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Photo: Axios

Consumers and employers will drive changes in health care pricing and policy, Florian Otto, co-founder and CEO of Cedar, said on Tuesday at an Axios virtual event on the future of health care payments.

Why it matters: The U.S. spends more on health care than any other nation, but Americans do not enjoy better health outcomes. High health care costs affect how the country responds to major health crises — like the coronavirus — because people cannot afford to pay for testing or treatment, per the Washington Post.

What they're saying: "If consumers at some point literally say, 'OK, we are not doing this anymore and we want a change,' then at some point policy will change." Otto said.

  • "You saw in the last three or four years a lot of stories of patients not being able to pay the bill in the media. This is very, very good because that makes policymakers aware of the problem and also drive, I think, some changes," he continued.
  • "The second big, I think, part of the change will be probably the employers, because employers pay for health care — or at least they're the majority of the burden on the private side — and they, of course, can change a lot. So, I think consumers and employers are the two big drivers."

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Jan 24, 2021 - Health

CDC director: "I can't tell you how much vaccine we have"

CDC director Rochelle Walensky, newly appointed by President Biden, told Fox News on Sunday that the administration does not know the current number of COVID vaccines available for distribution — due to a lack of data gathered by the agency under Trump — making it more difficult for states to accurately plan.

Why it matters: Hospitals in states including Texas, South Carolina, New York, and California have canceled thousands of appointments due to running low on vaccines or nearly depleting their share, the New York Times reports.

Jan 24, 2021 - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.