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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

3. Georgia Women Weigh Zika Risks As Mosquito Season Arrives

The CDC is advising pregnant women, especially in the South, to take some precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that could carry the Zika virus. So far, Zika cases in Georgia are linked to travel, not bites. (Michell Eloy, WABE, 5/19)

4. Political Cartoon: 'State Of The Art'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'State Of The Art'" by Signe Wilkinson .

Here's today's health policy haiku:


When the stars come out
The ratings they represent
Should be meaningful.

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

5. House Passes $622M For Zika Funding, But CDC Says 'It's Just Not Enough'

On Tuesday the Senate passed its own $1.1 billion bill, and the two chambers are now facing tough negotiations in an effort to find a compromise. Meanwhile, the man who led the White House response to Ebola says Congress has failed to learn its lesson and is now failing Americans in the face of a slow-motion public-health disaster.

The Associated Press: House Passes $622 Million Bill To Fight Zika
House Republicans on Wednesday pushed through a $622 million bill to battle the Zika virus, setting up challenging negotiations with the Senate and the White House. The 241-184 House vote broke mostly along party lines as Democrats lined up in opposition, heeding a White House veto threat and a warning from a top government health official that the bill wouldn’t do enough to respond to the growing threat from Zika. “It’s just not enough,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said of the House measure. (5/19)

The Hill: House Approves $622M Zika Funding Bill
House Republicans on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $622 million bill to combat the Zika virus, creating a pot of funds about one-third the size requested by the White House. All but four Republicans who cast votes were in favor of the bill, which funds federal research, prevention and treatment efforts for the next six months. (Ferris, 5/18)

The Associated Press: Tricky Talks Ahead On Measures To Battle Zika
Democrats and the White House have been hammering at Republicans for dragging their feet on Zika, but the political tempest in Washington hasn't been matched by fear among the public, at least according to recent polling. GOP leaders see a political imperative to act as the summer mosquito season heats up. The House bill, however, provides one-third of the request and limits the use of the money to the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30. It cuts funds provided in 2014 to fight Ebola to help offset the additional Zika money. (5/19)

Politico: Ebola Czar: America Failing On Zika
The man who led the successful White House response to the Ebola outbreak says the Zika virus is a slow-motion public health disaster — and Congress is to blame. Ron Klain, who served as White House Ebola czar and as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, told POLITICO's “Pulse Check” podcast that Congress has failed to heed the lessons of the Ebola epidemic and that the Zika funding battle has become unforgivably partisan in the face of such dire human costs, including severe brain defects in infants. “The babies being born are neither Democrats or Republicans,” he said. “They're babies.” (Diamond, 5/18)

Meanwhile, outlets report on other developments from the outbreak —

The Miami Herald: Standing Water On Property? Mosquito Control May Come After You To Combat Zika
With the rainy season about to arrive and 45 confirmed Zika cases this year, more than any other county in Florida, Miami-Dade commissioners will consider changing the county’s legal code on Tuesday to empower mosquito control workers during public health emergencies to act within two days instead of the current five to clear empty containers and other breeding grounds for the disease-spreading insects when located on private property. Speaking on the lawn of Miami-Dade’s government center, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county’s Zika preparedness plans rely as much or more on residents’ cooperation as they do on spraying and surveillance efforts. (Chang, 5/18)

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Wisconsin Woman Has Confirmed Case Of Zika Virus
A Wisconsin woman has the first confirmed case of the Zika virus in the state, the Department of Health Services said Wednesday. The woman recently traveled to Honduras, where mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus are present. There have been no locally acquired cases of the Zika virus infection in Wisconsin or in the continental United States, the department said in a news release. (Stephenson, 5/18)

Kaiser Health News: Georgia Women Weigh Zika Risks As Mosquito Season Arrives
"Careful" describes the approach many women in the South say they’re taking as mosquito season starts up in the region. The CDC has linked Zika to microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with smaller heads and smaller brains that don’t develop properly. The World Health Organization says as of the middle of May 2016, more than 1,300 cases of microcephaly and other neurological disorders believed to be Zika-related had been reported from nine countries, including the U.S. Georgia has seen 13 Zika cases so far, all of them in people who have traveled to one of the 55 countries where the WHO says Zika is active. None of the cases were in pregnant women. (Eloy, 5/19)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

6. New York Insurers Seek To Raise Obamacare Premiums

The health insurers are proposing premium increases on the state exchange by an average of 17 percent for individual plans next year. The increases, however, will be considered by the N.Y. Department of Financial Services.

The Associated Press: Premium Hikes Proposed By NY Health Insurers
New York health insurers have proposed premium increases averaging 17 percent for next year in the market for individuals and 12 percent for small groups. The Department of Financial Services often reduces proposed increases before approving them. Approved rates are expected in early August. The amounts posted Wednesday by the department are averages for an insurer's various plans, including those offered on the New York Health Exchange. (5/18)

Increases are also likely in New Mexico -

7. Calif. Lawmakers Rush To Try To Get Insurance For Immigrants Before Obama Leaves Office

Some members of the legislature are pushing to allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to buy insurance coverage on the health law's marketplaces. Also in the news are reports on insurance from Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut and Indiana.

Kaiser Health News: Rushing To Move Excluded Immigrants Into O

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