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Brainstorm Health: Graham Cassidy Debate, CVS Opioid Policy, Roivant CEOs Profile

Happy Friday, Dailies. Kelly Swanson, over at Vox, reports that before next week’s vote on the Senate’s Graham-Cassidy bill (the latest extraordinarily unpopular Republican effort to undo Obamacare), there will be just 90 seconds of debate on the Senate floor.

The reason, Swanson reports, is that the bill is not actually a bill, but rather an amendment to the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” (the extraordinarily unpopular Republican effort to undo Obamacare back in June). And since that original bill already got through a cloture vote, the Graham-Cassidy “amendment” is entitled to only limited debate. Got that?

Well, to all those who say that 90 seconds of debate—over legislation that could conceivably cause more than 30 million Americans to lose their health coverage—is not enough, I say, “Pshaw!”

[Editor’s Note: For readers 200 years of age or older, “Pshaw” means “Fiddlesticks,” “Zounds,” or, when accompanied by soup, “The Dickens!” For readers under 200 years of age, “Pshaw” has no actual meaning. Substitute with an emoji.]

As I was saying, Balderdash! And Poppycock, too! Ninety seconds is plenty of time for debate. Let’s start with the obvious: In the big bang, it took a mere 10-34 of a second—“a hundredth of a billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second,” explains—“to double the size of the universe at least 90 times.” That’s science, people!

Not convinced?

Then, consider it took just 33 seconds for the Houston Rockets’ Tracy McGrady to score 13 points and beat the Spurs by one—in a 2004 heart-stopper that many call one of the greatest NBA comebacks in history. (So figure that one 90-second Senate debate could give us the equivalent of nearly three thrills of a lifetime—or two, if Rand Paul speaks.)

Finally, my colleague Brian O’Keefe points out that “Judy is a Punk,” by the Ramones, is 89 seconds long.

Take that, naysayers!

More news below.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE


Australian, Harvard Medical School study suggests smartphone apps can help with mild depression. Researchers from Australia’s National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), Harvard Medical School, The University of Manchester, and the Black Dog Institute in Australia find that smartphone apps could be useful therapy tools for patients with mild depression, especially helping people monitor their conditions.


How a 32-year-old CEO seduced a crew of biopharma vets to take a chance on his ambitious new approach to making drugs. I sat down with Vivek Ramaswamy, CEO of Roivant Sciences, and four CEOs of his member companies to chat about the 32-year-old’s brash, audacious vision for an entirely new way of developing drugs—and how he convinced experienced biopharma vets to come along for the ride. Check it out here. (Fortune)


CVS to limit opioid prescription length, strength. Pharmacy giant CVS is pursuing a new strategy to cut opioid abuse and fight the ongoing painkiller epidemic. The initiative will include lower prescription lengths and doses for many customers, among other measures. (Fortune)


What Mexico City’s Earthquake Rescues and Relief Efforts Look Likeby Alex Scimecca

Ex-NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Had a Severe Form of Brain Disease CTEby Kirsten Korosec

A Coffee Called ‘Death Wish’ Has Been Recalled Because It Actually Might Kill Youby Kate Samuelson

HPE’s Meg Whitman Won’t Be Uber’s CEO. But She Could Be the First Female Presidentby Jen Wieczner

Produced by Sy Mukherjee

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