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Today's word count: 860 words, <3 minutes
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Large hospital systems and trade groups have vociferously criticized Democrats' "Medicare for All" proposals, but rural facilities and public hospitals that treat mostly low-income patients are sitting on the sidelines of the debate.
Why it matters: Safety nets and many rural hospitals could hypothetically benefit under Medicare for All, but expressing support would put them at odds with their larger brethren, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
Between the lines: The Partnership for America's Health Care Future has become one of the loudest industry-funded voices against Medicare for All.
Yes, but: Some hospital constituencies aren't part of the anti-single-payer lobbying.
The big picture: Hospitals that mostly care for poor and uninsured patients could see higher, more stable revenues if everyone had Medicare — a program that often pays higher base rates than Medicaid and infinitely higher rates than nothing at all.
The intrigue: "If you're trying to solve the problem that we want to get everybody covered and we want to level the playing field between the hospitals that take care of the poor people and hospitals that take care of the rich people, Medicare for All is something we better take a look at," Eric Dickson, CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care, told Politico.
North Carolina Children's Hospital kept performing pediatric heart surgeries despite doctors' concerns about the program's performance, NYT reports in a gut-wrenching investigation.
Why it matters: The doctors' comments "offer a rare, unfiltered look inside a medical institution as physicians weighed their ethical obligations to patients while their bosses also worried about harming the surgical program," NYT's Ellen Gabler writes.
The big picture: The story reflects more systemic concerns about the quality and consistency of care provided by pediatric heart surgery programs nationally.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Juul is considering opening its own stores, WSJ scooped yesterday, although it hasn't made a final decision.
The stores would only allow adults inside, and would only sell tobacco, menthol and mint flavors in the stores.
Juul already controls 75% of the vaping market, and is already sold in 100,000 stores across the nation.
Blink Health, the online pharmacy, announced this week that it has lowered prices for 148 of its most common generic drugs.
Why it matters: Put together, the moves signal the company's plan to be aggressive in a market that's becoming increasingly competitive.
The FDA announced yesterday that it's requesting feedback on requiring certain opioids to be made available in "blister packs," which would include a limited number of pills.
What they're saying: "Patients are often prescribed significantly more opioid pills than they actually use following surgical procedures or other acute pain conditions for which opioids are prescribed," acting FDA commissioner Ned Sharpless said.
Have a great weekend!