Health Policy

In “Riding” Abortion, Is Greg Abbott Driving Texas Toward Divestiture?

By MIKE MAGEE Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been on a tear lately, and his central theme appears to be “revanchism.” Faced with declining demographics, he is retaliating against enemies and newcomers alike, aligning himself with slippery politicians and vigilantes. As they say in Texas, “He’s on a first-name basis with the bottom of the …

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State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 – Part 1: The Coming Expansion in Access, Affordability, and Value

By ROSEMARIE DAY and DAVID W. JOHNSON, The Affordable Care Act (ACA) survived its third challenge at the Supreme Court on June 18, 2021, by a 7-2 vote, signaling that Obamacare is here to stay. With a divided Congress and a Biden administration challenged by multiple urgencies, there is little hope for national legislation to …

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The Vaccine Brawl – A Legal Battle in Process

By MIKE MAGEE The power to mandate vaccines was litigated and resolved over a century ago. Justice John Marshall Harlin, a favorite of current Chief Justice Roberts, penned the 7 to 2 majority opinion in 1905’s Jacobson v. Massachusetts. Its impact was epic. In 1905, Massachusetts was one of 11 states that required compulsory vaccinations. …

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Policies, Techies, VCS: Musings From a Futurist

By IAN MORRISON I should’ve been in Paris last week on vacation with my wife, instead I listened in to the Policies Techies VCS:  What’s Next For Healthcare conference (I’ll explain why later).  Matthew Holt and Jessica DaMassa did a magnificent job of assembling the Who’s Who of digital health tech to wax lyrical about …

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Selfish Much?

By KIM BELLARD In a week where we’ve seen the bungled Afghan withdrawal, had Texas show us its contempt for all sorts of rights, watched wildfires ravage the west and Ida wreak havoc on a third of the country, and, of course, witnessed COVID-19 continue its resurgence, I managed to find an article that depressed …

Selfish Much? Read More »

Does Our Healthcare System Work for the Most Vulnerable Americans?

By DEBORAH AFEZOLLI, CARL-PHILIPPE ROUSSEAU, HELEN FERNANDEZ, ELIZABETH LINDENBERGER “Why did you choose this field?” Most physicians are asked this question at some point in their early careers. We are geriatrics and palliative medicine physicians, so when that question is posed to us, it is invariably followed by another: “Isn’t your job depressing?” No, our …

Does Our Healthcare System Work for the Most Vulnerable Americans? Read More »

Health Care, Meet Gall’s Law

By KIM BELLARD I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without knowing about Gall’s Law (thanks to @niquola for tweeting it!).  For those of you similarly unaware, John Gall was a pediatrician who, seemingly in his spare time, wrote Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail in 1975.  His “law,” contained therein, is: …

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Sleepless Nights For Evolutionary Biologists: A Greek Tragedy in The Making

By MIKE MAGEE In my Jesuit high school, we were offered only one science course – chemistry. I took it in my Senior year and did pretty well. In contrast, I took four years of Latin, and three years of Greek, as part of the school’s Greek Honors tract. Little did I know that Covid …

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The FDA’s Culture: Should Safety Dominate All Practices?

By STEVEN ZECOLA An organization’s culture is an internal set of shared values, attitudes and practices. The cohesiveness of the organizational culture will affect whether the entity will meet its vision, purpose, and goals. One type of organizational culture is hierarchical in nature.   Unlike a risk-taking culture, this structure features policy, process and precision. It is …

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Delta Double-Down: A Universal Health Plan Is Long Overdue.

By MIKE MAGEE On March 25, 1966, during the Poor People’s March that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” This week, my niece in Orlando, Florida, sent her 8-year old son, masked, back to public school. He has …

Delta Double-Down: A Universal Health Plan Is Long Overdue. Read More »

It takes a pandemic: Mental Health parity may finally have its day!

By EMILY EVANS Emily Evans is the health policy guru at equity research company HedgeEye. She sends out these reports in emails to her clients regularly but (since I asked nicely) she allowed me to publish this one from late last week on THCB. You can catch Emily in person on the “How Much Are These …

It takes a pandemic: Mental Health parity may finally have its day! Read More »

Breast cancer drug approved for NHS after maker agrees discount

Reversal of earlier rejection by Nice of abemaciclib – known as Verzenios – is welcomed by campaigners A breast cancer drug that was rejected for routine NHS use in England earlier this year has now been recommended by health officials after a discount was agreed with the manufacturer. The decision has been described as “fantastic …

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UK orders extra Covid vaccines for autumn 2022 booster campaign

Pfizer reportedly asked to supply 35m more doses, with final go-ahead for this year’s programme still awaited Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Ministers have started ordering vaccines for a booster campaign in autumn 2022, with Pfizer reportedly being asked to supply the UK with a further 35m doses. The government has …

