Good morning … I’m sorry, but if you actually thought french fries were healthy, I don’t even know what to tell you. Of course they’re not healthy. Nothing that tastes good is healthy. Except for avocados. So honestly I’m just waiting for the day they tell us avocados are actually bad. But fries … c’mon.
The Trump administration is using a regulatory workaround to achieve some of the same goals of Republicans' failed efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Driving the news: HHS released new guidance yesterday about how it will approach the ACA's existing waiver process. It said it would, in some circumstances, approve waivers that go far beyond what's currently allowed.
The big picture: This is one of the administration's most significant anti-ACA moves to date — if it works.
What's next: The new standards and/or any approved waivers could face legal challenges — both on the merits and because these new rules were articulated in a guidance document rather than a formal regulation with opportunities for public comment, Brookings fellow Christen Linke Young writes.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health, 2 large hospital systems located around Boston, have gotten the green light for their closely watched merger — but there’s a significant catch, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Details: Over the next 7 years, the new system cannot raise prices above 3%, a statewide benchmark Massachusetts has set to keep health care spending low. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the cap would save patients $1 billion.
Yes, but: The cap expires, and there’s a loophole. Beth Israel Lahey Health “may petition the [state attorney general] to reopen the system-wide price constraint for revision,” according to the settlement. For example, the hospitals can ask for revisions if local inflation rises above 4.5% annually.
The bottom line: The deal is still pretty remarkable because each party signed off on price controls, an idea that usually is anathema to the industry.
I’m not a big fan of anecdotal leads, but this one, from an investigation by WebMD and Georgia Health News, is worth it.
The short version: A man went to the ER, deteriorated in the waiting room, but still couldn’t get admitted. So he and his wife went out to the parking lot, where an ambulance would pick them up. Paramedics took them around to the ambulance entrance of the same hospital. He was admitted there, but died after an hour.
Federal law requires emergency departments to treat everyone who comes through their doors, but the WebMD/Georgia Health News investigation found significant shortfalls in compliance with that law, known as EMTALA.
By the numbers: The investigation found more than 4,300 EMTALA violations from 1,682 hospitals — about a third of hospitals.
It's looking very unlikely that industry players are going to get anything they want during Congress' lame-duck session, my colleague Caitlin Owens reports.
What they're saying: There's "no chance" any of these 3 riders make it through Congress before the end of the year, a senior House GOP aide told Caitlin.
Several New York hospitals have reached a settlement with New York state after charging women for their rape kits, Glamour reports.
Hospitals are supposed to bill the cost of rape testing to the state's Office of Victim Services, to help minimize the risk that a woman's employer or a family member will know she sought medical attention, according to Glamour.