Good morning ... Hope you enjoyed the long weekend. But it's over now.
HHS secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images
Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to make another big move on health care — relaxing Obama-era limits on the sale of short-term insurance plans.
The big questions: Will the federal government require these short-term plans to disclose that they don’t provide many of the ACA’s consumer protections? And how will these new federal rules interact with state regulations?
The big picture: Short-term plans can turn away people with pre-existing conditions, don’t have to cover the ACA’s “essential health benefits,” and can cap how much they’ll cover in a year.
The details: Aggressive disclosure requirements could help minimize the risk of people buying plans that don’t meet their needs, but any additional rules on what the policies actually cover will likely have to come from the states.
The bottom line: The basic choice for the Trump administration is whether it wants to free up a somewhat more lenient bridge option for healthy consumers, or take the most aggressive swing possible at the ACA.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is trying to move the legal proceedings over his state's Medicaid work requirements from Washington, D.C., to a Kentucky courthouse. And to get there, he's taking the somewhat unusual step of countersuing the 16 Kentuckians who initially sued to stop Bevin's plan from taking effect.
Between the lines: When critics of Kentucky's plan filed suit to try to block it, they didn't sue Kentucky for proposing work requirements. They sued the federal Department of Health and Human Services for approving Kentucky's work requirements.
Notable: Most of the judges on the relevant D.C. court were appointed by Democratic presidents. All of the active judges on the relevant Kentucky court —
the one Bevin wants to move the case to — were appointed by former President George W. Bush.
Go deeper: Read the complaint.
Artificial intelligence is all the rage in Silicon Valley, but it has so far not made much of a dent in health care. That’s largely because the technology just isn’t good enough yet, according to a report in VentureBeat.
Key quote: “I have no doubt that sophisticated learning and AI algorithms will find a place in health care over the coming years,” data scientist Andy Schuetz tells VentureBeat. “I don’t know if it’s two years or 10 — but it’s coming.”
Hospitals are still fighting tooth and nail to stop cuts to the 340B drug discount program, Axios' Bob Herman reports. More than $1.5 billion in annual cuts to the program went into effect at the beginning of the year.
The latest: The American Hospital Association and other hospital groups have sued to stop the cuts, and filed a new brief last week arguing their lawsuit should not be dismissed. They say they tried to tell HHS the cuts were unlawful during the period for public comments, but HHS went through with them anyway.
Between the lines: Many say the 340B program has holes in it that have allowed some hospitals profit excessively. But this legal battle just reinforces how difficult it is to change the status quo in health care.
What's on your agenda this week? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.