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Health Care Needs A Hero

By MIKE MAGEE Health care needs its heroes. I came to that conclusion this week through a roundabout route. First I read Maureen Dowd’s interview entitled “Dara Khosrowshahi, Dad of Silicon Valley”, in which she, with some affection, gives the reader a look behind the scenes at the personal life of the current Uber CEO. …

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Biden Should Extend a “Public Option” as a Message to “Health Care Royalists”

By MIKE MAGEE In this world of political theatrics, with Democratic legislators from Texas forced into exodus to preserve voters’ rights, and Tucker Carlson rantings about Rep. Eric Swalwell riding shirtless on a camel in Qatar streaming relentlessly, Americans can be excused if they missed a substantive and historic news event last week. On Friday, …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt In this week’s health care tidbits, Shannon Brownlee …

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A Hamiltonian View of Post-Pandemic America

By MIKE MAGEE “In countries where there is great private wealth much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals, but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. In what can it be so useful as in prompting and improving …

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Million Pfizer jabs face being dumped after Israel-UK swap deal fails

Israel says technical issues have scuppered deal to give UK Covid vaccines expiring on 30 July Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage More than a million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine doses held in Israel that are due to expire at the end of July may be thrown away after attempts to broker a swap …

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Drug firms giving MPs ‘hidden’ funding, research shows

Pharmaceutical industry has “hidden web of policy influence” over dozens of all-party parliamentary groups Drug companies are giving groups of MPs and peers that campaign on health issues hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in “hidden” funding that could hand them “undue influence”, research has found. The pharmaceutical industry has built up a “hidden …

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Community Health Plans Are Serious: Support Major Federal Action to Reduce Rx Drug Costs

By CECI CONNOLLY Equal treatment under the law. A foundational pillar of American life. Except when it comes to drug makers who benefit from favorable treatment by the federal government. For far too long, prescription drug companies have profited immensely under a system that affords them monopolistic powers to set prices devoid of government or …

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Matthew’s health care tidbits

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! (And yes, this week’s is a tad late!) –Matthew Holt …

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U.S. Science Embrace of Wuhan “Gain-Of-Function” Viral Research Proved A Slippery Slope

By MIKE MAGEE The truth hurts. Eighteen months into a disaster that has claimed 3.5 million lives around the globe, the truth is seeping out. Human error likely caused the Covid pandemic, and America’s Medical-Industrial Complex was right in the middle of it. Signs of a “great awakening” have emerged from various corners in the …

U.S. Science Embrace of Wuhan “Gain-Of-Function” Viral Research Proved A Slippery Slope Read More »

Bias, Before First Breath

How structural racism and implicit bias impact America’s babies, even prior to birth By ELLIE STANG Becoming a new mother in America is more dangerous for some mothers than it should be. Each year, 700 women die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes in the United States, the highest number of any developed nation.  Health …

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Make Some Microbe Friends

By KIM BELLARD It’s the coolest story I’ve seen in the past few days: The New York Times reported how an Italian  museum cleaned its priceless Michelangelo sculptures with an army of bacteria.  As Jason Horowitz wrote, “restorers and scientists quietly unleashed microbes with good taste and an enormous appetite on the marbles, intentionally turning …

Make Some Microbe Friends Read More »

MPs tell Johnson: you have a duty to help vaccinate the world

Exclusive: group urges prime minister to tackle ‘desperate shortage’ in developing nations Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has a “moral duty” to immediately start matching each vaccine administered at home with a donated dose to poorer countries across the world, a cross-party group of MPs and peers has said. …

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Public Health Nurses Once Again Asking, “What Are They Thinking?”

Whitney Thurman Karen Johnson By KAREN JOHNSON and WHITNEY THURMAN One recent Friday night, we huddled with our colleagues in the pouring rain at a movie theater parking lot– our cars packed with supplies for our mobile vaccine clinic— trying to find someone who wanted an extra dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine before it expired. …

Public Health Nurses Once Again Asking, “What Are They Thinking?” Read More »

Secular Stagnation – An Economic Argument for Universal Health Care Now

By MIKE MAGEE John Maynard Keynes, the famous British economist, was born and raised in Cambridge, England, and taught at King’s College.  He died in 1946. He is widely recognized today as the father of Keynesian economics that promoted a predominantly private sector driven, market economy, with an activist government sector hanging in the wings …

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10 Design Considerations for Vaccine Credentials

By ADRIAN GROPPER As COVID-19 vaccines become widely, if not fairly, available in different regions, both the public and private sector are working to develop vaccine credentials and associated surveillance systems. Information technology applied to vaccination can be effective, but it can also be oppressive, discriminatory, and counter-productive. But these systems can be tuned to reflect and …

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This Mother’s Day, Let’s Get Mothers the Health Care Coverage They Need

Mothers deserve more than a day of recognition this year—they deserve the whole month, and more. The pandemic has been particularly hard on women, especially poor women and women of color.  To demonstrate the appreciation mothers deserve this Mother’s Day, we should get them something they really need: health care. To improve maternal health, we should look …

