Big pharma money and the slow, painful death of the US economy
Friday Pulse Check
Good morning and welcome to the Friday Pulse Check.
In the news this morning:
Ron and I discussed the two-year anniversary of COVID-19 last week on our podcast and we discussed further lockdowns in China despite the fact the rest of the world has moved on and focused on other ways to slow the spread of the virus. Keeping cities such as Shanghai shut down is not insignificant. Shanghai’s population hovers around twenty-five million, more than double that of New York City. Additionally, Shanghai is China’s wealthiest city and home to many global trade and financial offices. The shutdown is part of China’s zero-COVID policy, which it has vowed to maintain.
A bipartisan measure passed the US House of Representatives yesterday aimed at lowering the cost of insulin for millions of Americans. The Affordable Insulin Now Act caps the drug at $35 a month or 25% of an insurance plan’s negotiated price, whichever is lower. The vote passed 232-193, with only twelve Republicans voting for the measure. A similar bill is in the Senate but its chances of passing are slim because of traditional Republican hesitancy to institute price caps on anything.
The two hospital chains announced they were ditching their joint venture Amita Health in October 2021 and are renaming some of their hospitals to reflect that change. Many of these hospitals were in the Chicagoland area of Illinois. St. Louis-based Ascension has announced its facilities will be branded Ascension Illinois and Altamonte Springs, Florida-based AdventHealth has not yet announced a new name but that their physician practices will be called AdventHealth Medical Group.
How healthcare is killing the US economy
It is no secret that healthcare in the United State is expensive; in fact, it takes up a significant portion of the federal budget every year. Ron and I spent the time on our podcast this week discussing some of the factors that make healthcare so expensive and start to tease out what some solutions might be.
Then-candidate Joe Biden ran on expanding the Affordable Care Act to include the public option. Senator Sanders (and many of the other Democratic candidates in 2016, including now Vice President Kamala Harris) ran on Sanders’ Medicare-For-All proposals. Senator Sanders even said in an interview with CBS News that under his proposal, Blue Cross Blue Shield would be reduced to nose jobs.
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Big Pharma and the midterms
The article focuses on South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott, who has received some of the biggest amounts of big pharma money so far. Rachana Pradhan argues that big pharma may be trying to get on his good side as he seeks re-election in the Senate and as he mulls a future run for the White House.
It might be seen as a pretty safe bet. Senator Scott is popular in South Carolina and has become popular nationally after speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2020 and giving a response to President Biden’s address to Congress in 2021.
And this week in Ukraine news, the journal The Lancet, just published a study on the regional and global impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It discusses the impact on the healthcare system there and in neighboring countries.
Additionally, the article points out that economic sanctions on Russia and Belarus will further isolate their economies which will put a severe strain on their healthcare systems. Russia, however, can rely on the fact that Big Pharma isn’t yet pulling out of their county.
Have a good week,