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Data: CVS Health; Table: Axios Visuals

The gene therapy pipeline contains several drugs that are likely to cost the health care system billions of dollars in the near future, according to an a new CVS white paper.

The big picture: Drugmakers are already having to come up with creative ways to get paid for high-cost drugs, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, and that's before these new gene therapies hit the market.

Why it matters: These therapies will provide medical miracles to patients who have long gone without cures for debilitating diseases. Some may even save money in the long run, compared with the cost of lifelong treatment.

  • But our health care system isn't built to absorb these kinds of upfront costs.
  • The impact will be especially potent for small employers, which could be bankrupted by one sick employee who receives one of these therapies.

What's next: CVS is developing an additional insurance product that it says will help small employers guard against this, among other solutions it outlined in the white paper.

The bottom line: Policymakers are stuck on how to deal with existing prescription drug prices, but the private market is beginning to at least grapple with how it will handle the cost of future drugs.

Go deeper: Gene therapies' accessibility problem

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Trump to sign 4 executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Saturday he will sign four executive orders to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
3 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.