News & Commentary
Little children often have a difficult time swallowing pills. Pharmacists can make liquid versions, but there’s a risk of an adverse reaction to these ad hoc versions. So it figures that standardized liquid forms of older medications would find a market. But the costs are high.

A recent study in Health Affairs projects physician payment rates under MACRA, comparing them to what they would have looked like had MACRA not been passed.

One of the ideas that surfaces in discussions to replace the ACA is to allow health insurers to not cover some of the services that the law currently makes them cover. Opponents of Obamacare call them skinny plans.

The Joint Commission conducts surprise inspections of hospitals at least once every 39 months. Just what the commission finds, however, is rarely disclosed to the public, according to ProPublica, a not-for-profit news gathering organization.

News & Commentary
Ninety-seven percent of patients think it is important for any health organization anywhere to have access to their full medical history, according to an online survey conducted by Transcend Insights, a subsidiary of Humana. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality.

Yesterday, it looked as if Anthem and Express Scripts would go their separate ways for sure. Today, there’s a sliver of hope that the 10-year-contract between the nation’s biggest PBM and one of the biggest health insurance companies might yet be salvaged.

It didn’t take long for the fallout to begin after House Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday said that the spending bill lawmakers are hammering out won’t include subsidies for health plans that participate in the ACA marketplace.

News & Commentary
Pharmaceutical manufacturers take their cues from insurers and physicians who want medications that thwart the progression of MS and prevent or at least lessen the intensity of relapses. But patients are also concerned about out-of-pocket costs and dangerous but rare side effects.

The only thing that’s certain these days in health care is uncertainty. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced today that the spending bill currently being ironed out by lawmakers will not include payments to insurers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

News & Commentary
Molina Healthcare showed a net loss of $47 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with a $30 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2015. CEO J. Mario Molina blames what he considers a structural flaw in the ACA known as the risk transfer.

Micro-hospitals are finding their niche in the health care system, says U.S. News & World Report. The facilities provide about 10 beds for short stays and can treat some of the less emergent emergency services usually done at large hospitals.

Use of statins to prevent the recurrence of a heart attack after the first such incidence is a generally accepted practice guideline, but its effectiveness is muted because of nonadherence, according to a study in JAMA Cardiology.

Legislation & Regulation
Richard Mark Kirkner

Latoya Thomas
American Telemedicine Association

If millions of Americans lose Medicaid or private health insurance coverage because of the unACAing of American health care, telehealth may seem like a gimmicky sideshow rather than a good-faith effort to bring health care into the digital century.
Interview by Peter Wehrwein

Henry DePhillips

The CMO of Teladoc, one of the country’s largest telemedicine providers, certainly knows how to sing the praises of the industry, and handle devil’s advocate kind of questions as well. Most of Teledoc’s customers are commercial insurers and employers. Medicare? Not so much. Medicaid makes “perfect sense.”