I was unexpectedly sick this week, and I didn’t have time to write a full post. So here’s a short newsletter, Axios-style.
First of all, let me know—what topics should I be writing about? Reply to this email to give me your thoughts!
Second, here are my three favorite articles from this week:
“The Hunt for the Riskiest, Most Lucrative Patients,” John Tozzi, Bloomberg Businessweek
I loved this article because it was timely (my original topic for this week was going to be Medicare Advantage) and because of its comprehensiveness. The Medicare Advantage industry is opaque (probably on purpose), patients only see the front-facing end of it, it’s growing rapidly, and there’s just absolutely no way it’s saving the government money. This article also included a great overview of the work government agencies have done to evaluate/investigate the program.
“Why investors are leaning into direct-to-consumer health,” Chrissy Farr, Second Opinion
This just came out yesterday, and—like many things Chrissy Farr writes—was a succinct essay putting words to nebulous thoughts that seem to have been floating in the healthcare ether for a while. She notes that D2C healthcare companies can’t hide behind a bad product and that they truly have to amass customers before they can be considered successful, something that other digital health companies haven’t necessarily had to do. She also writes that there are “some big (but not insurmountable) challenges with D2C health in the long-run,” which I don’t think anyone would disagree with.
However, I have more faith in D2C companies’ ability to become major healthcare players than it seems Farr does (granted, I’m biased)—I think this will be a fun space to watch over the next few years.
“Food Ranked Healthiest to the Worst in New ‘Food Compass,’” Robert Roy Britt, Elemental
Researchers at Tufts University recently condensed available nutrition data into one simple number that ranks a food on a spectrum of healthy to not healthy. Past attempts to categorize food by a single metric (calories, grams of fat, or grams of sugar) often miss the mark on the quality of the food as a whole—and can lead companies to market a processed food as healthy just because it’s low-fat.
The Tufts approach is more holistic, so I’m interested to see if it’s useful for dietary counseling in a clinical setting.
Bonus: This article from April, published in Wired, about how McDonald’s ice cream machines are always broken and the right-to-repair implications behind the machine.
I read this article when it came out in April and I’ve brought it up in conversation so many times since then. The story is fascinating in its own right, but it’s even more interesting when you think about potential similarities between this situation and other very complicated machines (surgical robots and dialysis machines, perhaps?).
This information shouldn’t be taken as investment advice (obviously), and the opinions expressed are entirely my own, not representative of my employer or anyone else.