Good morning … Many thanks to my colleagues Bob Herman and Caitlin Owens for holding down the fort while I took a few days off. But now I’m back. Party’s over.
Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Now that President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, there are two specific health care cases you'll probably be hearing more about — from both Democrats warning that he'll overturn the Affordable Care Act and conservative hardliners who are afraid he won't.
Kavanaugh's most significant ACA-related decision was in a case about the individual mandate. He did not, contrary to what some of his critics have implied, vote to uphold the mandate.
The second case dealt with a more far-fetched challenge: It sought to have the ACA invalidated because the Senate wrote most of it.
Small world: Kavanaugh and HHS Secretary Alex Azar worked together on independent counsel Ken Starr's investigation of the Clintons in the '90s. Azar praised the pick last night.
Bob has a helpful breakdown this morning of the winners and losers from the Trump administration’s decision to freeze the ACA’s risk adjustment program.
Winners: Five insurers are each supposed to pay at least $100 million into the program. They would directly benefit if the 2017 risk adjustment transfers go away.
Losers: Nine health insurance companies are owed at least $100 million each in risk adjustment payments
The big picture: It is highly unlikely, though hypothetically possible, the government will kill the $10.4 billion in pending risk adjustment transfer amounts for 2017. But the timing of the freeze has puzzled analysts and raised questions of political motivations.
Doctors burn out just like the rest of us — but with much more dire consequences. A new study published yesterday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds that physician burnout is rampant, and contributes to major medical errors.
By the numbers: In the survey of more than 6,500 doctors ...
Why it matters: Being a doctor can be a a stressful job, compounded by administrative headaches. When health systems don't take steps to protect the mental health of the doctors who work there, they put patients at risk.
Pregnant women in immigration detention are not getting the medical care they need, which has in some cases led to miscarriages, BuzzFeed reports.
Between the lines: Under a new Department of Homeland Security policy implemented in December, women who are not yet in their third trimester of pregnancy are being detained. In some cases, they’re also being mistreated, BuzzFeed found.
Yes, but: BuzzFeed found that detained pregnant women aren’t receiving that care, chronicling stories of women who were bleeding and cramping — signs of a miscarriage — yet not given medical care. Other women were shackled around the stomach.
P.S. Of the roughly 100 children younger than 5 who were separated from their parents by the Trump administration, 54 will be reunited by today’s court-imposed deadline, CNN reports.
Some people in Silicon Valley are using their Fitbits, Apple Watches and similar devices for a warning that they're about to do too much cocaine, CNBC reports. When they see their heart rates spike, they dial it back.
Spoiler alert: This is not a great system. Cocaine also affects your blood pressure and heart rhythm, not just your heart rate. And these devices are not necessarily super accurate as heart rate monitors.
Another option: Don't do cocaine.
What we're watching today: National Coalition on Health Care event covering strategies to reduce health care costs (10am).
What we're watching this week: The House Ways and Means Committee marks up several health care bills Wednesday, including measures to restrict abortion coverage, create new bare-bones "copper" plans and expand health savings accounts.
Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the 340B program Wednesday.