Today's word count is 839, or a 3-minute read.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The Trump administration is working on a proposal to lower seniors' out-of-pocket costs for insulin, which have nearly doubled over the last decade.
Why it matters: Voters care deeply about prescription drug prices, and if the policy comes to fruition, it could both help seniors afford their insulin and give the administration political points.
Details: The White House, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are jointly working on the policy.
HHS Secretary Alex Azar is recused from the effort because he was previously the president of Eli Lilly, one of three dominant insulin manufacturers.
The big picture: Even as patients are struggling to afford prescription drugs across the board, insulin stands out.
Yes, but: Lowering patients' out-of-pocket spending probably wouldn't lower the actual cost of the drug, meaning that it'd get shifted onto taxpayers.
Go deeper: The outrage over insulin prices
Conventional wisdom holds that big, self-insured companies do a better job controlling health care costs than firms that rely entirely on insurance companies to provide their workers' coverage.
Why it matters: Although a handful of big self-insured companies get a lot of attention for their cost-control efforts, the data tell a different story: Self-insured and fully insured companies are equally bad at controlling health care costs.
By the numbers: The average family premium for fully insured firms last year was a whopping $20,627.
Self-insured firms would seem to have an advantage because they cut out the middleman.
Yes, but: Most large insured firms have implemented similar strategies. And they buy insurance from the same companies that administer self-insured plans.
The fundamentals have not changed for decades.
The bottom line: Even large, self-insured companies with all the advantages still have a poor track record on cost control.
Steven Collis, CEO of drug distributor AmerisourceBergen, made $14.7 million in his company's 2019 fiscal year based on the actual realized gains on his stock, according to new company disclosures.
The big picture: That amount was down from the $18.7 million Collis earned in 2018.
By the numbers: A $1.9 million cash bonus was included within Collis' total. That bonus was based solely on three adjusted financial metrics and did not factor in quality or the opioid litigation.
Despite reassurances from public health officials that Americans don't currently need to wear face masks as a precaution against coronavirus, many drug stores are selling out, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports.
Why it matters: While it's not clear how much protection the masks offer, manufacturers are seeing a spike in demand, and the potential spread of the virus in the U.S. is spooking a lot of people.
Yes, but: So far, HHS says there's no need for Americans to panic. While coronavirus "poses a very serious public health threat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes the immediate risk to the U.S. public is low at this time," a department spokesperson said.