After pushing rising health care costs onto workers for years through higher deductibles and more cost-sharing, big employers are now taking on a more active role trying to control those costs directly, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Details: A whole lot of options are on the table, from direct purchasing agreements with hospitals to onsite clinics to the unusual program in Utah that pays people to travel to Mexico for their drugs.

  • “We’re seeing a really keen interest in moving away from high deductibles and coinsurance,” Forrest Burke, chief executive of national markets at UnitedHealthcare, told the WSJ.

My thought bubble: Some of these tools are really only available to large employers, and don’t do much to change the underlying system in a way that would also provide spillover benefits to small businesses or individuals.

  • At the same time, I still think that if there’s going to be a breaking point where direct government-driven cost control becomes more widely politically palatable, employers will be the ones who drive it.

Go deeper: Corporate health costs don't look like a crisis

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Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

FBI: Russian hacking group stole data after targeting local governments

FBI Headquarters. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.

FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment

A production line of Remdesivir. Photo: Fadel Dawood/picture alliance via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences on Thursday received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has shown modest results against treating COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the first and only fully FDA-approved drug in the U.S. for treating the coronavirus.