Good morning ... This guy just bought an apartment in New York for $238 million. $238 million! That's so much money! What could it possibly have to justify that price?
I'm serious: Reply to this email and tell me what you think an apartment would have to have, to be worth $238 million. My opening bid is that it's impossible.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Climate change is going to make us sick. We’ll need prescription drugs to get better. And that’s a business opportunity the pharmaceutical industry is starting to prepare for.
Driving the news: A non-profit organization called CDP asks companies to identify “risks and opportunities” they’ll face because of climate change, and grades them on their preparations.
What they’re saying:
Between the lines: Those companies either declined to estimate the financial impact this increased demand would have, or said it would be minor. Several highlighted partnerships to make certain life-saving drugs available at reduced prices, especially in developing countries.
The big picture: They’re right. The various effects of climate change — hotter temperatures, severe weather and dirtier air, among them — are expected to exacerbate a host of health problems. including infectious diseases, asthma and other respiratory diseases. And those are ailments we treat with drugs.
Trump speaks at yesterday's roundtable. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Surprise medical bills are on President Trump's radar, as yesterday's White House roundtable on health care costs made clear.
Where it stands: It would mostly be up to Congress to address the issue of surprise billing, Axios’ Caitlin Owens notes. But there are a few things the administration — specifically, the Department of Labor — could do. A recent Brookings brief outlined the department’s options:
In the year since the health care world flipped out over the Amazon-Berkshire-JPMorgan Chase health care venture, we’ve learned very little about what it will do.
But now, thanks to a new lawsuit, we know at least one more thing: UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division thinks the triumvirate is a competitor and is worried it will use Optum's trade secrets, Axios’ Bob Herman reports.
Driving the news: Optum is suing a former employee who left Optum to work as an executive doing market research at the still-unnamed “ABC” firm. Optum is alleging that the employee printed documents and went to meetings that detailed Optum’s proprietary information, which he could share with ABC.
Between the lines: That is a large part of what Optum does — selling data services, care and pharmacy benefits to employers. But it’s not necessarily revolutionary, and “ABC” is quickly finding out that anyone trying to claim turf in health care will be met with resistance.
Worthy of your time: Read the lawsuit.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to move closer to direct price-setting for certain high-cost drugs, CommonWealth magazine reports, citing Baker's latest budget proposal.
Details: Baker proposed a three-step plan, per CommonWealth.
The big question: How would that middle step — the "public rate-setting process" — work? And what kind of teeth would it really have?
Why it matters: Hey, does anybody remember what became of the last big health care reform from a moderate Republican governor of Massachusetts? Did that end up catching on anywhere else?
Caitlin flags a new report by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association that says spending on planned knee and hip replacements is increasing, driven mainly by an increase in the number of procedures among people under 65.
By the numbers: The number of knee replacements increased by 17% between 2010 and 2017, and hip replacements rose by 33%.
Between the lines: Overall health care spending increases in the U.S. are driven mainly by prices, not utilization, making these procedures a deviation from the trend.
Yes, but: The price of knee and hip replacements vary drastically based on location, as the BSBCA found in a previous report.
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