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A technician works in a cardiac cath lab. Photo: Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A new draft health care bill, released today in the Senate, would aim to build a better database of real-world records about health care costs.

Details: The federal government would pay a nonprofit $95 million over 6 years to build a database of medical claims, showing how much employers and insurers actually paid for care. Employers' claims data has long been considered a black box.

The nonprofit would have to produce reports, abide by strict protocols to keep the data secure and private, and make the data available to any company, researcher or entity who requests access, according to the draft bill text.

Driving the news: Employers have told legislators they want more access to this kind of data to make better purchasing decisions and see where they are overspending, and these kinds of claims databases have support across the political spectrum.

  • UnitedHealthcare's decision to stop providing data to the Health Care Cost Institute earlier this year served as an extra impetus to include this provision, according to a Senate staffer.

What we're watching: Hospitals and other providers likely won't be fans of this idea. They've benefited from keeping true prices hidden.

Go deeper

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.