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Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another working week. We hope the weekend respite was somehow relaxing and refreshing, despite the ongoing heat. Now, though, that oh-so-predictable routine of online meetings and deadlines has returned. You knew this would happen, yes? After all, the world — such as it is — keeps spinning. So why not give it a nudge in a better direction with a cup or three of stimulation? Our choice today is, again, vanilla macadamia nut. Feel free to join us. Or grab a bottle of water if you prefer. Meanwhile, here is the latest menu of tidbits to help you get started. Hope you have a smashing day, and do keep in touch. …

After two decades, Democrats are finally on track to break the firewall between the pharmaceutical industry and the Medicare program, STAT tells us. Soon, the U.S. government will be able to use the full brunt of its leverage to negotiate discounts from drugmakers, like the governments in many other high-income countries. The reform is a stunning defeat for the pharmaceutical industry, which has invested a staggering amount of money to get its way in Washington, and which launched a seven-figure campaign last month to try to stop this effort. But implementing the new negotiating power will be a contentious experiment.


Democrats had high hopes to lower insulin costs for patients with insurance, but they were downsized on Sunday, and now only Medicare patients will see relief at the pharmacy counter, STAT explains. In November, the party had grand ambitions of capping insulin costs at $35 per month for all patients with insurance. But when they tried to insert the policy into the sweeping climate, tax, and health care package, it conflicted with Senate rules. Now, the plan only caps out-of-pocket costs for Medicare patients who use insulin, around a quarter of whom pay more than $35 per month right now.

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