Healthcare roundup—Kavanaugh confirmed; Survey finds employees aren't using HSAs for long-term savings

View of the Supreme Court building
With a 50 to 48 vote, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court over the weekend. (sframephoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Kavanaugh confirmed to Supreme Court

In a highly contentious confirmation process that promises to have broad healthcare implications, Brett Kavanaugh officially became a Supreme Court Justice over the weekend.

With a 50 to 48 vote, it was one of the closest confirmation votes for a Supreme Court justice in history. Republicans cheered his selection for shifting the balance of the court conservative. Kavanaugh's nomination could impact issues including the Affordable Care Act and the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion.

In a piece published last week in The Wall Street Journal, Kavanaugh said he regretted his tone during the hearing and promised to be an impartial judge on the high court. (The Wall Street Journal)

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Survey: Employees aren't using HSA for long-term savings

While HSAs are potentially a high-value option for healthcare costs in retirement, most employees use them primarily as spending accounts for immediate health expenses, according to the new Willis Towers Watson 2018 Health Accounts Employee Attitudes Survey.

About 2 out of 3 respondents indicated they use their HSA money for current healthcare needs, while just 8% focus on saving their funds for the future. Fewer than half have more than $5,000 saved, the survey found. The survey also found the majority of employees (69%) who didn’t enroll in an HSA say they chose not to because they didn’t see the benefit, didn’t understand HSAs or didn’t take the time to understand them. (Report)

Legal barriers are limiting telehealth's reach, experts say

Telehealth can provide patients access to care no matter where they are geographically, proponents say. Stakeholders from Walgreens and American Well to Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Department of Veterans Affairs have used the word “anywhere” to tout their work in the telehealth realm.

But “anywhere” may be a bit of a stretch, according to legal experts at the 2018 Public Health Law Conference on Thursday.

Whether a medical professional can treat someone via telehealth—and if so, how—varies widely by jurisdiction, since medical practice is regulated at the state level. And in some cases, patients may lack access to telehealth due to something more fundamental than telehealth law: broadband. (FierceHealthIT)

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