TIL: The same person who co-founded the Atari video game system, Nolan Bushnell, also founded Chuck E. Cheese. That has nothing to do with health policy, but hey, impress your family and friends with a fun fact at your Labor Day festivities.
The bottom line: Hospitals have taken PR hits with the airing of surprise bills, but nothing suggests their practices will change in the short term.
Driving the news: The $109,000 heart attack bill, reported by KHN's Chad Terhune, went viral this week, and the hospital eventually caved by offering to wipe away 99% of the amount billed.
The big picture: Drug prices have been in the crosshairs of lawmakers, and health insurers have always been a punching bag. But hospitals and doctors aren't attracting any large-scale movement to rein in pricing and billing tactics.
The other side: Ashley Thompson, SVP of policy at the American Hospital Association, said in a statement that "patients and their families should be protected from...unexpected medical bills," but "insurers have the primary responsibility for making sure their networks include adequate providers."
Looking ahead: Medicare for All and all-payer rate setting are the most direct ways to eliminate surprise bills, but the industry is not about to support those policies.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
We need better screening and increased drug research into new antibiotics if we're going to head off a potential future with no effective medications to fight common infections like gonorrhea, syphilis, E.coli and staph, my colleague Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.
Why it matters: Antimicrobial resistance is projected to be the top killer by 2050 — "outpacing even cancer," according to Amy Mathers, assistant professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released new data on accountable care organizations that, on a high level, show the networks of hospitals and doctors saved Medicare money in 2017 and scored high quality marks.
By the numbers:
The bottom line: ACOs have reduced federal health care spending more than what skeptics expected. But there are still questions of whether ACOs could have reduced Medicare spending even more if hospitals and doctors were on the hook for paying back losses sooner and if there is a limit to how much they could really save in the future.
The Federal Trade Commission plans to hold antitrust hearings later this year, and health care groups haven't been shy about telling regulators this month what they want done with the pharmaceutical industry.
What they're saying:
Between the lines: The Hatfields and the McCoys still have guns pointed toward each other.
File this under: "HIPAA being used as an excuse for anything."
Driving the news: New police body cam footage shows the editor of the Colorado Independent was handcuffed after police officers said she couldn't take photos of a man they were surrounding on a sidewalk, which led her to try to take photos of their badges. This exchange took place after one of the police officers said the editor could not photograph the man because it would violate HIPAA:
"There's also a First Amendment," the editor said. "Have you heard of it?"
"That doesn't supersede HIPAA," the officer said.
Reality check: HIPAA has absolutely nothing to do with taking photographs on a sidewalk.