UnitedHealth is setting its sights on hospitals

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Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m healthcare editor Leah Rosenbaum, and today in healthcare news:

UnitedHealth has a new plan to partner with hospital systems;A highly anticipated boosters trial found that J&J shot recipients got a better immune response with Pfizer and Moderna;Merck could make billions of its COVID-19 pill.

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Optum CEO Andrew Witty

UnitedHealth has made a fortune from its sprawling network of doctors and clinics. Now it’s setting its sights on hospitals.

UnitedHealth Group has made a fortune owning medical clinics and keeping patients out of hospitals.But the healthcare giant is increasingly looking at hospitals as a source of revenue.Last week, UnitedHealth struck a deal with health system SSM Health to handle back-office operations.

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A vial of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen’s) Covid-19 vaccine.

Scientists gave J&J vaccine recipients different booster shots in a highly anticipated trial, and found they got a much better immune response with Moderna and Pfizer

People who got the J&J vaccine may get a better immune response from a Moderna or Pfizer booster, a major new study suggests.J&J recipients generated far more antibodies after a Moderna or Pfizer shot, instead of a second J&J jab.However, higher levels of antibodies do not necessarily mean a person is more protected from the coronavirus.

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Molnupiravir is an experimental oral antiviral developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that could treat COVID-19

Merck is set to make billions off a COVID-19 pill that could change the pandemic. Here’s why some countries will pay more than others.

Merck’s COVID-19 pill holds tremendous promise in fighting the pandemic. Industry analysts expect Merck to make billions off the not-yet-authorized drug.Some countries will be paying $12 per patient, while the US agreed to pay $712 per treatment course.

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More stories we’re reading:

Fully vaccinated people who previously had COVID-19 should be last in line for booster shots, experts say (Insider)This online pharmacy sold millions of dollars of Ivermectin to desperate patients (TIME)A drugmaker backed by the company that owns Marlboro cigarettes plans to launch the world’s first plant-based COVID-19 vaccine (Insider)COVID-19 has killed hundreds of police officers, but many still refuse to get vaccinated (The New York Times)

-Leah

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