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.

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Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 30,873,714 — Total deaths: 958,383— Total recoveries: 21,103,559Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,788,343 — Total deaths: 199,421 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.