Good morning … D.C. readers — You're invited to join Axios' Mike Allen and Bob Herman on Thursday for a conversation on the impact of innovation on health care including technology, biosimilars and more.
They'll be talking with Reps. Erik Paulsen and Sander Levin as well as CAMTech's Dr. Kristian Olson and Georgetown professor Sabrina Corlette. RSVP here.
Two more states have released proposed rates for the next year of Affordable Care Act coverage and, no surprise, they’re all pretty steep.
Yes, but: The trendline here is real. New York regulators attributed about half the proposed increase in average premiums to the loss of the individual mandate, and insurers have been clear that regulatory moves from the Trump administration are also making them nervous.
Yesterday's federal report on rising Medicare Part D drug spending led to a very clear conclusion: Giant price hikes are costing taxpayers and the government a lot of money.
ICYMI: HHS’ Office of the Inspector General found a 62% spike in federal spending in Medicare Part D — even after accounting for rebates and discounts, and even though the total number of prescriptions declined over the same time period.
“It’s a pretty damning indictment" of drug pricing practices, Niall Brennan, executive director of the Health Care Cost Institute, told Axios’ Bob Herman. “The OIG is not known for doing sloppy work.”
Between the lines: The OIG report gets at two big issues with the country’s drug pricing system, Bob reports:
What they’re saying: PhRMA, the industry’s leading trade group, argued the OIG’s report “paints a misleading picture of medicine spending in the Part D benefit,” but did not offer any responses to why drugmakers hiked prices on drugs at six times inflation or why overall spending still outpaced growth in rebates.
A court in Maine told Gov. Paul LePage yesterday to quit dragging his feet on the state’s Medicaid expansion. Voters signed off on it last year, through a ballot initiative, but LePage’s administration — as expected — has not lifted a finger to actually put the policy in place.
The big question: Will he comply now, or keep running out the clock until he leaves office after the November elections? The court gave LePage’s administration a week to file the necessary paperwork with the federal government.
Apple CEO Tim Cook talking about apps. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Apple announced yesterday that it will open its health-records feature to third-party developers, which will allow them to create new apps using consumers' health data.
Why it matters: Apple's foray into health records has gotten pretty good reviews so far, and this move will make that technology more widely available.
Correction: Yesterday's Vitals got Sen. Tammy Baldwin's name wrong. We apologize for the error.
What we're watching today: HHS Secretary Alex Azar gives a speech to a joint meeting of the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (8:30am). Based on excerpts of his prepared remarks, expect him to stick largely to familiar ground.
Medicare's trustees deliver their annual report on the program's finances.
What's on your radar? email@example.com.