On Wednesday, October 7, Axios' Caitlin Owens hosted a conversation on how the pandemic has worsened social and racial inequities in the American health care system, featuring Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.).

Rep. Markwayne Mullin discussed disparities in healthcare for Native Americans, who largely rely on Indian Health Service hospitals for care. Mullin, who is Cherokee, noted that Native Americans have been disproportionately hit with COVID-19.

  • On the need for health data sharing between the federal government and the Indian Health Service: The IHS should have the same access to data as states. Without it, we’re essentially running blind and not able to learn and improve how we treat COVID-19.
  • On steps Congress can take to fix these health disparities:
    • Data sharing
    • Expand telemedicine care, especially for rural communities
    • Expand education
    • Get IHS fully funded
  • Read more: Indian Health Service fights coronavirus with fewer services

Rep. Raul Ruiz unpacked the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on essential workers, like Latino farm workers, who have high occupational risk hazards and few workplace protections.

Axios Co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Humana Chief Medical and Corporate Affairs Officer Dr. William H. Shrank who discussed Humana’s approach to health care, most notably their value-based care outcomes.

  • On the importance of social context when understanding health care outcomes: “We have a long history of partnering deeply in communities and trying to address social context needs, whether it’s social isolation, housing problems, food insecurity...we are focusing on reducing those disparities and promoting equity.”
  • On value-based care outcomes: The approach is to realign the way in which we pay our providers so that we reward them for delivering the outcomes that patients want...for taking care of people upfront and keeping them as healthy as possible.

Thank you Humana for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2020 - Health

Over 1,000 current and ex-CDC officers decry the "politicization" of the agency

President Trump calls on reporters during a news conference with White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 1,000 current and former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officers have signed an open letter, decrying "the ominous politicization" of the agency throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The CDC is typically at the forefront of the U.S. response to public health crises, but the agency has largely been sidelined during the COVID-19 outbreak, with the White House attempting to control messaging, which, at times, contradicts scientific evidence.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
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Biden has huge cash advantage over Trump as Election Day nears

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month, as campaigning enters the final stretch ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.