Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Virtual health care is all the rage right now, especially among investors and tech companies.

Driving the news: Private equity and venture capital firms invested $10 billion into the sector in 2018, suggesting that the financial world certainly expects that the expanding sector will turn a profit.

The big picture: Digital health tools have the potential to improve care.

  • But telemedicine also could become "a way for the U.S. profit-driven health care system to make big bucks by outsourcing core duties — while providing a paler version of actual medical treatment," Kaiser Health News' Elisabeth Rosenthal writes.

What they're saying: "It's an area where implications for health care spending are wide open," the American Enterprise Institute's Ben Ippolito.

  • If telehealth makes health care more accessible, people may end up using more of it. But if it serves as a substitute for resource-intensive office or hospital visits, it could drive costs down.
  • "What mixture of the two we get will likely depend in part on how the broader payment system evolves," Brookings' Matt Fiedler said.

The bottom line: "One should never underestimate the health care system's ability to make money," the Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry Levitt said.

  • "While making care more accessible, like through telehealth, might be good for patients, it may not save money, especially if the reimbursement rates aren't set appropriately," he added.

Go deeper: Medical AI has a big data problem

Go deeper

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The U.S. government has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Moderna's experimental coronavirus vaccine for $1.5 billion, or $15 per dose.

Why it matters: The Trump administration, through Operation Warp Speed, has now bought initial batches of vaccines from Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca before knowing whether they are safe and effective. The federal government also appears to own some of the patent rights associated with Moderna's vaccine.

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Political world reacts to Biden tapping Kamala Harris as running mate

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What they're saying: "Joe Biden nailed this decision," former President Barack Obama wrote in a lengthy statement. "By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 20,166,415 — Total deaths: 738,266 — Total recoveries: 12,388,925Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 5,124,050 — Total deaths: 164,329 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.