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Matthew’s health care tidbits: The Stupidity Vaccine

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt

For my health care tidbits this week, I think we need a new vaccine. We need one that prevents stupidity.

Look I get that some people don’t think the flu vaccine is effective and don’t think the effects are too bad, so they don’t get one every year. Many people don’t get a vaccine for shingles. But as someone who had shingles long before the recommended age for the vaccine, let me tell you, you’ll wish you had the vaccine should you get it. And even sensible liberal Maggie Mahar a long while back was pretty suspicious of Merck’s Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer–although since then it’s been replaced both by a more effective updated version and by Cervarix and the long term results are really good.

But since COVID-19 appeared the cultural and ideological identification among most Republicans has been that only wussy liberals take the COVID vaccine. This is stupid and indefensible. Even Donald Trump thinks so! But when he told his cult members that, they booed him! And so the US is stuck on not enough people vaccinated to repel variants or stop ICUs filling up. There are now hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths among the unvaccinated with no end in sight.

But this isn’t stupid enough. Now we are seeing senior political leaders attacking vaccines for diseases we’ve had under control for ages. We’ve already seen outbreaks of measles in recent years, including one at Disneyland. Last month 17 Georgia state senators proposed banning school mandates for all vaccines including MMR, chickenpox, DtAP, Hep B, Polio and more. It’s amazing that these people don’t believe in science, yet they are probably happy to use a smartphone or get in an airplane.

Sadly there appears to be no vaccine for stupidity on the horizon

#HealthTechDeals Episode 13: ModMed, Nayya, Sanofi, Dario Health, Ro, Dadi, and Daybreak Health

Here’s the big question of the day: VIVE or HIMSS or both? Jess and I offer our thoughts on both conferences and which ones we’re going to. Some deals in the past few days: ModMed buys Klara for $200 million; Nayaa raises $55 million; Sanofi and Dario Health have a $30 million deal; Ro acquires Dadi, an in-home sperm testing company; Daybreak Health raises $10 millionMatthew Holt

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica DaMassa:

All right, Matthew Holt, the big question of the day: ViVE or HIMSS or both? Ugh.

Matthew Holt:

Or neither?

Jessica DaMassa:

Hey, that’s the way to do it. It’s the March 3rd episode of Health Tech Deals.

Matthew Holt:

So, Jessica, I thought the big question was State of the Union versus invading Ukraine versus .. No, no, it’s all about ViVE versus HIMSS?

Jessica DaMassa:

ViVE versus HIMSS.

Continue reading…

THCB Gang Episode 84, Thursday March 3rd, 1pm PT 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang at 1pm PT 4pm ET Thursday for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond will be:  fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson); THCB regular writer and ponderer of odd juxtapositions Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

The video will be below. If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved from Friday as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

#HealthTechDeals Episode 12: Omada Health, Somatus, Qventus, Story Health, and Medibuddy

In this episode of Health Tech Deals, Jess is back! Where was she? Out in the wilds in Arizona, hiking in mountains. A big shoutout to Ian Morrison for filling in. Some recent deals: Omada Health raises $129 million; Somatus raises $325 million; Qventus raises $50 million; Story Health raises $22.6 million; and Medibuddy raises $125 million.

TRANSCRIPT

Matthew Holt:

Hang on. You’re not Ian Morrison.

Jessica DaMassa:

I’m not.

Jessica DaMassa:

He let me come back.

Matthew Holt:

Hang on, look. And we’re together.

Jessica DaMassa:

We’re together. I went from being completely away and replaced, to being right next to you.

Continue reading…

#HealthTechDeals Episode 11: MindMaze, Memora Health, Ro, PriorAuthNow, and Equip

On this episode of Health Tech Deals, Ian Morrison is pinch-hitting for Jessica DaMassa! Ian and I worked together 25+ years ago, and he’s been sitting in Silicon Valley looking at the American health care system for a long long time. Some deals – MindMaze raises $105M; Memora Health raises $40M; Ro raises $150M; PriorAuthNow raises $25M; Equip raises $58M. Ian also shares his opinions on the American health system and the digital health space–Matthew Holt

TRANSCRIPT

Ian Morrison:

Hi there, I’m Jess DaMassa. Actually, no, Jess DaMassa. Jess DaMassa is a friend of mine and I am no Jess DaMassa. I am Ian Morrison. I am pinch hitting for Jess DaMassa, how could I possibly pinch hit? Matthew told me I had to go and put my kilt on and spruce myself up a bit. But anyway, it’s an honor, a deep honor to be here for the February 18th episode of Health Teach Deals.

