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KHN First Edition: December 8, 2015


First Edition

Tuesday, December 08, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: Add This To Challenges Of Old Age: Keeping Your Teeth
Kaiser Health News staff writer Anna Gorman reports: "Good dental hygiene is important to overall health, and chronic illnesses and medications can worsen oral health. Yet providing dental care to seniors such as Violeta Anderson is fraught with challenges. According to the American Dental Association, a fifth of people age 75 and older haven’t seen a dentist in the past five years." (Gorman, 12/8)

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Avoiders Won’t Get Reprieve This Time Around
Federal officials said Monday that if uninsured people don’t obtain coverage within the health law’s official enrollment period, which ends Jan. 31, they won’t get an extension to avoid the law’s penalty for going without insurance this time around. Earlier this year, the Obama administration offered uninsured people a reprieve if they missed the sign-up deadline for 2015 coverage, originally set at Feb. 15. People were given through April to sign up if they said they had learned about the penalty for going uninsured only when they filed their taxes. (Radnofsky, 12/7)

Politico: Congress Likely To Blow Budget Deadline
With negotiations over a massive $1.1 trillion budget package moving at a glacial pace, GOP leaders are now openly predicting that Congress will blow past a Dec. 11 deadline for funding the federal government. Both sides appear to be notching wins in the high-stakes talks. Republicans are confident they'll be able to lift a ban on exporting crude oil, though the GOP is wary of acceding to Democratic demands on environmental policy in return for allowing such sales. Democrats are relieved Republicans aren't fighting to strip funds from Planned Parenthood. (Bresnahan and Sherman, 12/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Stopgap U.S. Spending Bill May Be Needed, GOP’s Kevin McCarthy Says
Congress may need to pass a stopgap measure keeping the government running for just a few days to avoid a partial shutdown when its funding expires at week’s end, a House GOP leader said Monday. ... Lawmakers have largely agreed on the funding levels for different parts of the government set by the spending bill, known as the omnibus, but are still wrangling over which other policy measures get attached to it. ... Many lawmakers had hoped to reach a deal making some of the tax breaks permanent, but it remained uncertain Monday whether lawmakers would strike a long-term agreement or simply extend the measures for two years. A bigger deal may also include delays of the 2010 health law’s medical device tax and so-called “Cadillac tax” on high-cost, employer-sponsored health insurance. (son and Nelson, 12/7)

The Washington Post: Negotiations Over Year-End Spending Bill Hit A Tax Snag
After days of scrambling to hammer out an agreement, negotiators are still deadlocked over several policy riders that GOP lawmakers want to attach to the must-pass legislation as well as over what do with a package of tax breaks that could also be added to the bill. White House spokesman Joshua Earnest told reporters that President Obama would not sign a short-term CR in order to give negotiators more time to strike a deal. If lawmakers reach an agreement before Friday, however, Earnest did not rule out the possibility of agreeing to a stop-gap bill to give Congress time to finish procedural work. (Snell, 12/7)

The Associated Press: Stewart Returns To 'Daily Show' To Push 9/11 Health Act
Comedian Jon Stewart has returned to "The Daily Show" where he made a push to renew a law that provides health benefits for first responders who became ill after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. ... Proponents of the law are seeking its permanent extension, but some Republicans have opposed that, saying they want a chance to periodically review it and make sure it's operating soundly. (12/7)

The New York Times: Jon Stewart Returns To ‘The Daily Show’ For Zadroga Act
That issue, Mr. Stewart said, was the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides health care funding and compensation for emergency workers who were sickened by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and their aftermath. The act passed Congress in 2010, was signed into law by President Obama and went into effect the following year. Portions of the act expired after Sept. 30, and the rest of it will expire by next October unless it is renewed. (Itzkoff, 12/8)

The Washington Post: Three Years After Sandy Hook, More States Cut Mental Health Funding
Three years after the Sandy Hook mass shooting prompted public demands for mental health care reform, an increasing number of states have cut funding for mental health services, according to a report released Tuesday by a mental health advocacy group. The report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness said only 23 states increased mental health spending in 2015, compared to 36 states in 2013 and 29 in 2014. (Sun, 12/8)

The Wall Street Journal: Study Warns Of Alzheimer’s Risk In Some Prostate-Cancer Drugs
Men taking testosterone-blocking drugs to treat prostate cancer have nearly twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as those using other treatments, according to an analysis of electronic medical records published Monday. Androgen-deprivation therapy—also known as chemical castration—lowers levels of testosterone and other male hormones that can fuel the growth of prostate cancer. (Beck, 12/7)

USA Today: Public Health Gets Least Money, But Does Most
Just three cents of each U.S. health care dollar goes to public health even though it plays a far bigger role in keeping Americans well than medical care, a top federal official said at a forum sponsored by USA TODAY and insurer Cigna. State and local public health departments were hit especially hard by the recession and haven't recovered, said physician Karen DeSalvo, acting assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services. (O'Donnell and Ungar, 12/7)

Reuters: Most States Ignore U.S. Law Protecting Drug-Endangered Newborns
The Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 requires states to set up systems to ensure that medical personnel alert child protection workers to newborns “identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure.” Congress was spurred in part by a 2001 Washington Post investigation of flaws in the District of Columbia’s child protection system. The Post found 11 newborns during an eight-year period who died after being sent home with parents “whose troubles were well documented by hospitals and social workers.” (12/7)

The Washington Post: Will Wrongdoers At VA Ever Be Held Accountable? Lawmakers To Press Top Brass.
House lawmakers plan to press top Veterans Affairs officials this week to explain why, after a series of scandals, they have had limited success holding employees accountable for misconduct. At a hearing Wednesday, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs says it will examine VA’s “continued and pervasive lack of accountability” for employees who deceived taxpayers and veterans by covering up long waiting times for treatment at 100 medical centers. (Rein, 12/7)

The Associated Press: Catholic Hospital Under Fire For Denying Sterilizations
A Northern California Catholic hospital is under fire again for refusing to allow doctors to perform sterilizations on two pregnant women after they give birth, citing religious reasons. The two women may go to court unless Mercy Medical Center changes its mind by Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday . (12/7)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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