What’s New in Health Care Reform: July 19

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Two More Senate Republicans Oppose Health Care Bill, Leaving It without Enough Votes to Pass

Two more Senate Republicans have declared their opposition to the latest plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, potentially ending a months-long effort to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and been a top priority for President Trump. Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure. The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill. Via Washington Post.

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U.S. News Postpones Release of Hospital Rankings Due to Data Errors 

U.S. News & World Report is postponing the public release of its annual hospital rankings after it discovered errors in the data used to compile its report, according to an email obtained by STAT. The rankings were to be released August 1. But the email, signed by U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly and Chief of Health Analysis Ben Harder explained that the errors require a review of rankings, which had already been released to hospitals under embargo. The new publication date will be August 8, according to the email. Via STAT.

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Mayo Clinic CEO Says Trump’s Budget Is Probably DOA

John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic president and chief executive officer, discusses the health care legislation currently before the U.S. Congress and the state of the health-care industry with Bloomberg's David Gura at the Allen & Company Media Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. Via Bloomberg.

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How Hospitals Got Richer off Obamacare

A decade after the nation’s top hospitals used all their advertising and lobbying clout to keep their tax-exempt status, pointing to their vast givebacks to their communities, they have seen their revenue soar while cutting back on the very givebacks they were touting, according to a POLITICO analysis. Hospitals’ behavior in the years since the Affordable Care Act provided them with more than 20 million more paying customers offers a window into the debate over winners and losers surrounding this year’s efforts to replace the ACA. It also puts a sharper focus on the role played by the nation’s teaching hospitals—storied international institutions that have grown and flowered under the ACA, while sometimes neglecting the needy neighborhoods that surround them. And it reveals, for the first time, the extent of the hospitals’ behind-the-scenes efforts to maintain tax breaks that provide them with billions of dollars in extra income, while costing their communities hundreds of millions of dollars in local taxes. Via Politico.

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The Trump Administration Says a New Plan Will Cut Drug Prices. It’s Not That Simple.

When the Trump administration unveiled a new Medicare proposal this week to cut payments to hospitals as part of a drug reimbursement program, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price called the plan a “significant step toward fulfilling President Trump’s promise to address rising drug prices.” It may not be that simple. Via STAT.

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Medicare’s Financial Outlook Slightly Improved, Trustees Say

The Trump administration said that the financial outlook for Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund improved in the past year due to health costs rising more slowly than expected and predictions that enrollees will use hospital services less often. The report said that trust fund would last through 2029, one year later than what was projected last year. Two years ago, 2030 was the projected depletion date. Via Kaiser Health News.

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Mayo Clinic Kicks off Massive Epic EHR Go-Live

Mayo Clinic officially hit a milestone in its $1.5 billion system-wide Epic implementation over the weekend: The first 24 sites went live on July 8. The organizations said that by 2018 Epic will replace Mayo’s current three employee health record systems, which include rivals Cerner and GE Healthcare, as the hospital system’s sole electronic health record platform. Via Healthcare IT News.

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Health Insurers Try Paying More up Front to Pay Less Later

Michael McBrayer of St. Paul, Minnesota, needs to pay a lot attention to his health. "I give myself shots multiple times a day, as well as controlling my diet and exercise," he says. Ten years ago, McBrayer learned he has Type 1 diabetes. Now he knows he faces dire consequences if he fails to control his blood sugar. "Kidney failure, blindness, heart disease—all those things are looming out there," he says. Via NPR.

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New GOP Plan to Repeal Obamacare Meets Fatal Opposition

Senate Republicans' Plan B to gut Obamacare is poised for failure, as three GOP senators said they will vote against a procedural motion to advance repeal of the health law without a replacement—dooming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest effort. The opposition from GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins came a day after Senate Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare collapsed, and further imperiled President Donald Trump's vow to dismantle the health law. Via Politico.

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Health Insurers Brace for New Uncertainty after GOP Bill’s Collapse

For the health care system, it’s back to square one. Insurers, hospitals, and state officials are facing the prospect that the Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land for now at least, but they also are left with huge questions about how key aspects of the law will be handled under the Trump administration as deadlines loom for insurers’ decisions about next year. Via Wall Street Journal.

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Andy Tofilon

Andy Tofilon is a Marketing Segment Manager at Mayo Medical Laboratories. He leads strategies for corporate communications, public relations, and new media innovations. Andy has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2003. Outside of work, Andy can be found running, hiking, snapping photos, and most importantly, spending time with his family.