Healthcare things to know, week of April 29, 2020

Blake Madden
4 min readMay 1, 2020


this week’s top healthcare news

market update: healthcare vs. the S&P 500

ER Staffing and ASC firm Envision considering bankruptcy.

Per Bloomberg, Envision Healthcare is considering a bankruptcy filing. The firm with over 25,000 staffed physicians is backed by private equity giants like KKR and has a lot of debt.

As you could probably deduce from HCA’s Q1 earnings call, emergency room visit volume is down QUITE a bit for them (50%), so it’s probably down similarly nationwide.

Health insurers win big in court over ACA case.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of health insurers today, compelling the federal government to pay large insurers like Blue Cross, Centene, Humana, and others about $12 billion related to risk corridor underpayments. (Read more: what’s a risk corridor?)

What was the case about?

The federal government wanted to incentivize health insurance companies to enter state ACA exchanges. So in order to make that happen, the Feds told insurers that the government would subsidize losses if the plans ended were more costly than expected (AKA, risk sharing).

Then Congress took it once step further by fully repealing the federal government’s obligation to repay health insurers altogether under this so-called risk corridor program.

The WSJ has a good write-up on the case. Read it here. (Paywall)

What about that other ACA case?

What pandemic? Amedisys buys AseraCare.

Coronavirus need-to-know’s.

Anotha stimulus.

$484 billion more in stimulus money is headed the economy’s way. Trump signed the bill, deemed Stimulus Phase 3.5, into law on Friday, April 24th.

Healthcare bailout $$$ distribution.

The latest round of stimulus funding includes $75 billion more in healthcare bailout money, which brings total funding to $175 billion. Here’s where all the funding has gone so far:

  • Phase 1: $30 billion to hospitals based on historical Medicare fee-for-service revenue
  • Phase 2: $20 billion to hospitals based on 2018 total net patient revenue. $10 billion for pandemic hot spots, $10 billion for rural health providers, and $400 million for the Indian Health Services
  • Yet to be distributed: $105(ish) billion. Most of this pool is probably going to be used to cover reimbursement for uninsured COVID-19 patients.

With this new $75 billion increase in bailout money, CMS is now suspending its accelerated payment program to providers.

Quick Hits

Biz Hits

Other Hits

  • Inside the dystopian, post-lockdown world of Wuhan. (Bloomberg)
  • Top Google searches during COVID-19. (Axios)
  • Google released its healthcare API amid the pandemic. (ModernHealthcare)
  • People are filling more prescriptions by mail amid the coronavirus crisis. (Axios)
  • The secret group of scientists and billionaires pushing a Manhattan project for Covid-19. (WSJ)
  • Learning more about Apple and Google’s digital contract tracing app — a deeper dive. (Forbes)

Thought-Provoking Editorials

Thanks for reading. I’m out. @B_Madden4

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The Healthy Muse was created to educate people on the healthcare system. It’s a once-weekly e-mail updating you on all the major election news, broader trends, big stories, and policy updates. Learn more about our vision here.

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Blake Madden

I write about healthcare. Policy, business, digital health, & more. Written in plain English. Here to connect, learn, and continue the healthcare convo.