Situational awareness: Juul and Philip Morris have been sued in federal court for allegedly illegally marketing nicotine devices to minors, Bloomberg reports.
Today's word count: 1,029 words, or <4 minutes.
President Trump at an event on advancing kidney health. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
President Trump came into office in 2017 with big ambitions on health care. But he’ll end this term with a lot less to show, Axios' Sam Baker reports.
The big picture: If Trump ends up being a one-term president, his health care legacy would be pretty modest.
Where it stands:
On the Affordable Care Act front, both Barack Obama and Trump changed the rules dictating how long consumers can keep short-term insurance plans; another Democrat could probably change them again. Actions like promoting ACA enrollment would be easy to resume.
Yes, but: Price transparency could become an exception.
Physician outsourcing companies and private equity firms are enlisting new groups to lobby Congress as it considers how to protect patients from receiving large bills from out-of-network doctors who are at in-network facilities, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: Physician groups who most often mail out surprise medical bills are fighting proposals that take a bite out of their incomes to ease patients' financial burdens.
Driving the news: A group called US Physician Partners just hired Akin Gump to lobby over surprise bills, the coalition's third lobbying hire of the year.
Private equity has gravitated toward specialties like emergency medicine and anesthesia because a few companies wield enormous market power. Now they and their portfolio companies are ratcheting up their lobbying presence as Congress gets closer to hammering out a final bill.
Two drug companies — Endo and Allergan — are in discussions about a settlement that would allow them to avoid participating in a massive opioids trial set to occur this fall, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it matters: These 2 companies are relatively minor players in the trial, especially compared to drugmakers like Purdue Pharma and Johnson and Johnson. But this would still be a significant development, especially if other drug companies end up following Endo and Allergan's lead to avoid going to trial.
Illustration: Axios/Rebecca Zisser
A years-long legal battle over whether Domino's Pizza must to make its website accessible to the disabled could make it all the way up to the Supreme Court this year, my colleague Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: Should the case go that far, its outcome could forever change the way the internet is regulated — and determine how accessible the internet will be for the roughly 20% of Americans with a disability.
Driving the news: Domino's is petitioning the Supreme Court to take up the case after a federal appeals court sided in 2016 with Guillermo Roble, a blind man who sued the company.
Businesses often need to update their website's software code to work with screen readers and other technologies to make their websites more accessible to people with disabilities.
What's next: The Supreme Court will decide whether to take up the case after its new term begins in October.
Brand-name drugs' list prices are still going up, but not as much or as often as they have in the past, AP reports.
By the numbers: Drugmakers increased the list prices of branded medicines by a median of 5% over the first 7 months of 2019, down from 9% or 10% over the same period the prior 4 years.
My thought bubble: It's kind of hard to imagine that this would decrease any of the pressure on Congress to do something about drug prices.
The closure of a rural hospital can have a devastating impact on access to emergency care, as Kaiser Health News and NPR report in their latest installment of a series following the closure of the hospital in Fort Scott, Kan.
Background: The hospital closed at the end of 2018, but its emergency department has remained open and switched management. However, it closed for 2 weeks in February for renovations.
The big picture: One analysis found that the average ambulance transport time for a rural patient rose from 14.2 minutes to 25.1 minutes after a hospital closed.
Go deeper: Rural hospital closures also deprive many communities of their biggest employers, as Bob chronicled when Community Health Systems closed a Missouri facility.