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Surprise medical bills may be Washington's favorite issue right now, but everyone has a different idea about how to address it.
Solving surprise billing isn't just about protecting the patients who receive those bills. It's also about addressing market distortions that drive up premiums.
Our recent analysis of hospital finances showed many of the largest tax-exempt hospitals are faring quite well even as they care for more people with government insurance, my colleague Bob Herman writes.
The big picture: Hospitals have long argued they have to charge patients with commercial insurance more to make up for the lower payments they receive from Medicare and Medicaid, a theory known as "cost-shifting." But evidence suggests that theory doesn't hold any weight.
What they're saying: Tom Nickels, a top lobbyist for the American Hospital Association, submitted a statement in response to our analysis that said hospitals "need positive margins to keep pace with increasing health care needs," and their investment returns partially offset "underpayments from Medicare and Medicaid."
Yes, but: The AHA did not address issues of hospital consolidation and negotiating leverage, which studies show lead to higher commercial hospital prices regardless of what Medicare and Medicaid pay.
The bottom line: "If you've got market power, you can get above-market increases forever," Melnick said.
Men are paying highly inflated prices for erectile-dysfunction and hair-loss drugs sold on the internet by startups like Hims Inc. and Roman Health Medical, Bloomberg reports.
People who use the sites may not realize they could have gotten a better price elsewhere.
What we're watching: The companies' success has drawn competition, which may end up driving down prices.
The pharmaceutical industry is very worried about the Trump administration's plans to cut drug costs, according to a PwC survey of industry executives, Axios' Sam Baker writes. The industry is most worried about the administration's plan to tie Medicare payments for certain drugs to the prices other countries pay.
By the numbers: Roughly 19% of the executives PwC surveyed said the international pricing proposal is the "most concerning" idea on the table.
Between the lines: The industry can breathe easy on reimportation. It's always politically popular, but resistance from the FDA consistently stops it from actually happening.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, influenced the World Health Organization's opioid prescribing recommendations, which contained misleading or false claims about opioids' safety, according to a new congressional report.
Details: The guidelines — published in 2011 and 2012 — repeated Purdue's false claim that that opioid dependence occurs in less than 1% of patients and said that there is no maximum dosage of strong opioids for children.
Go deeper: The opioid epidemic is a global issue
Thanks for reading, and thanks for all of your thoughtful emails this week.