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“Necessitous Men Are Not Free Men” – Words to Remember

By MIKE MAGEE In the second half of the 19th century, Emily Dickinson wrote a short poem that could easily have been a forward looking tribute to two American Presidents – one from the 20th, the other the 21st century. Dickinson’s poem “A WORD is dead” is hardly longer than its title. “A WORD is …

“Necessitous Men Are Not Free Men” – Words to Remember Read More »

The Market Forces Behind Vaccine Passports

By SAURABH JHA Unlike medical meetings, rendering Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony isn’t easy on Zoom, so the local orchestra has been furloughed and their members work for Uber.  The opera house wants to reopen, preferably before we reach the elusive herd immunity threshold. They mandate vaccinations for their artists, not least because the performers can keep …

The Market Forces Behind Vaccine Passports Read More »

UK orders 60m more doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine for booster jabs

Health secretary says greater supplies of vaccine will help safeguard progress in tackling coronavirus Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK has ordered a further 60m doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine in an effort to ensure that booster jabs can be given from this autumn, the government has announced. The …

UK orders 60m more doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine for booster jabs Read More »

Healthcare’s Million Dollar Blocks

By KIM BELLARD Since I first heard about them, I have been fascinated, and dismayed, by the concept of “million dollar blocks.”  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it doesn’t refer to, say, Beverly Hills,  Chicago’s Gold Coast, or Manhattan’s Hudson Yards — areas where the wealthy congregate.  No, it refers to city …

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UK strategy of backing several Covid vaccines seems to be paying off

Analysis: buying new and existing technologies ensured alternatives if a vaccine failed or had supply issues Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The government has said the decision by Johnson & Johnson to delay the supply of its Covid vaccine to Europe, while the US investigates reports of six cases of unusual …

UK strategy of backing several Covid vaccines seems to be paying off Read More »

Coronavirus: UK expert urges people in 20s to keep getting vaccine

Prof David Spiegelhalter says advantages of vaccinating young people far outweigh risks Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage People in their 20s should continue to get vaccinated against Covid despite the very rare cases of blood clotting linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because of the wider benefit to their families, friends and …

Coronavirus: UK expert urges people in 20s to keep getting vaccine Read More »

UK ministers silent on AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Australia

Downing Street will not confirm or deny report that more than 700,000 Covid jabs were sent after EU blocked export Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage British ministers and officials did not deny that more than 700,000 shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine were secretly dispatched from the UK to Australia a few …

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A prized UK biotech firm looks to Wall Street, much to Rishi Sunak’s dismay

Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm behind the AstraZeneca vaccine, is a high-profile float that slipped away A glowing, Deliveroo-style tribute from Rishi Sunak will not be required for this flotation. Vaccitech, the Oxford-based firm that owns some of the key biotechnology behind the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, is off to New York for a public listing. One …

A prized UK biotech firm looks to Wall Street, much to Rishi Sunak’s dismay Read More »

Time to Reboot “Medicare-For-All”

By MIKE MAGEE In the fog of the Covid pandemic, many are wondering what ever happened to prior vocal support for universal coverage and Medicare-for-All. Expect those issues to regain prominence in the coming months. A bit of recent history helps explain why. The January 6th insurrection, followed by the past weeks two mass shootings, …

Time to Reboot “Medicare-For-All” Read More »

UK to make up to 60m doses of Novavax Covid vaccine under GSK deal

Deal is intended to boost domestic supply amid fears potential export bans could hit vaccine shipments Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK will produce up to 60m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine under a new deal struck to boost domestic supply, amid fears over potential export bans hitting shipments of …

UK to make up to 60m doses of Novavax Covid vaccine under GSK deal Read More »

Boris Johnson: vaccine cooperation vital to help combat third Covid wave

PM stresses need to work with EU and says surge in infections is likely to ‘wash up on our shores’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Boris Johnson has urged international cooperation over vaccines, saying a third wave of coronavirus elsewhere in Europe would inevitably affect the UK. The prime minister’s remarks …

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Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk, says EMA

European agency seeks to allay blood clot fears as Germany, France and Italy temporarily suspend use Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Europe’s medicines regulator has moved to stifle spiralling concern about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, saying the shot’s benefits outweigh the risks after four major EU countries announced they were suspending its …

Benefits of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk, says EMA Read More »

Pandemic Accelerants: Life Under the “New-Normal.”

