BANKS PRESSURE HEALTH CARE FIRMS TO RAISE PRICES ON CRITICAL DRUGS, MEDICAL SUPPLIES FOR CORONAVIRUS

IN RECENT WEEKS, investment bankers have pressed health care companies on the front lines of fighting the novel coronavirus, including drug firms developing experimental treatments and medical supply firms, to consider ways that they can profit from the crisis. The media has mostly focused on individuals who have taken advantage of the market for now-scarce medical and hygiene supplies to hoard masks and hand sanitizer and resell them at higher prices. But the largest voices in the health care industry stand to gain from billions of dollars in emergency spending on the pandemic, as do…

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Panic buying of masks puts health care workers’ ‘lives at risk,’ WHO says

A doctor wearing a mask while working at El Alto International Airport in Bolivia. Photo by AIZAR RALDES/AFP via Getty Images A shortage of masks, gloves, and other protective gear “is putting lives at risk from the new coronavirus and other infectious diseases” warned the World Health Organization (WHO) in a statement on Tuesday. A frightened public has been buying up masks and other equipment, leaving limited supplies for health care workers who need the gear the most. Masks can be useful for people who are sick with a respiratory virus to keep…

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Warren Says Swift Change in Health Care Could Make People Uneasy

Elizabeth Warren said Saturday that a big change in the U.S. health-care system would make a lot of people “uneasy,” emphasizing she wouldn’t immediately push a full Medicare for All plan until people have three years to try it. At a town hall in Manchester, Iowa, one voter asked Warren why her Medicare for All plan would take three years to implement rather than putting it in place right away. She said the phase in would give her administration enough time to secure the congressional votes she would need to…

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Americans now spend twice as much on health care as they did in the 1980s

The average American household spent almost $5,000 per person on health care last year. That’s a 101% increase from the roughly $2,500 per person that Americans spent about 34 years ago in 1984, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey by data company Clever. To make accurate comparisons, Clever adjusted all dollar amounts for inflation. It’s perhaps not surprising that health care expenses have risen over the past three decades. But the main driver of the increase is not drug costs or medical services. In…

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Democrats are more moderate on health care than you think

First things first: The theme song of the week is from the television show “Jeopardy.” Poll of the week: A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that 52% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents prefer that Congress focus on improving and protecting the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) rather than passing a “Medicare for All” plan. Only 39% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents want Congress to focus on passing a Medicare for All plan. What’s the point: Much of the focus in this 2020 Democratic primary season has been on health care. That’s not…

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Doctor App Babylon Health Offers Quick Appointments, But Grapples With Follow-Up Care For Mental Health

Babylon Health founder and CEO, Ali ParsaPHOTO BY LEVON BLISS FOR FORBES On a winter day in February 2018, a British woman with a history of depression had one of her first ever video chats with a doctor. At first the call was a revelation. She couldn’t afford private healthcare and was used to waiting weeks to see a doctor through Britain’s free National Health Service (NHS). Now she could see an NHS doctor within hours. Since November 2017 the NHS has paid Babylon Health to replace local doctor visits for…

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