Situational awareness: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell officially introduced his bill yesterday, cosponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine, to raise the federal tobacco purchasing age to 21.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The number of hospital admissions, surgeries and other medical procedures has continued to stay flat in many parts of the country. But that hasn't prevented hospitals from retaining large sums of money and hiring more people, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: America's rural hospitals are dying. But large not-for-profit hospital systems in cities and suburbs are doing extremely well as premiums rise and as patients struggle to afford their medical bills.
Details: Axios analyzed the financial statements of 31 prominent not-for-profit hospital systems for the first 3 months of 2019.
Between the lines: Hospitals are feasting on bigger investment returns, boosted by the stock market's run, but they also are profiting more from commercial and public health insurer payments.
The intrigue: Not-for-profit hospitals don't pay taxes and don't have "shareholders" like publicly traded companies, so they are required to reinvest any surplus cash into their communities.
A Google artificial intelligence system was better than 6 radiologists at identifying whether patients had lung cancer, according to a new Nature Medicine study reported on by Stat News.
Why it matters: Screening high-risk patients for lung cancer reduces the risk of death, but false positives can lead to unnecessary and potentially harmful surgeries.
What next? The system will now be subject to further testing. Google acknowledged this, and said that it's already working with clinical partners and has had pre-submission discussions with the FDA.
Gene therapies and other new treatments that have the potential to cure debilitating diseases could also end up widening the gap between the rich and the poor, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb writes for CNBC.
One solution is to mimic Louisiana's "Netflix model" for hepatitis C treatment, in which the state pays the drugmaker a fixed annual fee for an unlimited amount of hepatitis C medication for 5 years.
A homeless person with heroin use disorder passd out in a park in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Of the 2.1 million people who reported using heroin or abusing painkillers in 2017, only 680,000 sought treatment at reporting treatment facilities, according to a new USAFacts report.
Details: Among those who said they needed treatment but did not receive it, cost was the most common reason.
The bottom line: America's opioid problem is going to remain out of control until treatment becomes more available, and we make more of an effort to connect people with it.
Health care is already emerging as a dominant 2020 issue, crossing lines of age, party and gender, my colleague Steve LeVine reports.
For all generations, the No. 1 and No. 2 issues combined are making sure that all Americans have access to health care and lowering its price, according to the poll.
Between the lines: 18 months before the presidential election, the finding suggests potential peril for President Trump should he be seen as insensitive on the issue, said John Della Volpe, RealClear Opinion Research's polling director.