By MIKE MAGEE Confrontation is good. Governor Abbott’s “We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do” was “Neanderthal thinking” as President Biden said. Insurrectionist Richard Bennett, whose feet sat on Speaker Pelosi’s desk two month’s ago, does need to cool his jets in jail awaiting trial. And …

Pandemic Accelerants: Life Under the “New-Normal.” Read More »

Democrats vs. Republicans: Health Policy Battle Royale

Conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. has become more and more partisan and the views of both Democrats and Republicans have become less moderate over time. Is that the case with respect to views on health policy? A paper in JAMA last week by Blendon et al. (2021) conducted probability-based national surveys on four topics …

Democrats vs. Republicans: Health Policy Battle Royale Read More »

Moderna’s “Secret Sauce”

By MIKE MAGEE This week J&J gained FDA approval for their 1-shot COVID vaccine, leading optimists like Pfizer Board member, Scott Gottlieb, to predict that we will have 100 million shots out there by the end of April, and on-demand offerings for the general public. In the race toward herd immunity, we could easily ignore …

Moderna’s “Secret Sauce” Read More »

Wiping the Sleep From Our Eyes: The Pandemic Plan Trump Ignored

By MIKE MAGEE When awakening from a long sleep, there is a transition period, when the brain struggles momentarily to become oriented, to “think straight.” When the sleep has extended four years, as with the Trump reign, it takes longer to clear the sleepy lies from your eyes. We are emerging, but it will take …

Wiping the Sleep From Our Eyes: The Pandemic Plan Trump Ignored Read More »

Post Pandemic Re-Entry

By ALICIA MORTON FARLESE Not in our lifetimes has humanity experienced such a pervasive, profound, and prolonged retreat from “normal lives.” This. Will. Not. Be. Easy.  While the conversation about the serious negative impact on our behavioral health has started, we also suffer from a scarcity of behavioral health professionals, and equitable access to these …

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Number of UK Covid vaccinations falls by a third as vaccine supply dips

Factors at play include high uptake plus stockpiling for second doses, but Matt Hancock promises ‘bumper weeks in March’ Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The number of Covid vaccines administered in the UK has fallen by over a third in the last week as ministers warned of a short-term dip in …

Number of UK Covid vaccinations falls by a third as vaccine supply dips Read More »

Saints, Sinners, & the Spirituality of the SPAC Church | Politics, Policy, Power

By EMILY EVANS Takeaway: Policy changes have overtaken many health care SPACs but that won’t stop a lot of telegenic advocates; something is sure to go wrong. Politics. Something is sure to go wrong. Over 400 SPACs have formed and about 100 business combinations announced. At least as far as health care goes, excluding biotech …

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‘It shows what we’re capable of’: the NHS’s vaccine triumph

A huge effort has helped the UK provide 14m first doses of Covid vaccines in about two months Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage In St Albans, GPs took over a former nightclub to provide Covid vaccinations every 20 seconds; in Carnforth, Lancashire, delivering jabs was helped by volunteers from the local …

‘It shows what we’re capable of’: the NHS’s vaccine triumph Read More »

Oxford Covid vaccine 10% effective against South African variant, study suggests

Small-scale trial of vaccine’s efficacy shows it offers very little protection against mild to moderate infection Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offers as little as 10% protection against the Covid variant first seen in South Africa, researchers have suggested. Scientists who conducted a small-scale trial of the vaccine’s …

Oxford Covid vaccine 10% effective against South African variant, study suggests Read More »

UK orders 50m doses of Covid vaccines in fight against variants

Government to work with German firm CureVac on tackling potential mutations Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has signed a deal for at least 50m doses of vaccines that could combat new variants of coronavirus, and is to work with the German manufacturer to help develop them. The Department …

UK orders 50m doses of Covid vaccines in fight against variants Read More »

UK vaccine strategy ‘paying off’ as latest trials boost stockpiles

Pre-ordering of Janssen and Novavax means Britain has procured 247m successfully trialled jabs Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Britain has cemented its status as one of the world’s leading buyers of effective Covid vaccines after two more pharmaceutical companies reported positive trial results – potentially growing the UK stockpile by 90m …

UK vaccine strategy ‘paying off’ as latest trials boost stockpiles Read More »

EU means business over Covid vaccine exports, says Von der Leyen

Commission president says firms must deliver on orders after AstraZeneca warns of shortfall Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The EU “means business”, Ursula von der Leyen has said, as the bloc doubled down on plans for tighter monitoring of vaccine exports to countries outside of the union, such as the UK. …

EU means business over Covid vaccine exports, says Von der Leyen Read More »

Moderna Covid vaccine approved for use by UK medicines regulator

Britain’s third jab to receive clearance for public use will not be available until the spring Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Moderna coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. The jab is the third to be given the green light by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory …

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Third Covid vaccine set for UK approval next week but arrival delayed by Brexit

Moderna jab won’t be available in Britain until April but fourth vaccine may soon come online Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A third Covid vaccine is likely to be approved for use in Britain next week but it will not be available until April because the UK is no longer part …

Third Covid vaccine set for UK approval next week but arrival delayed by Brexit Read More »

What difference will Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine make in UK?

