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Biden rolling out plan for $4 billion global vaccine effort

Joe Biden will use his first big presidential moment on the global stage at Friday’s Group of Seven meeting of world leaders to announce that the U.S. will soon begin releasing $4 billion for an international effort to bolster the purchase and distribution of coronavirus vaccine to poor nations, White House officials said.

Biden will also encourage G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s announcement.

Former President Donald Trump declined to participate in the COVAX initiative because of its ties to WHO, the Geneva-based agency that Trump accused of covering up China’s missteps in handling the virus at the start of the public health crisis. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the WHO, but Biden moved quickly after his inauguration

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IPO candidate Oscar Health may be more tech company than insurer

As Oscar Health prepares for an initial public offering, some analysts argue that the insure tech darling’s reliance on reinsurers makes the New York City-based company a technology startup in the insurance industry, rather than a full-stack health insurer.

Oscar, which did not respond to interview requests, is liable for just 23% of the risk associated with the policies it has sold. The company has passed on the rest of the uncertainty to reinsurance companies, or businesses that basically act as insurance for insurers. While reinsurers are also used by legacy payers, startups like Oscar Health generally rely on these companies to a greater degree as a way to way to break into the expensive industry and offer competitive premiums, according to Michael Yang, a managing partner at OMERS Ventures investment company.

“Insurance is very capital intensive to get going,” Yang said. “Ultimately, you need capital for a rainy day.

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AMA removes founder’s monument over past discriminatory actions

The American Medical Association has removed a public display of its founder and taken his name off of one of its most prestigious annual awards as the organization seeks to reconcile its past discriminatory practices as part of its efforts to address systemic racism as a public health threat.

In an opinion editorial posted to its website on Wednesday, American Medical Association CEO Dr. James Madara called the moving of a bust and display of Dr. Nathan Davis from public view at its Chicago headquarters to its archives a necessary step toward reconciling the AMA’s past actions of discrimination. Women and Black doctors were barred from joining its ranks until the 1960s.

The AMA also took Davis’s name off of its annual award program to recognize elected officials and career government agency professionals for outstanding government service that “promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public

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Hospitals still ration medical N95 masks as stockpiles swell

Mike Bowen’s warehouse outside Fort Worth, Texas, was piled high with cases of medical-grade N95 face masks. His company, Prestige Ameritech, can churn out 1 million masks every four days, but he doesn’t have orders for nearly that many. So he recently got approval from the government to export them.

“I’m drowning in these respirators,” Bowen said.

On the same day 1,000 miles north, Mary Turner, a COVID-19 intensive care nurse at a hospital outside Minneapolis, strapped on the one disposable N-95 respirator allotted for her entire shift.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Turner would have thrown out her mask and grabbed a new one after each patient to prevent the spread of disease. But on this day, she’ll wear that mask from one infected person to the next because N95s — they filter out 95% of infectious particles — have supposedly been in short supply since last March.

Turner’s employer,

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‘Obamacare’ sign-ups reopen as Democrats push for more aid

HealthCare.gov’s market for subsidized health plans reopens Monday for a special three-month sign-up window as the Democratic-led Congress pushes a boost in financial help that could cut premiums by double digits.

This enrollment period during the coronavirus pandemic is an early test of President Joe Biden’s strategy to use the Affordable Care Act as a springboard toward health coverage for all. Advancing on a parallel track, the new COVID-19 relief bill from House Democrats would offer a generous, though temporary, increase in subsidies for people covered by the law known as “Obamacare.”

“It is a hugely important signaling move,” said Katherine Hempstead of the nonpartisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The administration is doing more than having open enrollment here, they’re saying they want to make this coverage more affordable.”

While policy experts like Hempstead are taking note, it’s unclear how uninsured Americans will respond. Former President Barack Obama’s health law

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COVID-19 pushes more healthcare CFOs into employee benefits planning

It takes a village to design employee benefits—or, at least the entire executive team, says OhioHealth Chief Financial Officer Mike Browning.

Every year, OhioHealth’s human resources department surveys its 35,000 employees about their health insurance needs. After reviewing responses, HR staff try to match employee needs with plans available in the market. From there, Browning looks over the proposals, taking a strategic eye of what will keep the Columbus, Ohio-based healthcare system competitive. He crunches the numbers to see how employees’ salaries fit in. Of course, in the end, the CEO needs to weigh in on the benefits offered.

“When you look at a health system, the largest expense is salaries, the second largest is supplies and the third largest is benefits,” Browning said. “The CFO needs to be an integral part in that and make sure that, as we make those investments, they’re made the right way and that

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