Good morning. People do weird things (h/t Sam Baker's Twitter feed).
Today's word count is 952, or 3 minutes.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The senator and 2020 candidate this weekend released his plan to cancel $81 billion in existing medical debt, reform collections practices and change bankruptcy rules.
Why it matters: The proposal speaks directly to the issues of surprise medical bills and hospitals' lawsuits against patients — issues that have only recently entered the political lexicon.
On the other hand, it's not hard at all to imagine how this will play with those who already think Sanders has made ludicrous financial proposals.
Between the lines: Sanders would have the federal government "negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills in collections that have been reported to credit agencies," per the plan.
What Sanders wants to do, per Axios' Orion Rummler:
What we're watching: Sanders' embrace of "Medicare for All" has transformed the Democratic party, pulling it much further left on health care. It's unclear if his stance on medical debt will play the same way, and how the rest of the 2020 field will respond.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's release of her drug pricing plan last week means that both chambers of Congress are officially working to pass drug pricing legislation, with the White House closely monitoring.
Between the lines: There's a lot of overlap between the two chambers' bills, with the biggest difference being that Pelosi's includes aggressive Medicare price negotiations.
The big picture: If both chambers can pass anything — a relatively big if — it's anyone's guess how that happens or how the two versions are reconciled.
The bottom line: The White House is still the ultimate wild card.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Conservative leaders are circulating data to White House staff that claims adults who vape will turn on President Trump if he follows through with his planned ban on flavored e-cigarettes, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
Between the lines: The data reveals that the number of adult vapers in key battleground states greatly outweighs the margins by which Trump won those states in 2016 — and they argue it could cost him reelection.
Alayna's thought bubble: There are 4 unsubstantiated assumptions about adult vapers in the case being presented to Trump:
Still, the math can't be totally ignored, especially in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where Trump's 2016 win margins were so narrow and the number of adult vapers is relatively high.
1 fun detail: Trump's 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale hit back at a Trump follower who tweeted that banning vaping products is "not on brand with MAGA."
The number of procedures taking place in outpatient surgery centers — where people go under the knife and return home the same day — is expected to rise from 23 million in 2018 to 27 million in 2021, according to estimates from consulting firm Bain & Co.
Why it matters: Surgeries in freestanding centers cost less than those that happen in hospital outpatient departments, which is why many insurers and policymakers are pushing for this shift, Axios' Bob Herman reports.
Between the lines: Medicare has made it clear it will pay for more surgeries, especially orthopedic procedures like joint replacements, outside of the hospital. Industry giants have been placing their bets on these facilities for years.