We look at how the introduction of a new vaccine in the fight against Covid will work Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is central to the government’s plans for ending social distancing in the UK and returning to some sort of normality. It has invested in seven different …

What difference will Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine make in UK? Read More »

Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 2

By TAYLOR J. CHRISTENSEN In Part 1 of this series, I reviewed the relevant context of our post-ACA healthcare system to show why President-Elect Joe Biden’s healthcare plan is perfectly reasonable. In this part, I will critically evaluate that plan to show what he got right and what he got wrong or missed altogether. Joe …

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Evaluating President-Elect Biden’s Healthcare Plan | Part 1

By TAYLOR J. CHRISTENSEN Without the full support of congress behind him, President-Elect Joe Biden will probably not have an opportunity to sign any major system-altering healthcare legislation. But, if Democrats can gain a majority in the senate–either this election cycle or next—healthcare reform will be high on the agenda. Let’s take a critical look …

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No Names, Please

By KIM BELLARD Feeling good about your holiday spending?  You’ve made it through most of this mostly horrible 2020, maybe lost a job or even a loved one, but still probably found a way to buy presents for your loved ones and maybe even to give some money to charity.  Indeed, charitable giving was up …

No Names, Please Read More »

Tensions mount over handling of UK Covid vaccine rollout

With overall costs for vaccinating the UK population at £12bn, the public accounts committee flags ‘highly unusual’ arrangements Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Vaccinating the population against Covid-19 will cost up to £12bn, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has disclosed, amid details of tensions between health bodies over the rollout. The National Audit …

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The “Right” to Health Care in America

By MIKE MAGEE I’ve been working on a Spring lecture for President’s College at the University of Hartford titled, “The Constitution and Your ‘Right to Health Care’ in America.”  My description reads, “This lecture explores the recent political history and legal controversy surrounding attempts to establish universal health coverage in America. “Is health care a right?” …

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Here’s how to tackle the Covid-19 anti-vaxxers | Will Hanmer-Lloyd

Do not demonise. To optimise the vaccine rollout, all of us must show respect to those who are unsure about inoculations Will Hanmer-Lloyd is a behavioural strategist The Covid-19 vaccines, which are up to 95% effective, have the potential to save millions of lives in the UK and many more around the world. Yet creating …

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What, Us Worry

By KIM BELLARD 2020 has been an awful year.  Hurricanes, wildfires, murder hornets, unjustified shootings, a divisive Presidential election, and, of course, a pandemic.  Most of us are spending unprecedented amounts of time sheltering in place, millions have lost their jobs, the economy is sputtering, and over a quarter million of us didn’t survive to …

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Vaccine results bring us a step closer to ending Covid, says Oxford scientist

Latest breakthrough comes as PM says he hopes most at-risk could be immunised by Easter Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The world is moving a step closer to ending the coronavirus pandemic, the scientist behind Britain’s first vaccine has declared, as Boris Johnson said he hoped the majority of those most …

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Can the Government Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine? Will It Have To?

By PHILLIP MEYLAN With the emergence of two vaccines with high levels of effectiveness, there’s a strong prospect of having powerful new tools to combat Covid-19 in the months ahead. But the road between a vaccine and society returning to normal is far from certain. Millions of doses will need to be produced and intelligently distributed, and critically, …

Can the Government Mandate a Covid-19 Vaccine? Will It Have To? Read More »

‘It’s a great day’: Oxford coronavirus vaccine volunteers on trial data

Trial participants react to news that Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has up to 90% efficacy Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Dan McAteer describes his reaction more as a sense of relief than elation when his phone pinged on Monday morning with a push alert reporting that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has …

‘It’s a great day’: Oxford coronavirus vaccine volunteers on trial data Read More »

Trials to begin in UK for Covid antibody cocktail drug treatment

Scientists say jab could be used to protect those who cannot be given vaccines Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Major trials will begin this weekend of an antibody cocktail that scientists hope will protect people against Covid-19 and could be swiftly used in care homes or on cruise ships in the …

Trials to begin in UK for Covid antibody cocktail drug treatment Read More »

Women Leaders Increasingly Visible In The Fight Against Covid-19

By MIKE MAGEE, MD As we struggle to control a second wave of Covid-19, we are reminded once again of the nurses and doctors who place themselves at risk willingly and consistently.  They are struggling uphill with a deeply segmented health care system that chronically rewards the have’s over the have-not’s, and a President clearly …

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Social Workers are the Healthcare Heroes We Need

By ALIZA NORWOOD I’m a primary care doctor at a clinic providing care to uninsured and under-insured patients in central Texas. As COVID-19 cases rise around the country, one thing has become crystal clear: social workers are more critical to our work than ever, and we don’t have enough of them.   I’m reminded of this one day with a …

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UK in ‘advanced discussions’ to buy Moderna Covid vaccine

Britain decided not to buy US vaccine and earliest it could be supplied to UK is spring 2021 Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK has not acquired the Moderna vaccine but is in “advanced discussions” to ensure British access, officials have said, while cautioning that no one in the UK …

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In Praise of Unsung Heroes

By KIM BELLARD Even in this extraordinary year, this has been an extraordinary week.  Last Tuesday we had what many believe to have been the most important Presidential election in recent times, maybe ever.  The week also found the coronavirus pandemic reaching new heights.  That was the week that was. What struck me, though, is …

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RWJF Emergency Response Innovation Challenges: Virtual Pitch Event on 11/19!

