Health care costs

The big picture

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped drug price increases

61 of the drugs with price hikes were being used to treat coronavirus.

Jun 29, 2020 - Health
The coronavirus is slowing health care spending

Delayed care is beating COVID-19 cases right now.

May 21, 2020 - Health
Watch: As Medicare for All debate rages on, costs keep going up

Part 5 of our What Matters 2020 series.

Mar 6, 2020 - Health
The health care debate we ought to be having

Health care is eating up more and more of Americans’ paychecks every year.

Dec 22, 2019 - Politics & Policy
Deep Dive: The drug pricing maze

It can be enormously frustrating for patients — and profitable for everyone else.

Nov 17, 2018 - Health

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United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby believes that people will feel safe traveling again by this time next year, depending on the pace of vaccinations and the government's ongoing response to the pandemic, he said at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Feb 18, 2021 - Health

Study indicates regulation the best way to lower hospital spending

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Government regulations of the hospitals' rates is a much more effective way to reduce costs than relying on competition to do the job, according to a new report by the RAND Corp.

Why it matters: America's health care system is the most expensive in the world, and hospitals account for the largest portion of those costs.

Feb 17, 2021 - Health

Democrats' very pricey, very small health care coverage expansion

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Congressional Budget Office doesn't expect much from House Democrats' plan to temporarily expand health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

The big picture: According to CBO's estimates, Democrats' proposals would cover fewer than 2 million uninsured Americans — at a cumulative cost of over $50 billion.

Feb 9, 2021 - Health

Study: More evidence health care cost-sharing doesn't work

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A growing body of research keeps undermining a key tenet of health economics — the belief that requiring patients to pay more out of their own pockets will make them smarter consumers, forcing the health care system to deliver value.

Driving the news: Even a seemingly modest increase in out-of-pocket costs will cause many patients to stop taking drugs they need, according to a new working paper from Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra.

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

Drug prices in the U.S. are much higher than in other countries

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are more than 256% higher than other 32 other countries, with the gap driven by brand-name drugs, a new report by nonpartisan RAND Corporation shows.

The big picture: Drug spending in the U.S. jumped by 76% between 2000 and 2017, and the costs are expected to only increase over the next decade, per the report.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Jan 14, 2021 - Health

Drug companies keep raising prices

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

More than 100 pharmaceutical companies raised prices on over 600 drugs at the beginning of the new year, according to a new report from the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs.

The big picture: Millions of people have lost their health insurance because of the pandemic, and uninsured patients must often pay the full sticker price for prescription drugs.

Exclusive: U.K.-based supplement startup raises $7.8 million

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.K.-based health tech company Bioniq will announce on Wednesday a $7.8 million Series A investment led by venture capital firm OKS Group for a U.S. and Middle East expansion.

The big picture: Bioniq, a supplement subscriptions and at-home testing services company, is among the many health-tech companies that have seen a boom in demand during the pandemic.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Jan 6, 2021 - Health

New York hospitals continue to sue patients over unpaid medical bills

New York's largest health system has continued to sue patients over unpaid medical bills amid the pandemic, even though most other hospitals in the state have suspended their claims, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Northwell Health, a nonprofit hospital system that is run by one of Cuomo's closest allies, sued more than 2,500 patients last year for an average of $1,700 in unpaid bills.

Dec 17, 2020 - Health

The U.S. spent $3.8 trillion on health care last year

Data: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. spent $3.8 trillion on health care last year, accounting for about 18% of the entire American economy, according to new federal data.

Why it matters: The U.S. has by far the most expensive health care system in the world, and every year it eats up a little more — from the federal government, states, employers and individuals.

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