Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure testifies before the Senate Finance Committee this spring during a nomination hearing to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. On Tuesday, the Senate approved her nomination. Photo: Caroline Brehman-CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Senate yesterday confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to lead Medicare and Medicaid. But, four months in, President Biden still hasn't nominated anyone to lead the FDA.

Why it matters: The FDA has a slew of high-profile decisions coming up, as drug companies look to expand access to their COVID-19 vaccines and a controversial Alzheimer's drug awaits an approval decision.

The big picture: Federal health care agencies spend or regulate hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Getting those agencies staffed, especially in the midst of a pandemic, is extremely important for the Biden administration's domestic agenda.

  • The lack of a Senate-confirmed Medicare and Medicaid administrator had created some "drag" in the system as career staff held off on making certain decisions until political appointees are chosen, several lobbyists have told me.
  • And experts have said the same is likely happening at the FDA.

State of play: In March, a group of former FDA commissioners urged the Biden administration to pick up the pace on picking a new FDA commissioner, the Washington Post reported.

  • Janet Woodcock, a longtime leader of the FDA office that reviews new drugs, has served as the interim commissioner since Biden took office in January. She's in running for the permanent job, but some Democrats fear she's too friendly with pharma.
  • Joshua Sharfstein, who served at the agency during the Obama administration and is seen as more wary of the drug industry, is also under consideration. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the field of candidates had broadened to include at least three other people.
  • A senior Republican Senate aide told Axios' Caitlin Owens that between one and two dozen Republicans would likely vote to confirm Woodcock, but not Sharfstein.

Go deeper

Sep 1, 2021 - Health

The bureaucracy pushes back on Biden's booster plan

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Signs are beginning to publicly emerge that the scientists responsible for bureaucratic decision-making about drug policy are frustrated with how the White House has handled coronavirus vaccine boosters.

Why it matters: The Biden administration has made clear that its priority, when it comes to boosters, is to stay ahead of the virus. But in doing so, it's also getting ahead of the process by which such decisions are usually made.

Sep 1, 2021 - Health

The pandemic hasn't helped or hurt Medicare's solvency

Medicare's hospital trust fund is projected to be depleted by 2026. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Medicare won't be able to fully pay for patients' hospital bills by 2026, a similar forecast from last year, according to the latest report from Medicare's trustees.

The bottom line: The coronavirus pandemic both drastically lowered payroll taxes that fund Medicare and stymied care that Medicare pays for. But the virus "is not expected to have a large effect on the financial status of the trust funds after 2024," the trustees said.

Aug 31, 2021 - Health

Google data: FDA approval nudged more vaccine interest

Expand chart
Data: Google Trends; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine appeared to drive an uptick in intent about getting vaccinated, though it wasn't as impactful as the COVID-19 surge or vaccine mandates, Google Trends data suggests.

Why it matters: The FDA approval is one of the last levers the Biden administration has been hoping would prod the vaccine-hesitant.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!