By ELIZABETH BROWN As COVID-19 brought to light the lack of emergency response preparedness in the health care system, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Catalyst @ Health 2.0 saw an opportunity to highlight digital health’s potential to support health care stakeholders and the general public. RWJF and Catalyst partnered to launch two Innovation …

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What Will Shape Joe Biden’s Health Care Agenda?

I’m thrilled to have health futurist Jeff Goldsmith back on THCB, and given Biden was only confirmed as President-elect this morning, his article on what to expect is extremely timely!–Matthew Holt By  JEFF GOLDSMITH The Trump administration’s health care journey began with a trillion dollar near miss–the failed Repeal and Replacement of ObamaCare- and ended …

What Will Shape Joe Biden’s Health Care Agenda? Read More »

We Need a Digital Identity Framework to Guide the Challenging Transition to Remote Healthcare

By GUS MALEZIS We don’t often see two Republicans and two Democrats come together to offer solutions to problems. But even at this difficult time in America, I can see bipartisanship in a truly meaningful way. The intensely-challenging issue of digital identity is bringing members of Congress of both parties together. Most American adults rely …

We Need a Digital Identity Framework to Guide the Challenging Transition to Remote Healthcare Read More »

A Cure at Any Cost? Time to Shine a Light on Drug Pricing

By CECI CONNOLLY and BOBBY CLARK We are all are anxiously awaiting the approval and delivery of a cure to the novel coronavirus – or better yet, a vaccine. Amid the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine, some may be inclined to give drug companies a pass on their well-established bad behavior related …

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Election Issue Spotlight: “Junk” Insurance Makes a Pandemic Even Worse

By ROSEMARIE DAY and NIKO LEHMAN-WHITE One of the most important responsibilities of the American government is to protect its citizens from harmful industry practices, from lead poisoning to dangerous pharmaceuticals to financial meltdowns. Its record is far from perfect, but government regulators usually act in good faith and in turn earn the trust of …

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Viruses on Motorcycles

By ANISH KOKA The most recent fiction dressed up as science about COVID comes to us courtesy of a viral Washington Post article.  “How the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may have spread coronavirus across the Upper Midwest” screams the headline.   The charge made is that “within weeks” of the gathering that drew nearly half a million …

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Careful What You Wish For: How Republican Attorneys General’s Attack on the ACA Could Trigger Medicare for All

By MIKE MAGEE Cautionary tales are timeless. Take for example Aesop’s Fables, from 620 BC, which included the advisory, “Be careful what you wish for lest it come true.” Trump and the Republicans who oppose the ACA take heed. You may be inadvertently taking the entire collusive Medical-Industrial Complex down a rabbit hole. In the …

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Will Trump, Congressional Infections Boost Innovations For Covid-19 Survivors?

By MICHAEL MILLENSON When powerful politicians confront a life-threatening diagnosis, it can change policy priorities.  In addition to President Trump and a slew of top aides, five U.S. senators and 15 members of the House of Representatives have now tested positive or been presumed positive in tests for Covid-19 as of Oct. 5, according to …

Will Trump, Congressional Infections Boost Innovations For Covid-19 Survivors? Read More »

Value-based care – no progress since 1997?

By MATTHEW HOLT Humana is out with a report saying that its Medicare Advantage members who are covered by value-based care (VBC) arrangements do better and cost less than either their Medicare Advantage members who aren’t or people in regular Medicare FFS. To us wonks this is motherhood, apple pie, etc, particularly as proportionately Humana …

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Value-based care – no progress since 1997?

By MATTHEW HOLT Humana is out with a report saying that its Medicare Advantage members who are covered by value-based care (VBC) arrangements do better and cost less than either their Medicare Advantage members who aren’t or people in regular Medicare FFS. To us wonks this is motherhood, apple pie, etc, particularly as proportionately Humana …

Value-based care – no progress since 1997? Read More »

NHS coronavirus tests threatened by Roche supply chain glitch

Pharmaceutical firm reports ‘significant drop in processing capacity’ of reagents, kits and swabs Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Concerns have been raised over the supply of vital testing materials for a range of conditions, including Covid-19, following a supply chain problem with the pharmaceutical company Roche. On Tuesday, Roche said it …

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New Technologies Drive Cost Growth Over Time

By KEN TERRY (This is the eighth and final installment in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Medical technologies include drugs, devices, tests, and procedures. Considered as a whole, these technologies are the key driver …

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Obstacles to Value-Based Care Can Be Overcome

By KEN TERRY (This is the seventh in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Even in a healthcare system dedicated to value-based care, there would be a few major barriers to the kinds of waste …

