Issue 49: Voters worry about US healthcare, Amazon and Google making big moves in healthcare, startup 98point6, and more

Health Care was key issue in mid term election

Image Credit: NBC News

41% of voters said health care was their top focus in the election, then immigration and the economy according to an NBC News exit poll. Whether Democrats got their blue tsunami or baby wave, the public tuned their ears into messages that might keep their health care viable as they age. Maybe people finally care about their aging health. As Dems took control of the House, shares of health insurance companies' stocks went up by more than 4%, perhaps a sign that the Medicaid expansion in some states showed hope for expansion across the country. More money for your children to pay for  your pre-existing conditions. The irony is that with higher, increasing health care spending, Americans are not getting healthier.

Amazon's own home health products

Image Credit: CNN

An exclusive brand called Choice created by Amazon for its own line of home health products is en route to increase competition. Made by Arcadia Group, these products will add to the list of items Amazon has such as their Amazon Basics products. Their strength is in their convenience,  competitive pricing, and credibility. You can now buy your glucose monitors and blood pressure cuffs. Amazon is one step closer to your bio data. Get ready sync your Choice devices to ECHO and trend your data and succumb. Just don't be surprised when you start seeing advertisements recommending devices curated for your health condition.

FDA to crack down on teen vaping, again

FDA is flexing on the electronic cigarette industry. E-cigarettes or vaping has taken the public by storm, significantly among the teens; FDA calls it in ''epidemic'' levels. By banning menthol cigarettes, banning online sales, imposing aging verification, FDA has been prompted to curb teens from vaping. Popular brands like Juul, Vuse, MarkTen, Blu, and Logic are the companies that FDA came down on. As we reported previously, there has been more than 77% increase in high school students vaping, and the health effects of vaping has not been benign. Industry is often faster than regulation and trends among teenagers are even faster.  Teens will now have to procure their vape from vape shops and not the Seven Eleven in the corner. 

Remember when researchers at Northwestern University used the concept of origami to create a scaffold for generating new organs? Well looks like origami is back at it again with more life-saving applications! Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in China have collaborated to develop these teensy little self-assembling nanostructures used in the treatment of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), which causes 1.7 million deaths a year. The nanostructures have triangular, tubular, and rectangular shapes and are only billionths of a meter in diameter. They’re made using DNA origami, in which DNA’s natural base-pairing properties are implemented to create these very specific DNA Origami Nanostructures (DONs). Once introduced to damaged kidney cells, the DONs scavenge reactive oxygen species to shield cells from oxidative stress-induced damage. They were able to clear inflammation within 2 hours of incubation with kidney cells, and even had a stronger therapeutic effect (with less toxic effects) than drugs that are currently used to treat AKI. Pretty neat stuff!

Big Money Flows into Health-Tech

Image from Health Velocity Capital

A new venture firm called Health Velocity Capital has just sprung up with a new $185 million flagship fund to invest EXCLUSIVELY in health tech. The firm's investment thesis is to  invest in “innovative healthcare software and services businesses that contribute to a more affordable, sustainable, [and] consumer-friendly US healthcare system.” The firm has investors at major insurance companies that together insure more than 140 million Americans.

98point6 disrupts Primary  Care

Image from 98point6 website

Healthcare in the US is a fu*king disaster and we need innovative new business models to help lower costs and to provide better care. Obviously! But who's doing it you ask. A startup called 98point6 is setting out to disrupt the fu*k out of healthcare with a new app that's patients text a primary doctor for only $20 a YEAR! Sounds outrageously cheap, but the company plans to charge $120 per patient per year after the first year which is still really cheap! The company plans to work with corporations to sign their employees up for the service. 98point6 recently raised a $50 million round from Goldman Sachs. The Seattle based startup expects to have 100,000 patients signed up by the end of the year. 

Google Gets a Health Care CEO

Dr. David Feinberg. Image Credit: BI

The Big G is at it again. Swooping up talent left and right. Google pushes further into the healthcare terrain by recruiting Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg. Dr. Feinberg will be responsible for overseeing all of Google's various healthcare initiatives.

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