August 10, 2021
Newsletter | Tea Leaves

D.C. News:

  • The Senate is set to pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and begin debate on the $3.5 trillion budget framework today. Senate Democrats released an outline of the $3.5 trillion antipoverty and climate plan yesterday. The antipoverty plan expands Medicare to cover hearing, dental, and vision care; extends the enhanced ACA subsidies contained in the American Rescue Plan; invests in home and community-based services to help seniors, the disabled, and home care workers; creates a new federal health program for Americans who live in states that have not expanded Medicaid; lowers the price of prescription drugs; and calls for promoting health equity, particularly investing in maternal, behavioral, and racial justice health measures. (Articles here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)

Life Sciences:

  • The White House is preparing to send COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca PLC to Mexico in an effort to bolster the country’s response to the pandemic. Vice President Kamala Harris’s office said the United States will deliver more than 4 million vaccines. (Articles here and here)


  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin plans to require that all military service members get a COVID-19 shot by mid-September, though he could move up that timeline if regulators grant full approval to a vaccine. A spokesperson said military leaders are working on plans to implement vaccine mandates for personnel in their branches, and that the Pentagon is drafting plans for service members who are unvaccinated. (Articles here, here, here, here, and here)
  • According to health benefit consultancy Mercer, some employers are beginning to implement a monthly $20-$50 special surcharge to their unvaccinated employees. The charge is similar to a monthly charge that some companies charge workers who smoke. Mercer said that the firm has “received inquiries from at least 20 employers over the past few weeks who are giving consideration to adding health coverage surcharges for the unvaccinated as a way to drive up vaccination rates in their workforce.” (Articles here and here)


  • A new poll found that at least 7 in 10 Americans trust doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to do what’s right for them and their families either most or all of the time. The poll, conducted by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, also revealed that a slim majority of Americans support federal funding for increasing the number of doctors and most Americans, including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans, think nurses and health care aides are underpaid. (Article here)

Public Health/Prevention:

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics said that almost 94,000 COVID-19 cases among children were added in the past week. The vast majority of child cases don’t require hospitalization, but CDC numbers show that number has been steadily increasing since early July. About 200 children with Covid-19 were admitted to U.S. hospitals every day over the past week. (Article here, here, here, and here)