Good morning ... Welcome spring, welcome warm(ish) weather, welcome allergies.
Competition doesn't always lead to lower drug prices, at least in the class of drugs administered by a doctor, according to new Medicare payment data.
Why it matters: This data only captures one year of price changes, but casts doubt on the idea that competition is a foolproof way to constrain drug prices.
Yes, but: Most drugs with more than 5 competing products did see price decreases in 2016.
While some of these drugs cost mere pennies per dosage, each insurance claim can include multiple doses.
The bottom line: Drugs with monopoly power aren't the only ones that can raise their prices.
Legal challenges aren't slowing down the Trump administration's push to reframe Medicaid as something closer to a welfare program, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday approved Ohio's proposal to add work requirements to its Medicaid program.
Where it stands: CMS has approved work requirements for 8 states, 3 of which have begun enforcing those rules. Several more applications are still pending.
By the numbers: Ohio expects roughly 18,000 people to lose their Medicaid eligibility this year because of the new rules.
Those coverage losses are central to the lawsuits challenging these new rules.
How we prescribe opioids changed between 2006 and 2017 and varies state by state, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The bad news: The average duration per prescription and the prescribing rate of long-term opioid prescriptions increased.
The good news: Between 2006 and 2017, the amount of opioids prescribed per person decreased, as did the prescribing rate for high-dosage opioids, short-term opioid prescriptions, and extended-release and long-acting opioid formulations.
Non-compete clauses in employment contracts are increasingly common in the medical sector, which can mean that patients lose contact with their providers when they switch practices, the New York Times reports.
But doctors say that continuity of care is important for patients, especially those who have ongoing medical issues.
Doctors are finishing their residencies licensed to use robots in the operating room, but most were barely trained to do so, my colleague Steve LeVine reports.
Social scientist Matthew Beane noticed this over two years observing surgeons in teaching hospitals.
How it works: In surgery, you need four hands — the surgeon's own, plus those of a resident to pull and hold once an incision is made. Even six hands may be required — a second resident.
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