Good morning. Buckle up for what I am predicting will be another wild week of health care news.
Today's word count is 857, 0r ~3 minutes.
The cost of private health insurance is out of control, compared to Medicare and Medicaid, the Kaiser Family Foundation's Drew Altman writes. You see that clearly if you take a long-term view of recently released federal data on health spending.
Why it matters: This is why the health care industry — not just insurers, but also hospitals and drug companies — is so opposed to proposals that would expand the government's purchasing power. And it's why some progressives are so determined to curb, or even eliminate, private coverage.
By the numbers: Per capita spending for private insurance has grown by 52.6% over the last 10 years.
Private insurance generally pays higher prices for care than Medicare, which generally pays more than Medicaid.
The bottom line: The industry knows cutting government spending can only go so far. Any effort to rein in health care costs will have to confront the growth in the cost of private insurance.
Emergency rooms don't do a very good job coordinating longer-term care for patients who have attempted suicide — increasing the risk that those patients will try again, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reports.
By the numbers: In California, the suicide rate for patients who had been admitted to the ER in the past year for suicidal ideation was a full 57% higher, according to a new study.
Between the lines: The study, published Friday in JAMA Network Open, notes that patients discharged from an ER after an incident of self-harm or unintentional injury often do not receive follow-up mental health care.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
The year-end government funding bill is likely to repeal the Affordable Care Act's medical device and Cadillac taxes, The Hill's Peter Sullivan reports. It's unclear whether the tax on health insurers will also be repealed.
Yes, and: If this wasn't good enough news for the health care industry, the package is unlikely to include legislation addressing surprise medical bills or, pending a last-minute dealmaking surprise, prescription drug prices.
Between the lines: Voters are decidedly not asking Washington to lift industry taxes while avoiding dealing with two of the most popular health care issues, but if that's how this plays out, it's a great indicator that industry's lobbying strength is as good as ever.
The other side: Industry says that the ACA taxes end up getting passed along to patients.
A new agreement between a small drugmaker and Kaiser Permanente will allow for the use of a new, pricey cataract surgery drug in Kaiser facilities, except there's one major issue: Nobody's admitting Kaiser is the distributing system.
Why it matters: When it comes to transparency, the health care industry is a black box — even on seemingly small things, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Driving the news: EyePoint Pharmaceuticals recently touted in a press release that it locked in a deal with an "integrated delivery system" to offer its new eye treatment, Dexycu, which is injected into patients' eyes after cataract surgery as a means to replace post-surgery eye drops.
What they're saying: EyePoint's chief commercial officer said he could "neither confirm nor deny" that Kaiser is the system that will start offering Dexycu.
The big picture: Dexycu has a list price of $595. Jones said this deal opens the door to roughly 70,000 to 100,000 cataract surgeries within the network every year.