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AM News Cycle: April 25


Biden's bid for re-election, AHIP takes on Pharma and the digital health's equity problems

Biden announces re-election bid

The announcement was expected. A second Biden administration would mean continued implementation of the healthcare provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, including CMS drug price negotiation and enhanced ACA subsidies. Any talk of Medicare for all is likley to fade into the background. There's no question that Biden campaign believes it can score points by talking about abortion rights. The fourth image in the three-minute campaign video released this morning featured a women holding a sign saying “abortion is healthcare” and at about the 45-second mark, Biden’s voiceover narration mentions what he called MAGA extremists “dictating what healthcare decisions women can make.”

Heavyweight fight: AHIP vs. Pharma

The health insurers' trade association announced yesterday that it was launching a major advertising campaign. “The ads call out how Big Pharma spends millions pointing fingers at others in the health care system to distract Americans from manufacturers’ soaring drug prices – attempting to deflect blame, limit competition, and undermine patients’ bargaining power,” said the news release.

Digital health and the dangers of leaving some behind

In a Health Affairs Forefront blog post this morning, NYU Grossman School of Medicine faculty and researchers discuss the experience of implementing a digital health program for improved blood pressure management at the Park Ridge Family Health Center, a large federally qualified health center in Brooklyn. “As health systems increasingly rely upon technology-facilitated care beyond the pandemic, patients with limited access to technology and low levels of digital literacy face disenfranchisement from their providers,” they warn. But they also have many suggestions for addressing the problem: regular screening for digital literacy, train community health workers for digital outreach, create tipsheets written at 6th grade level and streamline onboarding to eliminate the need for multiple apps.

...and from the inbox

From Stat: Elevance (the health insurer formerly known as Anthem) plowed $3.6 million into lobbying during the first quarter of 2023. And Morphic Therapeutics is reporting positive results for its ulcerative colitis drug.

From Axios Vitals: The morning healthcare newsletter leads with news about efforts to combat Lyme vaccine, which includes two mRNA vaccines in Moderna’s pipeline and the possibility of Lyme disease preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

From KFF Health News: The health news organization (formerly known as Kaiser Health News) posted a piece this morning about possible connections between air pollution and mental health. The reporter points to Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas’s study of brains of 203 Mexico City residents and evidence of neurodegeneration and possible link to exposure to air pollution: “Sussing out the impact of air pollution on the brain has been more difficult than for other organs because of its inaccessibility, so it has not been researched as thoroughly, according to researchers. Whether air pollution may cause or contribute to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s is not settled science. But Calderón-Garcidueñas’ work is at the leading edge of showing that air pollution goes directly into the brain through the air we breathe, and has serious impacts.”

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