Obstacles to Value-Based Care Can Be Overcome Read More »

UK doing more than most to help poor get Covid vaccine, study finds

Campaign scoring countries for global access efforts calls for more British transparency Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK is doing more than most countries to support access to Covid vaccines for the poorest populations in the world, but it is not transparent enough about the deals it is doing at …

UK doing more than most to help poor get Covid vaccine, study finds Read More »

Biden’s Nov 9th speech: “Don’t you force me to pass Medicare 4 All”

By MATTHEW HOLT The new Supreme Court, in all likelihood including just nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett, will be hearing the California v Texas suit against the ACA on November 10th, seven days after the election. The lower courts have already ruled the ACA unconstitutional. Some hopeful moderates among my Democratic friends seem to believe …

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Measuring the Effectiveness of Cost-of-Care Conversations

By NELLY GANESAN, JOSH SEIDMAN, MORENIKE AYOVAUGHAN, and RINA BARDIN With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Avalere assesses opportunities to normalize cost-of-care conversations through measurement. Cost continues to pose a barrier to accessing healthcare for millions of Americans. Research has shown that conversations addressing costs among patients, caregivers, and the clinical team can …

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Slow Walking to Value Based Care: Why Fee for Service Still Rules

By KEN TERRY (This is the second in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) In January 2015, then Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced lofty goals for the government’s value-based payment program. By …

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Thriving in COVID Times

By KIM BELLARD These are, no question, hard times, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the U.S., we’re closing in on 180,000 deaths in the U.S.  Some 40 million workers lost their jobs, and over 30 million are still receiving unemployment benefits.  Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of small businesses are believed to have …

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Physicians Should Lead on Healthcare Reform

By KEN TERRY (This is the first in a series of excerpts from Terry’s new book, Physician-Led Healthcare Reform: a New Approach to Medicare for All, published by the American Association for Physician Leadership.) Even before COVID-19, healthcare reform seemed to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, but there is a rational …

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THCB’s Bookclub, August 2020 – UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance

By JESSICA DAMASSA & MATTHEW HOLT The THCB Book Club is a discussion with leading health care authors, which will be released on the third Wednesday of every month. And this is the first one! We kicked off with the new book from Hemant Teneja (VC at General Catalyst who has been writing many big checks lately) …

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Health Insurers Ride High for Now, But Watch What’s Coming Next

By KEN TERRY In the strangest healthcare business story of 2020, the major health insurance companies are thriving despite—or because of—the pandemic. As the second quarter reports of United, Anthem, Cigna and other insurers reveal, their COVID-19-related costs were outweighed by the sharp drop in claims for other healthcare services. As a result, the second …

Health Insurers Ride High for Now, But Watch What’s Coming Next Read More »

Healthcare Sings The Non-Profit Blues

By MICHAEL TURPIN Powers once assumed are never relinquished, just as bureaucracies, once created, never die. Charley Reese As we ponder the 100 day count down to the Presidential Elections, the rhetoric and ranting swirling around the best solution for our nation’s healthcare crisis, is hitting decibel levels not heard since the passage of the …

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UK agrees deals for 90m doses of two potential coronavirus vaccines

Government secures early access to those being developed by Novavax and Janssen Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has reached agreements it says will give British citizens early access to 90m doses of two more potential Covid-19 vaccines. The vaccines are being developed by the US biotech company Novavax …

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The Story of an American Mask Distributor

By SAURABH JHA Seven weeks before President Trump declared COVID-19 a federal emergency heralding the economic lockdown, Jesse’s customers began cutting their orders. Jesse sells garments and cotton, imported predominantly from India, to wholesalers and retailers, big and small, in malls across the North East corridor.  His business had a good January. December was like …

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The Need for Measuring Clinician-Patient Cost-of-Care Conversations

By MORENIKE AYOVAUGHAN, NELLY GANESAN, EMMY GANOS, and JOSH SEIDMAN It is no surprise that beyond COVID-19 health risks, the pandemic has also caused significant disruption to the lives of everyone in America. It has caused exacerbating financial pressures and ongoing job losses. An estimated 42 million people have lost their job since March 2020, …

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How to Pandemic-Proof Our Healthcare Payment System

By AISHA PITTMAN, MPH and SETH EDWARDS, MHA The pandemic has focused many policymakers’ attention  on strategies to make the healthcare system better. The obvious answer is one that we know is efficacious, if perhaps not the sexiest: value-based care. The current healthcare payment system – built around the fee-for-service (FFS) model in which healthcare …

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Up to 750,000 UK Covid test kits recalled due to safety concerns

Products made by diagnostics firm Randox removed from care homes and individuals Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage the Up to 750,000 unused coronavirus testing kits manufactured by diagnostics company Randox have been recalled from care homes and individuals due to concerns about safety standards. At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, …

Up to 750,000 UK Covid test kits recalled due to safety concerns Read More »

Redefining Values in American Health Care

By RICHARD HOEN, MD Experts claim we could have been better prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020. With an annual budget of $400-700 million, the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is designed to respond to chemical, biological, and other disasters. Its $8 billion inventory included 13,000 ventilators and a limited supply of personal …

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COVID herd immunity: At hand or forever elusive?

