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Axios health care editor Sam Baker hosted a virtual event on the future of health care featuring Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and co-founder of COVID Exit Strategy, Ryan Panchadsaram.

Sen. Bill Cassidy discussed legislation on the future of health tech data privacy, as well as the lasting impact of telehealth options for patients.

  • On 'The Smartwatch Data Act,' bipartisan legislation for data privacy in health tech: "[The Act] would require the information gathered from smartwatches to be treated as if it were protected, health information certainly not to be used without your permission on anything that would otherwise underwrite your eligibility for fill in a product."
  • On the far-reaching impacts of telehealth: "We're able to reach into the person's home or to a place nearby [that's] non-threatening, where they can go for their visit. It has the potential to dramatically improve outcomes and lower expenses."

Ryan Panchadsaram unpacked the inception of 'US Digital Response' and 'COVID Exit Strategy,' large-scale initiatives tracking and reporting out pandemic data, including tests, cases, hospitalizations, and ICU capacity.

  • On the organization goals: "We set out to track how all 50 states were doing on the pandemic and we ranked them red, yellow, green, and we tried to show what metrics could be improved, how testing could be made better. And it really put a spotlight on how bad things were."
  • On considering tech as an essential part of all policy: "Tech will always be a part of policy today... I think what we've got to focus on is always: What are we trying to achieve?... If we want to get three hundred million people vaccinated by a certain date, how is tech going to play a role?"

Axios Senior Vice President Jon Otto hosted a View from the Top Segment with Chief Physician Executive of OptumLabs and Executive Vice President of Research & Development at UnitedHealth Group Dr. Deneen Vojta, who discussed the importance of data science for the future of equitable health care and technology.

  • On training the next generation of data scientists in health: "Going forward, we will see a relentless focus on improving [health disparities]... And we can do so by thinking about our data assets and really understanding why there are such disparities...The best thing we can do is to have a data science pool that looks like the rest of the country."

Thank you UnitedHealth Group for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

Who in Congress is talking about Ukraine the most

Data: Quorum; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Mentions of Ukraine or Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in congressional statements and social media posts have been on the rise — with nearly 1,000 already this month, according to data from Quorum.

Why it matters: The growing threat of a Russian invasion has been mirrored by a growth in Ukraine-related chatter.