Situational awareness: There have now been more than 700 cases of measles reported in 22 states this year, the largest outbreak since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. Five hundred of these cases were in people who have not been vaccinated.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
The Medicare for All debate is burning red-hot this week, while more incremental health care reforms inch forward out of the spotlight.
Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said in his first official campaign speech yesterday that he supports an optional Medicare buy-in, putting him at odds with the other Democratic front-runner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, on a key 2020 issue.
In the states, some of Democrats' coverage expansion plans have stalled, but other states have managed to move forward. Colorado passed public option legislation last week, and Washington followed suit over the weekend, KEPR reports.
The bottom line: Health care was a winning issue for Democrats in 2018 and the party is still trying to figure out what would be a winning health care message in 2020 — playing it safe or swinging for the Medicare for All fences.
The 3 big health insurers that control a majority of Medicare's prescription drug coverage — CVS Health, Humana and UnitedHealth Group — are arguably the most at risk from the Trump administration's plan to eliminate rebates within Medicare, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
The big picture: These companies rely heavily on rebates to offset the costs of covering seniors' prescriptions. Losing those rebates would shift billions of dollars away from them, and they could lose customers if they raise premiums to make up the difference.
By the numbers: Axios analyzed the Medicare businesses within the companies' 2018 filings with state insurance commissioners.
The bottom line: If those rebates go away, sooner or later the big 3 would have to raise monthly premiums to avoid losses.
The overuse of antibiotics and anti-fungal medications is fueling a rise in drug-resistant infections, the UN warned yesterday. If left unchecked, these infections could kill 10 million people annually by 2050.
One big problem is that drug companies do not have a financial incentive to develop new antimicrobial medicines, NYT reports.
The report was intended to convey a sense of urgency and spark action to mitigate the problem.
A man smokes an e-cigarette. Photo: Eva Hambach/AFP/Getty Images
Some health officials and anti-tobacco groups worry that kids don't know that Juul is a type of e-cigarette, meaning the problem of youth vaping may be underreported, Bloomberg reports.
Why it matters: Teen vaping is already being treated as an epidemic, and both lawmakers and public health officials are considering drastic measures to crack down on it.
Photo: Kim Hart/Axios
Prosthetic limbs are getting more life-like and advanced — but for some children, the superhero route is the better way to go, Axios' Kim Hart reports from Orlando.
Why it matters: The bionic arms is one new application for 3D printing in the health field.
For years, the assumption has been that kids with limb differences wanted to fit in with typical prosthetics.
The big picture: The organization was highlighted on the "Rise of the Rest" bus tour led by venture capitalist Steve Case, who aims to showcase innovation and startups in cities that are typically overlooked by the investment community.
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