By MICHEL ACCAD, MD With cases of COVID-19 either disappeared or rapidly diminishing from places like Wuhan, Italy, New York, and Sweden, many voices are speculating that herd immunity may have been reached in those areas and that it may be at hand in the remaining parts of the world that are still struggling with the …

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Stop Rolling Back Expanded Practice Licenses for Nurse Practitioners

Dallas Ducar Katie Wolf By DALLAS M. DUCAR, MSN, PMHNP-BC, RN, CNL and KATIE WOLF, MBA We’re not in Kansas anymore. Kansas has rescinded an executive order that dramatically empowered and expanded its healthcare workforce as COVID-19 cases soared.  In the best interest of patients now and in the future, other states must not follow …

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Collective State Action Is Needed to Fight This Pandemic Right Now

By KEN TERRY As COVID-19 cases soar across the country, the federal government has lost control of the situation. Amid the Trump Administration’s happy talk and outright dismissal of the crisis, the U.S. is experiencing a forest fire of contagion and hospitalizations, and an upsurge in COVID-related deaths has already begun. Other countries like Taiwan, …

Collective State Action Is Needed to Fight This Pandemic Right Now Read More »

Healthcare Should Get Into Some #GoodTrouble

By KIM BELLARD As hopefully most of you know, Rep. John Lewis, civil right icon and longtime member of Congress, died this past Friday.  Rep. Lewis was often described the “conscience of Congress”  – perhaps a low bar in today’s Congress but important nonetheless — for his unwavering commitment to social justice.  I have always been …

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Repurposing a Universally Installed EHR App Into an Effective COVID-19 Early Detection System

By SCOTT WEINGARTEN, MD COVID-19 exposed our country’s lack of centralized coordination when it comes to managing and preventing disease spread. Today, our public health system relies on flawed data and obsolete technology that fails to accurately track current and suspected cases, risk stratify patients, monitor disease progression or predict future spread. Not only do …

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UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues

Care homes and members of public told to immediately stop using firm’s kits Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage The UK government has instructed care homes and members of the public to immediately stop using coronavirus testing kits produced by a healthcare firm after safety problems were discovered. Randox was awarded a …

UK government orders halt to Randox Covid-19 tests over safety issues Read More »

The Trump COVID Legacy: Bad Timing. Lots of Questions. Few Answers.

By MIKE MAGEE, MD What a strange irony. Trump decides, full-bravado, to challenge China to a trade war just months before China unwittingly hatches a virulent pandemic that collapses our deeply segmented health care system and our economy simultaneously. And rather than cry “Uncle”, our President then fires the WHO just as their experts are …

The Trump COVID Legacy: Bad Timing. Lots of Questions. Few Answers. Read More »

Doctors and Democracy: Why Vote-By-Mail is Good Public Health

Rob Palmer Josh Hyman Isaac Freedman By ROB PALMER, ISAAC FREEDMAN, and JOSH HYMAN Suppose tomorrow you were informed that patients could no longer have medications delivered to their homes. Thus, in the midst of the worst pandemic in recent history, your patients would have to go to pharmacies to get essential medications. Undoubtedly, you’d …

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A Conversation with John Ioannidis

By SAURABH JHA, MD The COVID-19 pandemic has been a testing time for the already testy academic discourse. Decisions have had to be made with partial information. Information has come in drizzles, showers and downpours. The velocity with which new information has arrived has outstripped our ability to make sense of it. On top of …

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Telehealth’s Missing Link: In the Rush to Implement Virtual Care, What Did CMS Leave Out?

By RAY COSTANTINI, MD Imagine three months from now when the predicted ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 is expected to resurge and we’re still without a vaccine. Telehealth has become the entry-point to care, widely adopted by patients both young and old. Now, when an elderly diabetic patient wakes up in the middle of the night …

Telehealth’s Missing Link: In the Rush to Implement Virtual Care, What Did CMS Leave Out? Read More »

‘The wondrous map’: how unlocking human DNA changed the course of science

Thanks to the success of the Human Genome Project, 20 years ago this week, scientists can track biology and disease at a molecular level Twenty years ago this week, an international group of scientists announced it had put together the first genetic blueprint of a human being. After 10 years of effort, the team – …

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The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’

Richard Horton does not hold back in his criticism of the UK’s response to the pandemic and the medical establishment’s part in backing fatal government decisions Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage There is a school of thought that says now is not the time to criticise the government and its scientific …

The Lancet’s editor: ‘The UK’s response to coronavirus is the greatest science policy failure for a generation’

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