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K Health CEO Allon Bloch argued at an Axios virtual event Tuesday that the surge in the popularity of telemedicine during the pandemic offers a "massive opportunity" to rethink the U.S. health care system in a way that could cut costs and broaden primary-care access.

Why it matters: Given its heavily regulated and fragmented nature, health care tends to be slow to adopt innovation, as Axios' Bryan Walsh has reported. But the pandemic has shown Americans the advantages of communicating with doctors remotely.

By the numbers: According to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, which draws from 31 billion private health care claim records, telemedicine claim lines increased an astounding 4,347% year-over-year in March.

What they're saying: "I think, to me, it's a basic question: If you look at your pre-COVID life, what do you yearn for? You probably yearn for a coffee place, a restaurant, a music venue," Bloch told Axios' Caitlin Owens.

  • "I doubt people are yearning to, if they're not feeling well, book a doctor's appointment, take days to see the doctor, wait in line, get sneezed on, and then pay a lot of money."
  • "If you can resolve your problem remotely, in a matter of minutes, which I think most of primary care and chronic care can be done that way, then why not?"

Yes, but: Bloch acknowledged that there are obstacles to widespread adoption of telemedicine, including access to the internet.

Go deeper

Joe Biden's big lead on health care issues

Reproduced from a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Health care has fragmented into multiple issues in this campaign cycle, and Joe Biden leads President Trump on almost all of them, according to our KFF polling.

The big picture: Biden’s commanding leads on protecting people with pre-existing conditions and managing the coronavirus outbreak suggest that Trump’s record and rhetoric on those issues, while popular with his base, may have backfired with the electorate generally.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

Biden to nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary

Photo: Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to nominate former Fed Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary, four people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Yellen, 74, will bring instant economic celebrity to Biden’s team and, if confirmed, she will not only be the first female Treasury Secretary but also the first person to have held all three economic power positions in the federal government: the chair of Council of Economic Advisers, the chair of Federal Reserve and the Treasury Secretary.