News you can't use: I have no idea what this reality TV show is, but the headline of this content — "Angela wants egg from her daughter" — is definitely a winner. And by egg, it means the reproductive kind.
Today's word count is 918, or ~3 minutes.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
The federal opioids litigation took a step closer to resolution yesterday when major drug companies settled with 2 Ohio counties just before a trial was scheduled to begin.
Yes, but: States, municipalities and the companies being sued are still hashing out a global resolution to the thousands of lawsuits pending across the country.
Between the lines: "Monday's settlement, lawyers involved say, can't be directly extrapolated into what a larger deal might look like, since the pressure of an imminent trial often leads to larger payouts," the Wall Street Journal's Sara Randazzo reports.
Driving the news: Drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen — along with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries — announced a $260 million settlement yesterday with the 2 counties.
Some state attorneys general announced yesterday afternoon that they had reached a $48 billion settlement "agreement in principle" with the distributors, Teva and Johnson & Johnson, and were hopeful that other states will join the agreement.
The bottom line: Opioid companies have avoided trials that would have pried open sensitive documents about their roles in the painkiller crisis. But the settlement talks are still far from over.
UPS announced Monday that it's expanding drone-delivery services to include CVS Pharmacy, Kaiser Permanente, wholesale pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen and the University of Utah health system, Axios' Marisa Fernandez writes.
The state of play: UPS is hitting the health care business on all sides, from patients to providers and suppliers — all of whom would value faster deliveries on lab testing, prescriptions and medical supplies.
Details: Earlier this month, UPS received Federal Aviation Administration's approval to operate a commercial drone fleet that will carry small metal boxes. UPS expects to see these expansions through by the fourth quarter of this year.
What to watch: It's still uncertain how many drones this will involve. Overall, UPS expects the unmanned aircraft to cut down a 30-minute truck drive to 3 minutes and 15 seconds.
Pro-ACA protestors. Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
States are beginning to make contingency plans in case the courts strike down the Affordable Care Act, WSJ reports.
Yes, but: There's only so much they can do, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Where it stands: As we all wait for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hand down its ruling, and then for the likely appeal to the Supreme Court...
The catch: Even setting aside the fact that this is only a small handful of states, even the most motivated blue state probably couldn't make up for the total loss of the ACA.
And that's just the ACA's coverage expansion: States definitely couldn't fill the ACA's shoes on Medicare policy, biosimilars approval or the host of other programs that would fall by the wayside if the law is ultimately struck down.
Five health insurers and two hospital systems have until January to send patient billing data, salary data and other information to the Federal Trade Commission as part of a study looking into hospital merger reviews, Bob reports.
Why it matters: The FTC has been skeptical of so-called "certificates of public advantage" — policies that some states adopt as a workaround to approve hospital mergers while avoiding federal antitrust scrutiny.
In the crosshairs: Ballad Health and Cabell Huntington Hospital, two systems that both completed controversial mergers. Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare also have to fork over data.
Go deeper: A reality check on hospital mergers
A federal judge has reaffirmed her decision that recent Medicare cuts to clinics owned by hospitals were unlawful and should be reversed, Bob writes.
Why it matters: The judge's ruling jeopardizes the Trump administration's push to reduce payments for routine doctor visits that are performed in hospital-owned clinics.
What's next: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could appeal, but for now it’s a win for hospitals, which potentially stand to reap hundreds of millions of dollars in repayments.
Editor's note: The third item in yesterday's Vitals was updated to reflect that babies were born with opioid dependence (not addiction).