census Bureau.
The big picture: That's actually an improvement from the past several years, when an annual average of 11 million people fell into poverty because of medical costs — a reflection of the country's expensive system, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
How it works: The Census Bureau tracks how various social programs and daily expenses influence poverty rates.
The bottom line: People who don't have insurance have the highest risk of falling into poverty, due to the high prices of drugs and procedures.
Physician staffing groups that generate large amounts of surprise medical bills are behind Doctor Patient Unity, the dark-money group running $28 million in ads against Congress's effort to crack down on surprise bills, the New York Times reports.
Between the lines: Envision and TeamHealth have a lot to lose from a ban on surprise billing, as it's a lucrative practice for them.
My thought bubble: The choice before lawmakers now could not be more Washington-in-2019: Side with voters getting slammed by these bills, or side with the private equity-backed groups profiting from them.
Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Drug companies in a massive legal battle over their alleged roles in fueling the opioid epidemic are calling for the federal judge in their case to be removed over the appearance of bias, the Washington Post reports.
Where it stands: These drug companies, which face thousands of lawsuits from cities and other communities, are scheduled for trial Oct. 21, Axios' Orion Rummler writes.
What they're saying: The drug companies — defendants in the massive opioids trial — decry Polster and the court for "judicial and extra-judicial statements evidencing a personal objective to do something meaningful to abate the opioid crisis, with the funding to be provided through Defendants' settlements."
A vast majority of experts on a federal allergy panel said a new treatment to minimize reactions to peanut allergies is safe and effective, which may signal possible FDA approval of the drug in January, Bob writes.
Why it matters: The treatment, made by Aimmune Therapeutics and sold under the brand name Palforzia, could provide relief to parents worried about their kids getting an anaphylactic reaction from peanut exposure.
Yes, but: Palforzia comes with a lot of question marks.
The bottom line: The first immunotherapy for peanut allergies could be close to hitting the market next year, despite concerns of how well it works, and more therapies are being developed.