Happy Thursday. Get excited for mid-July.
Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced his Medicare for All bill yesterday. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders' "Medicare for All" plan would drastically change not only how health care is paid for, but who ultimately pays for it.
Driving the news: As part of yesterday's rollout, Sanders released a white paper with several "options" on how to raise the additional revenue it would take for the government to pay for everyone's health care without any premiums or out-of-pocket costs.
What they're saying: Even if all of these payment options were implemented, they still wouldn't cover the total cost of Sanders' plan, said the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget's Marc Goldwein.
The bottom line: "More progressive tax-based financing of health care is a feature, not a bug, of Medicare for all," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.
Centene's pending acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, a deal valued at $17.3 billion including debt, would create a health insurance behemoth with almost $100 billion in revenue — nearly all of which comes from taxpayer-subsidized health care programs, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Between the lines: Federal antitrust regulators made it clear in 2016 that the large health insurance megamergers went too far and would reduce competition harmfully in certain markets.
What they're saying: "There's not a big antitrust issue ... we do not set the [Medicaid] rates," Centene CEO Michael Neidorff said in an interview with Bloomberg.
President Trump with CMS administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Trump administration has appealed a recent court decision striking down Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky and Arkansas, the Washington Post reports.
Why it matters: Work requirements are one of the Trump administration's signature health care achievements, especially after failing to reform Medicaid through the 2017 health care bill.
Atrium Health struck out a year ago when it attempted to merge with in-state rival UNC Health Care, Bob reports. Now, the hospital system has inked a new deal to combine with Wake Forest Baptist Health, which is 90 minutes away from its headquarters.
Why it matters: Research overwhelmingly shows these kinds of regional hospital mergers lead to higher health care prices (and, consequently, premiums) because providers gain negotiating leverage and make it harder for health insurers to exclude them from networks.
Between the lines: The primary hook that Atrium and Wake Forest are selling is that they would build a new medical school in Charlotte. Because who could be against more doctors and research?
Several GOP senators introduced a new bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions yesterday, including several senators who are up for re-election next year.
My thought bubble: This bill is a reminder of the awkward politics Republicans find themselves facing on health care.
Thanks for reading, enjoy your Thursday!