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.
Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.
Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.
The CDC concluded Wednesday there is a "likely association" between heart inflammation and COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, especially in adolescents and young adults, but still see a clear benefit for the group to get the shot.
The big picture: The findings presented by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices coincide with similar data — that men under 30 make up a larger proportion of cases especially after the second shot, and the condition is rare and treatable.
Express Scripts is suing the U.S. government, according to a lawsuit filed this week. The pharmacy benefit manager, owned by health insurer Cigna, is demanding $43 million in tax refunds from 2010 and 2011, alleging the IRS wrongfully denied the company's use of a now-repealed income tax deduction.
The bottom line: Cigna, one of the largest medical and pharmacy benefit administrators in the country, is suing for an amount that equates to 0.5% of its net profit in 2020 — a year in which the company boosted income as people delayed care due to the pandemic.
The head of the health insurance industry's main lobbying group doesn't think the $56,000 annual price tag for Biogen's unproven Alzheimer's treatment, Aduhelm, is justified, but the group won't call on insurance companies to deny coverage of it.
The big picture: Instead, insurers are relying heavily on Medicare and an independent drug pricing group for their coverage decisions.
The coronavirus pandemic has essentially ended in some states, while others are still experiencing outbreaks.
Why it matters: The wide variation in states' vaccination rates means that stark disparities in case rates could be America's norm for awhile.
New Zealand's capital Wellington had its COVID-19 alert level raised on Wednesday after an Australian contracted a highly infectious strain in Sydney before traveling to NZ and testing positive upon his return.
Why it matters: This is the first positive case related to the Australia-New Zealand quarantine-free "travel bubble" since it opened in April. NZ last confirmed a COVID infection in the community on Feb. 28.