Good morning ... We do not deserve to be happy.
The pharmaceutical industry's 2 leading trade groups both set records for lobbying spending in 2018 — a sign of just how much the industry believes is on the line in the political battle over drug prices.
By the numbers:
Between the lines: PhRMA set its previous lobbying record during the debate over the Affordable Care Act, trying to stop a fully Democratic government from taking a bite out of its bottom line.
The average patient with Type 1 diabetes is paying twice as much for insulin, before subtracting rebates and discounts, as they were just a few years ago, according to a report from the Health Care Cost Institute.
By the numbers: The average patient with Type 1 diabetes spent $5,705 insulin in 2016, according to HCCI.
There is a major caveat.
The bottom line: Nothing here is about to change. Two of the three major insulin makers, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, have raised prices on their products for this year. (The third, Eli Lilly, has yet to make a public announcement.)
What they’re saying: Sanofi and Novo Nordisk both issued statements that blamed rebates, high deductibles and other insurance designs as the reasons for higher spending, and they said most of their patients can get insulin for less than $50 per month.
Democrats’ 2020 primary has begun, and that means the battle to define "Medicare for All" isn’t far behind. The Kaiser Family Foundation's latest polling offers a couple of key data points to help inform that debate.
More modest plans are more popular. Every version of expanded public health insurance broke 50% in the Kaiser poll.
People are persuadable. A national health plan started out at 56% favorability.
One more warning sign for advocates aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders' sweeping plan: 55% said they believe Medicare for All would allow them to keep their existing plans, and a 39% plurality said they didn't think it would affect them very much, for better or worse.
What Democrats want: A plurality of Democrats said their top priority is safeguarding the ACA, but "implementing a national Medicare-for-All plan" came in second, tied with reducing drug costs.
G0 deeper: What "Medicare for All" could look like
The number of Americans without health insurance has been creeping higher throughout the Trump administration, and it’s now the highest it’s been since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion took effect in 2014, according to Gallup’s latest survey.
Between the lines: Women, lower-income households and young people saw the biggest coverage losses, according to Gallup.
By the numbers: Gallup’s quarterly health surveys tell a pretty clear story, which it attributes to the Trump administration’s handling of the ACA.
Yes, but: Other estimates show a lot more stability.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Photo: Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
How does our reliance on cars harm our health? Let Boston University economist Austin Frakt count the ways:
On top of removing you from the horrors of traffic, walking and riding a bike offer the benefits of at least light exercise.
Go deeper: Want to live a long life? Spend it in a large, dense city.
Washington is full of advocacy groups with vague-sounding names — Patients for this or that, the American Council on such-and-so, etc. — and it’s usually only moderately difficult to figure out who’s behind them.
But the Washington Post noticed a new — and so far untraceable — entity getting involved in the drug pricing debate: Citizens for American Ideas, which has been arguing that changes to the patent system would make the U.S. like “Russia or Brazil.’’
Who is it?
The bottom line: Any time you take on a powerful industry and conservative ideology at the same time, as the push for lower drug prices does, you’re going to be up against a lot of money and a lot of … creative ways to spend it.