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On Thursday, July 1, Axios senior editor Sam Baker and health care editor Tina Reed took a closer look at strengthening care accessibility and the future of providing care in our monthly Vitals "Check-Up" series, featuring CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif).

Chiquita Brooks-Lasure unpacked how CMS plans to prioritize initiatives in the aftermath of the pandemic, focusing on critical topics such as health equity, prescription drug costs, telehealth, and Medicaid.

  • On the path to improving health equity policy: “The first way that we are really focused on advancing health equity is making it the first question and not the last question. So every single policy that is coming to me, the team knows that I'm going to ask about health equity. They automatically start talking about...how we're going to build in health equity, whether it's making sure that we're collecting data so that we can make better decisions or whether it's just making sure that we're looking at the policies through [a health equity] lens. As we start doing it, the policies improve.”
  • On moving forward with telehealth: “I've heard so much in my own life and from many members of Congress about how important telehealth has been to communities, particularly in the mental health space and...what a difference it made in terms of even in terms of hospitals, in terms of people showing up for their appointments. Telehealth remains critical. So that's going to be an important piece that CMS will be looking at as we look to make some of these policies more permanent.”

Rep. Ami Bera discussed how the landscape of American public health has changed in the past year and what opportunities arose as a result of these issues being exposed.

  • On the healthcare system getting back to normal after COVID-19: “There is going to be this pent-up demand that potentially overwhelms the system as we come out of the pandemic. On top of that, you've got a health care workforce that really was stretched thin throughout the pandemic...We do worry about the potential retirements in that workforce. So we've got to figure out how to work through this backlog of necessary care.”
  • On being strategic about building American health infrastructure: “Let's actually build a public health department and public health infrastructure in America that we deserve. That'll help us deal with community-based issues like other infectious diseases, vaccinations, clean water, health, etc., those are measures that are hugely important, that can have a real impact.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top Segment with Executive Vice President and Associate Chief Medical Officer at UnitedHealth Group, Dr. Margaret Mary Wilson who discussed specific issues that the pandemic brought to light regarding American healthcare, and what that means for the future.

  • On advancing care after the pandemic: “The COVID pandemic drove a significant pivot in the way we all view health care and really gave momentum to the urgent need for health care transformation. It revealed gaps in our healthcare system, but then also drove fresh thinking around how we interact with patients [and] urgency around innovation. Every single person, regardless of their status group, should be assured of optimal, quality, affordable care that meets their specific needs.”

Thank you UnitedHealth Group for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Oct 9, 2021 - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: "Femtech" lifts women's health

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Good afternoon, and welcome to our Axios AM Deep Dive on women's health and the state of their access to critical health care.

  • This edition is led by Tina Reed, author of our daily Vitals newsletter (subscribe here), and reporters from our health care and science teams.
Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 9, 2021 - Health

A generational shift on women's health

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

When it comes to women's health, Americans — and the advertisers that market to them — are getting blunter.

What's happening: Women's health is undergoing a generational cultural change. Younger women talk more openly about their periods and sexual health concerns — and more companies are marketing to them with messages that women only whispered about a few years ago.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

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