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Why it matters: The U.S. faces a range of health care flashpoints — unaffordable drugs, opioids, vaping — as we debate whether to adopt universal care. For now, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, but Republicans want to issue it a final death blow.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 26 mins ago - Health

FDA approves new cholesterol prescription

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a non-statin oral medication to combat high cholesterol, according to a press release from manufacturer Eserion Therapeutics.

Why it matters: Heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S. and globally. The drug, bempedoic acid, is the first of its kind to receive the FDA's stamp of approval in nearly two decades.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Repatriated American citizens have doubled coronavirus cases in U.S.

Face mask discarded outside the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The official number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. just doubled — to 34 — but public health officials are pointing out that these are mostly people who've been repatriated.

Why it matters: As concerns grow about a global pandemic, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to make sure the message gets out: "We are not seeing community spread here in the United States," Nancy Messonnier says.

Go deeperArrow21 hours ago - Health

More than 100 children have died from the flu so far this season

Influenza vaccine. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

105 children have reportedly died in the U.S. from the flu, the highest so far this season, per data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Health officials typically treat a high rate of seniors, a vulnerable population during flu season, but this year, children and young adults have been more susceptible.

Go deeperArrow22 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus outbreak is delaying surgeries in China

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The novel coronavirus has put a halt to pretty much every health-related activity in parts of China, including elective surgeries like hip and knee replacements.

Between the lines: Medical device companies are starting to forecast large sales declines in their Chinese markets because people are staying at home.

Go deeperArrowFeb 21, 2020 - Health

A Silicon Valley startup wants to make "executive physicals" available to more people

Photo: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

A Silicon Valley startup is attempting to make executive physicals — which are frequently offered as part of C-suite compensation — available to a larger audience, STAT reports.

Between the lines: The $3,500 annual membership is cheaper than a $20,000 weekend at the Mayo Clinic, but is still expensive and still subject to the same criticism — mainly that it's unnecessary.

Go deeperArrowFeb 21, 2020 - Health

Many unpaid caregivers are in poor health

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

More than 20% of people taking care of a friend or relative say their own health is only fair or poor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Unpaid caregiving can be physically, financially and emotionally draining, and the need is only increasing as Baby Boomers age. But caregivers who are themselves in poor health can only do so much, illustrating the limits of relying on unpaid, volunteer labor.

Go deeper: America's caregiver crisis

Surprise billing may be about to get worse

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The problem of surprise medical billing — which Congress failed to solve last year — is about to get worse, thanks to a feud between an insurance giant and a company that employs thousands of doctors.

The big picture Parents who have babies in intensive care, women with high-risk pregnancies and people who need anesthesia could receive unexpected bills in the mail as a result of the fight between Mednax, the physician-staffing firm, and UnitedHealth Group.

Go deeperArrowFeb 21, 2020 - Health
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