Today's word count is 708 words, or a 3-minute read.
Emergency doctors — which are at the center of the surprise billing debate — saw their compensation go up more than any other physician specialty between 2013 and 2017.
Why it matters: This translates into higher health care costs, which we all pay for through our taxes, premiums and out-of-pocket spending.
By the numbers: Overall, doctors saw a 16.1% pay raise in this period — with a handful of specialties leading the way.
The big picture: Surprise medical bills obviously hit their recipients hardest, but economists argue that they also improve doctors' leverage over insurers.
Yes, but: Other specialties that don't frequently surprise bill are also seeing higher compensation, meaning there are plenty of other factors involved.
The bottom line: "Obviously we all want clinicians to be well-compensated, for what is a challenging job requiring a great deal of training and skill, but if physician income constantly rises relative to the [average] patient, physician services become unaffordable," said Dan O'Neill, a fellow at the National Academy of Medicine.
Axios' Bob Herman has more fresh content from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.
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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
A billionaire with an interest in health care, state legislatures and a well-respected policy shop are all aligning in 2020 to take on hospital costs, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Driving the news: Modern Healthcare reports that the National Association for State Health Policy will be coming up with model legislation in 2020 to help states rein in hospital spending, in addition to work on drug costs.
Why it matters: Arnold is just one man, and NASHP writing some model bills is no guarantee that any or many states will adopt those ideas.
Federal officials are doing little or nothing to enforce a 2017 law that requires drugmakers and researchers to log their clinical trials into a federal database, according to an investigation published in Science.
The law was designed to give the public, along with outside researchers, more access to information about drugs' safety and efficacy, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
The findings: Researchers failed to comply with these disclosure mandate about 55% of the time, leaving the results of 4,700 trials unpublished.