Medicare may soon cover end-of-life talks; Oregon reports health insurance rate increases for 2016;

News From Around the Web

> Advocates expect Medicare will soon begin paying for end-of-life conversations as part of an annual Medicare physician payment rule set to be released any day, reports Politico. Many states passed laws allowing for documentation of end-of-life goals, while bipartisan bills in both the House and the Senate called for provider reimbursement for such talks. Article

> Negotiated discounts for knee replacement surgery at hospitals in Southern Idaho range from 12 percent to 35 percent, while routine childbirth discounts vary from 40 percent to 59 percent, notes the The price differential stems from hospital and health insurance companies negotiating tactics--while hospitals want the most they can get from insurers, insurers want to pay as little as possible. Article

> Oregon Insurance Commissioner Laura N. Cali approved the state's 2016 rate increase for health insurance companies that cover more than 220,000 individuals, reports the New York Times. Moda Health Plan, for instance, received a 25 percent increase, while LifeWise received a 33 percent increase. Article

Health Provider News

> Increasing numbers of nurse practitioners who enter the healthcare field could help fill the gap created by a shortage of primary care physicians, according to an opinion piece on the Health Affairs Blog. Article

> A transgender advocacy group has created a directory of physicians and other caregivers that rates the providers on how knowledgeable and non-discriminatory they are regarding trans and gender fluid patients, according to Boston Public Radio's Common Health blog. Article

And Finally … New hotdog-eating champion crowned. Article