In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
The inspector general at Health and Human Services says defective pacemakers or defibrillators had to be replaced from 2005 through 2014, costing Medicare $1.5 billion. (Fred Schulte and Christina Jewett, 10/2)
Tom Price resigned from running the Department of Health and Human Services after a series of news stories detailing how he tallied more than $400,000 in private plane travel paid for by taxpayers. (Julie Rovner, 9/29)
Drug companies are in the midst of a glossy publicity campaign to stop attempts to control rising pharma costs. But the devil is in the details. (Jay Hancock, 10/2)
Congress has yet to take substantive action on this growing consumer concern, but a number of states are flexing their cost-control muscle. (Shefali Luthra, 9/29)
Technical glitches with a mandatory credentialing course are, many say, the latest in a series of complications that could make it harder to help people get coverage. (Shefali Luthra, 10/2)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Bail Out?'" by RJ Matson, Roll Call.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
DRAIN THE SWAMP
Price's charter flights.
Flying high at our expense.
Repeal, replace him!
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
Summaries Of The News:
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned Friday after uproar grew over reports that he'd used private jets for government travel when cheaper public transportation options existed. This departure is just the latest in a string of officials either stepping down or being fired under President Donald Trump.
The New York Times: Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns After Drawing Ire For Chartered Flights
Tom Price, the health and human services secretary, resigned under pressure on Friday after racking up at least $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights and undermining President Trump’s promise to drain the swamp of a corrupt and entitled capital. Already in trouble with Mr. Trump for months of unsuccessful efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care program, Mr. Price failed to defuse the president’s anger by offering regret and a partial reimbursement. (Baker, Thrush and Haberman, 9/29)
The Washington Post: HHS Secretary Tom Price Resigns Amid Criticism For Taking Charter Flights At Taxpayer Expense
Price submitted a four-paragraph resignation letter in which he said he regretted “that the recent events have created a distraction” from the administration’s objectives. “Success on these issues is more important than any one person,” he continued. Not long after, HHS staff received a message from Price praising employees as “dedicated, committed” and saying it had been “a great joy” to serve with them. (Eilperin, Goldstein and Wagner, 9/29)
Los Angeles Times: Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns Under Fire — But Other Cabinet Members Are Still Taking Costly Private Flights
“He’s a good man but I’m disappointed in him,” Trump told them at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, as he prepared to board a flight to New Jersey, where he planned to spend the weekend at his golf resort. (Decker, 9/29)
The Wall Street Journal: Tom Price Resigns As Health And Human Services Secretary Amid Travel Uproar
The controversy over the flights and sudden departure of Dr. Price comes as the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the ACA are at a standstill. After another effort to overturn the law failed Tuesday in the Senate, Republicans now must choose whether to work with Democrats on health care, or continue their efforts to repeal the ACA. If the administration favors regulations to change the ACA, those changes would be spearheaded by HHS. Dr. Price kept a low profile at times during the long legislative fight to undo the ACA, as such officials as Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, sometimes took on a more visible role in talking to lawmakers. Some health experts have suggested Ms. Verma could succeed Dr. Price. (Armour and Hackman, 9/29)
The Associated Press: Trump's Health Secretary Resigns In Travel Flap
The Health and Human Services secretary became the first member of the president's Cabinet to be pushed out in a turbulent young administration that has seen several high-ranking White House aides ousted. A former GOP congressman from the Atlanta suburbs, Price served less than eight months. (Alonso-Zaldivar and LeMire, 9/30)
CQ: Embattled Health Secretary Tom Price Resigns Amid Scandal
The jet controversy marks the latest incident to raise ethical questions about Price during his seven-month term as Trump’s health chief. From the time he was nominated by Trump, there were questions about Price's stock trades in health-related companies that he could have had influence over as a member of Congress. The Senate confirmed Price as secretary in February by 52-47. (Williams, Clason and Siddons, 9/29)
Kaiser Health News: Tom Price Resigns As HHS Secretary Over Cost Of Private And Military Jet Travel
Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former House Budget Committee chairman, was surrounded by controversy since his nomination to the nation’s top health post in January. He made questionable stock trades in health care companies while a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and interceded on behalf of donors with federal agencies. Democrats in the Senate fought his confirmation, charging that he was too ethically challenged to serve as HHS secretary. (Rovner, 9/29)
Bloomberg: Trump's Health Secretary Resigns Amid Private-Jet Scandal
After Price’s resignation on Friday, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney issued a memo ordering government agencies to seek approval from Chief of Staff John Kelly before most travel on government-owned or chartered planes. (Edney, 9/29)
The Hill: Trump Accepts Tom Price's Resignation
Don Wright, HHS's acting assistant secretary for health, will serve as acting secretary effective Saturday. (Hellmann and Carter, 9/29)
Politico: Trump’s Breaking Point With Price
Tom Price’s downfall was his penchant for pricey jets. But his demise was months in the making, as the president continued to lose trust in the HHS secretary who rarely attended Oval Office strategy meetings, had little sway or influence on Capitol Hill, and was associated in the president's mind with one of the administration's biggest defeats — the failure to repeal Obamacare. (Restuccia, Dawsey and Diamond, 9/29)
The Hill: Price The Latest In A String Of High-Profile Trump Departures
President Trump's administration saw its first departure of a Cabinet secretary on Friday with Health and Human Services (HHS) chief Tom Price resigning after uproar over his use of private planes for travel. Price's departure is just the latest in a string of high-profile exits in the at-times tumultuous first nine months of Trump's presidency. (Manchester, 9/30)
Some of the names getting attention are Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services chief Seema Verma, Fla. Gov. Rick Scott and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, among others.
The New York Times: Trump’s Next Move On Health Care? Choice For Secretary May Offer Clue
President Trump’s selection of a secretary of health and human services could be a turning point in a health care debate that has polarized Washington, as he faces a choice of working with Democrats to fix the current system or continuing his so-far failed efforts to dismantle his predecessor’s program. (Baker and Pear, 9/30)
The Associated Press: Trump Seeks New Health Chief After Price Resignation
President Donald Trump is seeking a new health secretary to take the place of Tom Price, ousted after an outcry over flying on costly private charters for official travel. The Health and Human Services chief oversees a $1 trillion department, with 80,000 employees and jurisdiction over major insurance programs, advanced medical research, drug and food safety, public health, and disease prevention. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/30)