THCB Reader -- June 19, 2021






THCB Reader

June 19 · Issue #119 · View online

Everything you always wanted to know about the health care system. But were afraid to ask.

This week on THCB Reader, Hans Duvefelt reflects on how telemedicine and COVID have impacted the way we utilize physical exams, Ceci Connolly advocates for major federal action to reduce drug prices, and Kim Bellard breaks down “digital twins” and what this could mean for health care.  
Now for some interviews, Jess DaMassa got the scoop on Jonathan Bush’s new company, Zus - don’t miss their interview below on WTF Health. We also have two episodes of Health in 2 Point 00, where we cover deals including Datavant acquiring Ciox, 23andMe going public, and many more.
Meanwhile, on Thursday’s episode of THCB Gang, I was joined by regulars: futurist Jeff Goldsmith; policy expert consultant/author Rosemarie Day (@Rosemarie_Day1); Consumer advocate & CTO of Carium Health, Lygeia Ricciardi (@Lygeia); and–after way too long an absence–economist & consumer expert Jane Sarasohn-Kahn (@healthythinker). Click here to see it.
And of course to listen any time you can subscribe to #THCBGang and #Healthin2Point00 podcasts with an easy click on Apple or Spotify.

And another note from my other life, WTF Health superstar Jess DaMassa & I are thrilled to announce a new digital health conference Policies, Techies & VCs: What’s Next For Health Care.
Confirmed speakers so far include Glen Tullman–CEO, Transcarent; Jonathan Bush–Executive Chairman, Firefly Health; Connie Chen–CMO, Lyra Health; Jeffrey Dachis–CEO, One Drop; Bill Tarranto–President, Merck GHIF; Kyle Armbrester–CEO, Signify Health and many more
Please visit our website What’s Next For Health Care to see about registration, speaking and sponsorship opportunities and hold the dates Sept 7-10
In this week’s health care tidbits, it’s time to discuss the ACA. This week the Supreme Court knocked down the Texas fold-em case. 11 years after its passage, which you may recall was by the skin of its teeth, the ACA is safe as the law of the land. It’ll probably stay that way for a long while, assuming the next times the Republicans win the House, Senate & White House they don’t bother trying to overturn it. But despite that, it hasn’t achieved everything it was supposed to have done.
It’s not guaranteed that middle income people can easily afford health insurance. Yes it’s better with the recent subsidies but they are temporary and aren’t a long-term solution, Meanwhile 12 states including the biggies of Texas and Florida are still a long way from extending Medicaid to the poor–note that 30% of Californians are now on Medicaid, while in Texas that number is below 15% (and no it’s not because Texans are all richer!). And, despite the ACA, we are still nowhere near universal insurance–roughly 10% of Americans are still uninsured.
Finally, the “Affordable” part of the ACA has been a bit of a joke. Yes, there were some structures put in place to restrain costs, but in reality, there’s been very little impact and health care continues to be the tapeworm in America’s economic gut.
This is all to say, the big health care debate is nowhere close to done in America.
Follow me on Twitter @boltyboy and THCB at @thcbstaff for more similar insights/nonsense (and even the occasional sensible idea)! Enjoy! – Matthew Holt
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June 18, Hans Duvefelt
The physical exam has in many instances become a corrupted, fraudulent, one-click travesty of the art and professionalism we swore an oath to hold high when we graduated from medical school, according to Hans. Has telemedicine helped us parse through what is actually clinically necessary, instead of spending time on formalities and routine fluff? 
June 17, Ceci Connolly
For years, health care players have skirted around concrete actions to truly impact drug prices. Efforts to cut costs for consumers have translated to higher costs for health plans, resulting in a cost shift instead of a cost reduction. It’s time for our elected leaders to step in where the market has failed and exert some control over the runaway cost of prescription drugs. 
June 16, Kim Bellard
Digital twins could have profound implications for your health and for healthcare generally. A digital twin, in case you are not familiar with the concept, is a virtual representation of a physical object. It is created from data about that physical object and is fed ongoing data (e.g., via IoT) about it to keep the model accurate.
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at
One Drop is reimagining chronic condition care. Learn more at
Jonathan Bush Launches Zus with $35M & “Build-Your-Own EMR" Proposition for Health Tech Startups
#Healthin2Point00, Episode 216 | Datavant acquires Ciox, plus deals for AllyAlign, Cerebral & more
#Healthin2Point00, Episode 217 | 23andMe goes public, & funding for Zus, Pill Club, and Brightline
Hope you enjoyed the newsletter. As ever let me know if you have any comments or want to sponsor/advertise–this newsletter doesn’t write itself but about 17,000 people get it and 80-100K visit the blog every month!
Matthew Holt
Matthew Holt
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