Good morning. We're wishing Sen. Lamar Alexander a speedy recovery following his surgery yesterday. The good news is that all of his doctors were in-network and he will have no surprise medical bills, a source familiar said.
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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Russian efforts to sow discord ahead of the 2020 elections appear focused on fear-mongering around health care issues, my colleague Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: Misinformation online can have real-world health and safety repercussions.
Driving the news: Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that RT, the Russia-backed television network based in the U.S., has been peddling unverified stories claiming that 5G wireless technology can be linked to cancer, autism, Alzheimer's and other health problems.
Be smart: The most effective misinformation often plays into preconceived notions or fears that already exist in society, especially around health, safety and well-being.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Facing increasingly overworked doctors and labyrinthine insurance systems, hospitals are searching for a lifeline in AI systems that promise to ease hard diagnoses and treatment decisions, Axios' Kaveh Waddell reports.
Reality check: The data underpinning the very first systems is often spotty, volatile and completely lacking in critical context, leading to a poor early record in the field.
The big picture: Basic clinical decision support (CDS) systems have been around for decades, but a skepticism of technology leads many doctors to ignore or override them.
The grand vision: Researchers hope AI programs can point doctors toward the best medications, lab tests or treatment plans based on minute patterns discovered in huge numbers of patients' past experiences.
Yes, but: Record keeping is so bad that doctors laugh when you ask about it.
The bottom line: It's the oldest problem in data science: garbage in, garbage out.
What's next: The FDA, which doesn't review most CDS systems, is considering policy changes that could head off some data issues. Scientists are pushing the agency to impose strict benchmarks and audits to prevent mistakes.
A new analysis finds that relatively minor changes to Medicare's payment policies could help jump-start the fledgling market for biosimilars, Axios' Sam Baker reports.
The market for biosimilars is weak, and that means the drugs' expected savings aren't materializing. But Medicare could help kick things up a notch, according to Avalere estimates commissioned by a coalition of biosimilars manufacturers.
By the numbers: According to Avalere's calculations, biosimilars could reach somewhere between 26% and 46% market share if Medicare picked up the tab for seniors' out-of-pocket costs for the drugs.
Doctors' financial incentives matter just as much as patients', since most biologics and biosimilars are administered at a doctor's office.
CVS Health, Express Scripts (now owned by Cigna) and OptumRx (owned by UnitedHealth Group) continue to control a vast majority of the drug insurance market, according to new estimates from Adam Fein of the Drug Channels Institute.
The big picture: Employers usually don't switch drug benefits companies because they don't want to enrage their workers with the changes, which has given the big 3 players longstanding power in the market.
As the Trump administration prepares an executive order that would increase transparency in the health care sector, intense industry opposition may keep one of the most controversial measures under consideration from being included, the Washington Post reports.