Healthcare Economics & Policy

Physicians are major drivers of hospital revenue, generating about $2.4 million each year, according to a new survey from Merritt Hawkins.

The Department of Justice has asked a judge to approve the $69 billion merger between CVS Health and Aetna, which was closed by the two companies at the end of 2018, Reuters reported. The deal has been hung up on court approval, though it has been approved by all other regulators and the DOJ.

More employers are actively integrating or considering integrating their medical, pharmacy, dental, vision and/or disability benefits under their health and wellness programs in the next five years thanks to the positive impact on employees, a study from Anthem found. 

General Electric Company (GE) is selling its biopharma business to Danaher for $21.4 billion, the company announced Feb. 25. With a definitive agreement signed between the two parties, GE’s previous plan to spin off its healthcare sector with its own initial public offering is likely put on hold, GE Chairman and CEO Larry Culp told CNBC.

The use of low-value procedures is harming patients, consuming hospital resources and delaying care for patients for whom the services would be appropriate, according to a new assessment of seven low-value procedures published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

A proposed merger between two major health insurance providers ended in a messy breakup after antitrust issues prohibited the roughly $50 billion transaction in 2017. Now, the two companies, Anthem and Cigna, are still disputing which company will foot the costs of the failed deal, Bloomberg Quint reported.

CivicaRx, the not-for-profit entity created last year by a group of health systems and hospitals, is planning to achieve its goals of lowering drug prices and addressing shortages in hospitals by working directly with pharmaceutical companies and buying drugs, Bloomberg reported.

Getting to and waiting for a doctor’s appointment will likely take longer than getting a car repair, according to a recent analysis of travel and wait times among professional services by Altarum. All that waiting and traveling adds up to a significant burden in the U.S.–– an average of $89 billion annually in economic costs from 2006 to 2017.

The Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, a new Pasadena, California-based medical school opening in 2020, will allow students to attend tuition-free for the first five graduating classes.

The healthcare sector will continue to eclipse more of the economy over the next several years, with national healthcare expenditures hitting 19.4 percent of GDP by 2027, according to the Office of the Actuary at CMS. From 2018 to 2027, healthcare expenditures will grow an average of 5.5 percent annually, hitting nearly $6 trillion.

The $69 billion merger between Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, and CVS, a major retail pharmacy chain and pharmacy benefit manager, has been touted as a “transformative moment” moment for the healthcare industry. Now that the deal has been completed, consumers are split on whether they'll move their care to the retailer. 

After acquiring Aetna for nearly $70 billion, CVS Health has taken a financial hit. During the three months ending Dec. 31, 2018, CVS Health lost $421 million in net income, according to its end-of-year financial results.