Good morning … Is this week over yet?
Congress ostensibly moved a little bit closer to wrapping up its end-of-year to-do list yesterday, but has made no progress toward resolving the myriad health care issues on that list.
The bottom line: The rest of this month is going to be a roller coaster.
Enrollment through HealthCare.gov is not super strong, but we're closing in on the end of the sign-up period, which usually brings in a surge of customers. So, what's the best-case scenario for these last few days? Vox's Dylan Scott posed that question to Avalere's Caroline Pearson, who's been a consistent voice of reason on the state of enrollment this year.
The odds: Dylan and Caroline are both very smart people, and this math checks out as a truly best-case scenario. But if the over/under for last-minute enrollment is at 3.7 million, I'll take the under.
Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health made it official yesterday by announcing they'd pursue a merger. Together, the system would be the largest not-for-profit hospital system in the country.
There's a lot to consider with this massive deal, as my colleague Bob Herman points out:
Get smart: The largest hospital systems continue to get bigger and bigger. This year has already produced four hospital system mergers that would completely change regional and national health care markets.
The number of people living with dementia worldwide will likely triple — from roughly 50 million to about 150 million — by 2050, the World Health Organization says. The jump is a byproduct of the aging global population.
Why it matters:
Sam Isaly has stepped down as managing partner of OrbiMed, the $14 billion health care hedge fund and private equity firm he founded in 1998, just days after a STAT report that Isaly had sexually harassed and demeaned female employees.
What they're saying: OrbiMed said in a statement last night that the move is "pursuant to years-long succession planning discussions," my colleague Dan Primack reported last night. And Isaly initially denied the allegations in STAT's report.
Still, his departure comes just days after the STAT report, which resulted in OrbiMed hiring an outside law firm to investigate the allegations from multiple women — including Isaly's former assistant, who says she was regularly subjected to hardcore pornography and quit after Isaly asked her to open a briefcase that contained a vibrator.
A Vitals reader sent along the above photo of a specialized license plate spotted in downtown Washington. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, aka "21 CFR," is the section where the Food and Drug Administration codifies all of its rules for drugs, devices, food, cosmetics and tobacco products.
In 2018, we should all aspire to embrace our federal regulatory passions with such gusto. I'm gonna get "27 C.F.R. § 5.22(b)(1)(i)" tattooed on my neck.
What we're watching: The way this week has gone, who knows? Another onslaught of sexual harassment accusations certainly doesn't seem out of the question. Barring that, CHIP and the tax bill.
See how much fun people can have sending me tips? Join the party: firstname.lastname@example.org.