Good morning, and happy Friday.
The floor of the New York Stock Exchange last month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Many of the largest health care companies — including UnitedHealth Group, HCA Healthcare, Anthem and Humana — have reported blowout profits in the first quarter. And yet, the industry's stocks continue to take a pounding on Wall Street, Axios' Bob Herman and Courtenay Brown report.
Between the lines: Stock prices of health care companies have consistently outperformed broader indices over the past several years, so some pullback is natural.
The big picture: "Medicare for All" has dangled over stocks even though Wall Street firms know enacting that program would require several consecutive political miracles.
Yes, but: "Medicare for All" is only one factor investors have been getting nervous about.
Don't forget: Computers, not humans, do a lot of the stock trading — so a big part of the selloff also is tied to machines copying each other.
American consumers may not have benefited all that much from the pharmaceutical components of trade deals, a new article in the New England Journal of Medicine argues.
The big picture: Starting with NAFTA, every U.S. trade agreement made since has included a pharmaceutical component.
By the numbers: The pharmaceutical trade deficit has swelled to $52 billion, and the number of Americans employed by the drug industry hasn't changed much since 2001.
The bottom line: "Americans and their representatives are ignoring history if they expect the inclusion in the USMCA of longer exclusivity for biologics to redress the U.S. trade deficit, loss of manufacturing jobs, and high prescription-drug prices," the authors conclude.
The higher an employee's deductible is, the less they tend to think of their plan, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation-Los Angeles Times survey of people with employer coverage.
Why it matters: Deductibles keep going up — suggesting more employees are probably growing dissatisfied with their employer health coverage.
Between the lines: People with higher deductibles, unsurprisingly, reported having a harder time affording care.
Go deeper: The LA Times dug deeper into how insurance has changed over the last decade and what it means for workers.
A new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office reiterates the major concerns about the Trump administration’s drug rebate rule — that it could be a budget-buster and a gift to pharmaceutical companies, Bob writes.
By the numbers: CBO estimates the regulation would raise federal spending by $177 billion over the next decade because health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers would raise premiums to offset the loss of rebates — similar to what actuaries at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have projected.
The bottom line: The CBO is yet another non-industry party — following comments from the likes of MedPAC, Pew and academic researchers — saying the rebate rule will cost taxpayers more money but will not guarantee lower drug prices.
A jury yesterday found John Kapoor, the founder and former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, and 4 other executives guilty of a scheme that involved bribing doctors to prescribe the company's powerful opioid, Subsys, for patients who didn't need it and tricking health insurers to pay for it, Reuters reports.
Why it matters: This trial was a high-profile affair that many people viewed as a referendum on Big Pharma's role in the national opioid crisis.
Related: The West Virginia governor and attorney general's office yesterday announced a $37 million settlement with McKesson, resolving allegations regarding the company's distribution of controlled substances.
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