Happy Friday, and thanks for all of your encouragement and feedback this week. Please keep it coming!
People with lower incomes spend more of their money on health care, although wealthy people spend more in dollar amounts, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Why it matters: The cost of health care is growing more prominent as a social and political issue, and it hits low-income people hardest. Democrats differ on how far left they want to go, but Medicare for All is partially about redistributing these costs.
Between the lines: Like most other consumer goods, the price of health care services or employer-based insurance doesn't usually vary based on a person's income, although more government assistance is available to the poor.
Wealthier people spend more dollar-wise on health care; while the bottom 10% of earners spends, on average, $2,119 a year on health care, the top 10% spends an average of $8,720.
Sens. Bill Cassidy and Dick Durbin — a Republican and a Democrat — introduced a new bill yesterday that would tackle evergreening, the process by which branded drug companies extend their monopolies by tacking on additional patents.
What they're saying: "The Cassidy bill is a modest improvement. But it will take much more to move the needle on pharmaceutical competition," Feldman said.
The bottom line: I'm sounding a little like a broken record, but this is even more evidence of how quickly prescription drug politics is changing.
Go deeper: Big Pharma's GOP firewall is weakening
Venture capital firm Venrock, which has money tied up in more than 80 health care companies, has put out its annual survey of health care professionals, and most people are pretty upbeat about where health tech is going this year.
Driving the news: 78% of Venrock’s survey respondents said they thought the number of new health IT companies will “somewhat” or “significantly” increase this year — and a lot of that growth will be in telemedicine and harvesting patient data, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Yes, but: It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
One of the lawyers representing the U.S. government in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act is leaving the Department of Justice, meaning he's off the case too.
Why it matters: This case has clearly seen a lot of turnover, and it's sparked a lot of debate among academics too.
Boston Children’s Hospital is suing a Saudi prince and a doctor for $3.5 million (and counting) in unpaid medical bills for a 2-year-old foreign patient with a rare spinal disease.
Our thought bubble: Bob points out that the lawsuit is quite the oddity on its own, but it also speaks volumes about how U.S. hospitals work.
The bottom line: Ultimately, even a wealthy prince in an oil-rich kingdom can be sent to collections.
Have a great weekend!