Matthew Holt:

So Ian, it’s a Dan Quayle line. No, it’s not the Dan Quayle, it’s the Lloyd Bentsen line about Dan Quayle.

Ian Morrison:

Exactly.

Continue reading…

THCB Gang Episode 83, Thursday Feb 17th, 1pm PT 4pm ET

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang at 1pm PT 4pm ET Thursday for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond will be: futurist Ian Morrison (@seccurve); Queen of all employer benefits Jennifer Benz (@Jenbenz);  fierce patient activist Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey); and & patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson)

The video will be below. If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved from Friday as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

Quickbites: Equip; SameSky, Jenny Schneider (GC) & Calibrate

I’ve decided to try a new format for some interviews with digital health leaders. The other week I was at the Digital Health Innovation Summit in San Diego. I did a fair amount of tweeting from the conference but thought I’d also grab a few of the participants for some rapid fire interviews. They’re only 5 mins each but hopefully this “Quickbite” format will catch you up on some interesting players (even as they got buffeted a bit by the wind and the marine air corp!)–Matthew Holt

The Interviewees are. Kristina Saffran, CEO Equip; Abner Mason, CEO SameSky Health; Jennifer Schneider, ex-Livongo and now EIR at General Catalyst; & Isabelle Kenyon, CEO Calibrate: Their videos are below in order

Kristina Saffran, Equip
Abner Mason, SameSky Health
Jennifer Schneider, ex-Livongo, General Catalyst
Isabelle Kenyon, Calibrate

THCB Gang Episode 82, Thursday Feb 10th

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang for an hour of conversation on the happenings in health care and beyond were writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard), delivery & tech expert Vince Kuraitis (@VinceKuraitis); and policy consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1).

Rosemarie very recently had some personal experiences with end of life care. We talked a lot about hospice and palliative care (and dementia) and, as Rosemarie says, about how little people seem to know about these incredibly important topics.

You can see the video below. If you’d rather listen than watch, the audio is preserved as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

THCB Gang Episode 81, Thursday Feb 3

Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on #THCBGang at 1pm PT 4pm ET Thursday for an hour of topical and sometime combative conversation on what’s happening in health care and beyond will be: Suntra Modern Recovery CEO JL Neptune (@JeanLucNeptune);  the double trouble of vaunted futurists Ian Morrison (@seccurve) & Jeff Goldsmith, WTF Health host & Health IT girl Jessica DaMassa (@jessdamassa). Today’s special guest returning to #THCBGang is the “I make unicorns” King Bill Taranto from Merck GHIF (@BillTaranto).

You can surmise that there will be some discussion around #DigitalHealth valuations!

The video will be below. If you’d rather listen to the episode, the audio is preserved from Friday as a weekly podcast available on our iTunes & Spotify channels

Matthew’s health care tidbits: #What is insurance again?

Each week I’ve been adding a brief tidbits section to the THCB Reader, our weekly newsletter that summarizes the best of THCB that week (Sign up here!). Then I had the brainwave to add them to the blog. They’re short and usually not too sweet! –Matthew Holt

For my health care tidbits this week, I was reminded on Twitter that many Americans really don’t understand health insurance. A spine surgeon no less in this thread (no jokes about arrogance please) was telling me that he was paying ~$8,000 a year ($4,000 in insurance and $4,000 in deductible) before he got to “use” his insurance–which, as his medical costs were low, he never did. Others were complaining that the cost of employee premiums were over $20K. They all said they should keep the money and (presumably) pay cash when they do use the system. It’s true that most people don’t use their insurance. That’s the whole point. When you buy house insurance, you don’t expect your house to burn down. You are paying into a pool for the people whose house does burn down.

In the US we are on average spending $12k per person on health care each year. But spending on most people is way under that and for a few it’s way, way over. If you take the rough rule that 50% of the spending is on 10% of the people then 35 million people account for $2 trillion in spending–that’s ballpark $60,000 each. They are the ones with cancer, heart disease, complex trauma, etc, etc. The rest of us are “paying” our $4,000, $8,000 whatever, into the pool to cover that $60,000.

There are only two ways to lower that cost for the healthy who aren’t “using” their insurance. One is to exclude unhealthy people from that insurance pool, which makes the costs for everyone else much less. We did that for years with medical underwriting and it was nuts because it screws over the unhealthy. Fixing the pre-existing condition exclusions was the only bit of Obamacare everyone agrees on–even Trump. But now we are ten plus years into this new reality, some people have forgotten how bad it was before.

The other way is to reduce the costs in the system and lower that $4 trillion overall. How to do that is a much longer question. But it isn’t much connected to the concept of insurance.

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