Good morning ... I can barely park my Volkswagen in a spot that’s any smaller than about three car lengths. Imagine being skilled enough to easily, seamlessly slide right into a “parking” spot in a warship.
Hey, remember back around 2010, when critics warned that the Affordable Care Act would spell the end of private insurance? The reality has been very much the opposite: Health care stocks have been on a tear since the ACA’s passage, my colleague Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: The S&P 500 health care index, which tracks the stocks of 63 major companies, has soared by 192% since the ACA became law. By comparison, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones increased by 141% and 138%, respectively, according to FactSet.
Winners: Health insurers. The stock price of Centene, a major Medicaid and ACA marketplace insurer, has multiplied by 12 times or 1,100%. Shares of UnitedHealth Group have jumped by more than 700%.
A serious illness will often wipe out your life savings even if you have health insurance. That's the sobering conclusion from a new national survey of people who have had to rely on the health care system intensively.
By the numbers, via the New York Times, which helped analyze the survey:
“You’re kind of at a disadvantage as a consumer going against these big complicated systems that don’t always have your best interest at heart,” University of Michigan professor Sarah Miller told NYT. “And I think that’s why there’s so much financial burden, even among people with private insurance.”
Making matters worse, 53% said their illness had kept them from working, at least temporarily. That may not be a direct health care cost — it's not money that goes into the health care system — but it's a big part of the toll that the system takes on the people who need it.
Texas' lawsuit over the ACA could roll back protections for pre-existing conditions even among people who don't get their coverage through those marketplaces, my colleague Caitlin Owens notes this morning.
How it works: Before the ACA, the federal privacy law known as HIPAA prevented employer-based insurance plans from denying employees coverage because of a pre-existing conditions or from charging those employees a higher premium.
But there's a chance some of the HIPAA protections could go away if Texas' lawsuit succeeds, because of the way the ACA incorporated them, Kaiser Health News reported.
Get ready for a busy fall season of regulations from the federal government. The White House yesterday released its fall regulatory agenda, teasing several significant health care rules.
Bob flags some highlights:
The big picture: The Trump administration is stepping on the gas to implement conservative health care policies from the executive branch.
A new report released by Sen. Claire McCaskill reveals how Insys, a pharmaceutical company, aggressively pushed its fentanyl product, Subsys, to increase the number and strength of prescriptions written for it.
Details, via Caitlin:
Between the lines: One illuminating email included in the report summarizes what appears to have been the mindset: “What drives us all? COMPENSATION," the national director of sales wrote to district sales managers in 2013.
Why it matters: While the new Insys CEO has called the company's previous actions "unacceptable," there's clearly been a pattern when it comes to marketing opioids.