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KHN First Edition: December 9, 2015


First Edition

Wednesday, December 09, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Uninsured People Eligible For Obamacare Face Average $969 Penalty In 2016
Kaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz reports: "The penalty for failing to have health insurance is going up, perhaps even higher than you expected. Among uninsured individuals who are not exempt from the Affordable Care Act penalty, the average household fine for not having insurance in 2015 will be $661, rising to $969 per household in 2016, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. Individuals will pay the penalty when they complete their federal taxes the following spring." (Galewitz, 12/9)

Kaiser Health News: Medical Training So Dark Many Students Depict Supervisors As Monsters – Literally
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Rovner reports: "The study by researchers from several leading medical schools, including Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge in England, added to a body of work showing that the stress of training can cause depression. And it’s not just the doctors themselves who suffer – patients should worry, too. Depression in residents 'has been linked to poor-quality patient care and increased medical errors,' the researchers note." (Rovner, 12/8)

Kaiser Health News: Drug Cocktails Fuel Massachusetts’ Overdose Crisis
WBUR's Martha Bebinger, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "In a brick plaza next to the Chelsea, Massachusetts city hall, Anthony, a bald but still-youthful man in grey sweats, tells me he spent the previous night in the hospital for what he says was his twelfth overdose. Anthony and other users of illegal drugs agreed to speak to NPR for this story on the condition that we use only their first names. He blames his overdose on what his dealer told him was a particularly strong bag of heroin laced with Fentanyl — or something like it." (Bebinger, 12/9)

The New York Times: Americans Who Don’t Buy Health Coverage Face Heftier Fine In ’16, Analysis Finds
Americans who remain uninsured in 2016 despite having the option of buying health coverage through an Affordable Care Act marketplace will owe an average tax penalty of $969 per household, a new analysis has found. That amount is substantially higher than the average estimated penalty of $661 for those who went uninsured in 2015, according to the analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. But it remains to be seen how effective the rising fine will be in persuading the roughly 10.5 million uninsured Americans who are eligible for marketplace coverage to buy it. (Goodnough, 12/9)

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Recoups Funds From States That Faltered On Health Exchanges
The Obama administration on Tuesday said it has recouped more than $200 million in funding given to states that faltered in setting up their own health-insurance exchanges. Government officials are seeking to collect more of the original grant funding, an effort that they said shows they are closely monitoring taxpayer dollars that state-run exchanges received under the Affordable Care Act. (Armour, 12/8)

Politico: No Budget Deal In Sight As Deadline Looms
Right now, there's no deal in sight to fund the federal government. ... In all likelihood, the House will vote Friday on a short-term government funding measure to avoid a shutdown, giving Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi more time to negotiate. (Sherman, French and Bresnahan, 12/8)

The Washington Post: Republicans Eye Short-Term Spending Bill As Shutdown Deadline Approaches
Brady also said he is considering adding language to the bill that would delay for two years the implementation of two provisions of the Affordable Care Act, a tax on medical device manufacturers and a levy on high value health plans known as the Cadillac Tax. Several negotiators and aides said that prospects for the broader bill were increasingly positive despite frustration from House Democrats. (Snell, 12/8)

The Wall Street Journal: Nancy Pelosi Drives Hard Bargain With Paul Ryan On Spending, Taxes
In case House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) was in any doubt, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has made it clear this week that she drives a hard bargain. The two House leaders are facing their first serious battle of wills over Congress’s pile of year-end legislation.On the spending bill, she has sought to block all GOP policy measures, or “riders,” that Democrats don’t like. Republicans have already opted not to seek an end to federal funding for Planned Parenthood or to repeal portions of the 2010 health law in the legislation, aides said. Now, Democrats are working to beat back GOP provisions aimed at curbing financial, environmental and labor regulations. (son, 12/8)

The New York Times: Marco Rubio Quietly Undermines Affordable Care Act
A little-noticed health care provision that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida slipped into a giant spending law last year has tangled up the Obama administration, sent tremors through health insurance markets and rattled confidence in the durability of President Obama’s signature health law. So for all the Republican talk about dismantling the Affordable Care Act, one Republican presidential hopeful has actually done something toward achieving that goal. (Pear, 12/9)

The Wall Street Journal: How Pfizer Set The Cost Of Its New Drug At $9,850 A Month
Days before Pfizer Inc. was to set the price for a new breast-cancer drug called Ibrance, it got a surprise: A competitor raised the monthly cost of a rival treatment by nearly a thousand dollars. Three years of market research—a stretch that started almost as soon as the new treatment showed promise in the laboratory—was suddenly in doubt. After carefully calibrating the price to be close to rivals and to keep doctors and insurers happy, Pfizer was left wondering if its list price of $9,850 a month for the pills was too low. (Rockoff, 12/9)

The Washington Post: Burnout Increasing Among U.S. Doctors
Burnout among U.S. doctors is getting worse, according to a study that shows physicians are worse off today than just three years earlier. Mayo Clinic researchers, working with the American Medical Association, compared data from 2014 to measures they collected in 2011 and found higher measures on the classic signs of professional burnout. More than half of physicians felt emotionally exhausted and ineffective. More than half also said that work was less meaningful. (Sun, 12/8)

NPR: Congress Still Limits Health Research On Gun Violence
Mass shootings and police shootings have spurred calls for authorities to take action to reduce the violence. But policymakers may be stymied by the dearth of public health research into both gun violence and deaths that involve the police. One big obstacle: congressional restrictions on funding of such research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Right now, the CDC studies all kinds of violence. There's a program on child abuse and youth violence, and the public health agency collects data on suicides and sexual assaults. (Kodjak, 12/8)

Los Angeles Times: To Foster Public Health, Track Law Enforcement-Related Deaths, Researchers Urge
The death of people at the hands of police officers affects not only the individuals involved but the well-being of the community at large, and a tally of such fatalities can and should be maintained for public health purposes, a group of Harvard University researchers has written. Wading into the intersection of several highly charged public debates, a group of public health researchers has written that law enforcement-related deaths -- both of police officers and of members of the public -- are not strictly a criminal justice concern. (Healy, 12/8)

The Wall Street Journal: Connecticut Legislature Approves Budget Cuts
Lawmakers in Connecticut on Tuesday approved a $350 million plan to address a shortfall in the state’s budget. ... Medicaid funding for hospitals took the biggest hit with a $34.2 million reduction. The Department of Developmental Services had cuts of $4.3 million and the Department of Correction $8.6 million. (De Avila, 12/8)

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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