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KHN First Edition: October 14, 2016

KHN

First Edition

Friday, October 14, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: How Narrow Is It? Gov’t Begins Test Of Comparison Tool For Health Plan Networks
Michelle Andrews reports: "The incredible shrinking provider network is nothing new in marketplace plans. One way insurers have kept premiums in check on the individual market is by reducing the number of providers available in a plan’s network. Earlier this year, the federal government said that it would introduce a tool this fall to help consumers who are shopping on HealthCare.gov gauge how narrow a plan’s provider network is compared with others in the area. But most consumers who want that information will have to wait at least another year." (Andrews, 10/14)

Kaiser Health News: Kratom Gets Reprieve From Drug Enforcement Administration
KERA's Lauren Silverman, for KHN, reports: "It’s been a wild ride for kratom lately. Since Aug. 31, when the Drug Enforcement Administration announced its intention to classify the plant as a Schedule I substance, a group of kratom vendors filed a lawsuit against the government to block the move, angry advocates took to social media in protest and scientists questioned whether they would be able to continue kratom research. Now, the DEA is withdrawing its notice of intent to put kratom in the most restrictive category of controlled substances, with drugs like LSD and heroin." (Silverman, 10/13)

The Associated Press: Mailings, Social Media Ads Woo Uninsured For Health Sign-Up
The Obama administration says it’ll send more than 10 million mailings to woo the uninsured for the final health care law sign-up season of President Barack Obama’s tenure. Add to that countless email messages to both prospective and returning customers — and ads on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. (10/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Care Law Ads Clash With GOP Message
The Obama administration is planning to use television ads and direct mail to boost participation in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in the coming open-enrollment period, but its timing will mean fighting for attention amid the noise of the election. The ads, which are partly focused on the affordability of coverage under the law, will run headlong into campaigns by opponents of the law who are using their own political ads to denounce it as a costly boondoggle. (Armour, 10/13)

The New York Times: Health Care Law’s Beneficiaries Reflect Its Strengths, And Its Faults
Cara Suzannah Latil is living proof that the Affordable Care Act works — but also of why a central piece of the law is in turmoil. Ms. Latil, 49, who works at a homeless shelter in Santa Fe, N.M., is one of millions of Americans who once found it difficult or impossible to get health insurance because they already had serious illnesses. Hepatitis C was ravaging her liver when she learned in 2014 that she also had breast cancer. Through the health care law, she was able to buy subsidized insurance that paid for all but $800 of her cancer surgery and radiation, she said, as well as tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of medications that cured her hepatitis. (Goodnough and Abelson, 10/14)

The Associated Press/USA Today: Gun Accidents Kill Kids Every Other Day
[Bryson Mees-Hernandez's death] could be blamed on many factors, from his grandmother’s negligence to the failure of government and industry to find ways to prevent his death and so many others. The Associated Press and the USA TODAY Network set out to determine just how many others there have been. The findings: During the first six months of this year, minors died from accidental shootings — at their own hands, or at the hands of other children or adults — at a pace of one every other day, far more than limited federal statistics indicate. (Foley, Fenn and Penzenstadler, 10/14)

The New York Times: Opioids May Interfere With Parenting Instincts, Study Finds
Some of the most troubling images of the opioid crisis involve parents buying or using drugs with their children in tow. Now new research offers a glimpse into the addicted brain, finding that the drugs appear to blunt a person’s natural parenting instincts. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania scanned the brains of 47 men and women before and after they underwent treatment for opioid dependence. (de la Cruz, 10/13)

The Washington Post: In A Medical First, Brain Implant Allows Paralyzed Man To Feel Again
For the first time, scientists have helped a paralyzed man experience the sense of touch in his mind-controlled robotic arm. For the cutting-edge experiment, a collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, electrodes smaller than a grain of sand were implanted in the sensory cortex of the man's brain. The electrodes received signals from a robot arm. When a researcher pressed the fingers of the prosthesis, the man felt the pressure in the fingers of his paralyzed right hand, effectively bypassing his damaged spinal cord. (10/13)

NPR: Brain Implant Restores Sense Of Touch To Paralyzed Man
Twelve years ago, a car wreck took away Nathan Copeland's ability to control his hands or sense what his fingers were touching. A few months ago, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center gave Copeland a new way to reach out and feel the world around him. It's a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip that send signals directly to Copeland's brain. (Hamilton, 10/13)

The Washington Post: More Than Half A Million Heart Surgery Patients At Risk Of Deadly Infection
More than half a million patients who had open-heart surgery in the United States since 2012 could be at risk for a deadly bacterial infection linked to a device used during their operations, federal health officials said Thursday. Although rare, such infections may cause serious illness or death. The infection is particularly insidious because it is difficult to detect. Patients may not develop symptoms or signs for months after initial exposure. (Sun, 10/13)

Los Angeles Times: By Adding An Antibody To HIV Treatment, Researchers Send Virus Into 'Sustained Remission' In Monkeys
Scientists may have found a way for patients with HIV to keep the virus in check without having to take powerful drugs every day for the rest of their lives. A clinical trial in monkeys found that by augmenting the standard HIV treatment with an antibody developed in the lab, the animals were able to enter a state of sustained remission, according to a report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science. (Healy, 10/13)

NPR: Racial Disparities Persist In Breast Cancer Deaths
Women are less likely to die of breast cancer than they were a decade ago, but not all women are benefiting from that trend. White women saw more of a drop in death rates than black women — 1.9 percent a year from 2010 to 2014, compared to a 1.5 percent decrease for black women, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Shute, 10/13)

The New York Times: Obesity And Diabetes Tied To Liver Cancer
A large study has found that body mass index, waist circumference and diabetes are all associated with an increased risk for liver cancer. Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer, and its incidence has tripled since the mid-1970s in the United States. (Bakalar, 10/14)

The Washington Post: McAuliffe Calls For Pay Cuts, Job Freeze And Reconsideration Of Medicaid Expansion
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, in an attempt to balance the state’s $1.5 billion budget shortfall, plans to eliminate planned pay raises for state employees and teachers and will ask the General Assembly to dip into the rainy-day fund to keep funding intact for education, public safety and Medicaid. “There will be no program cuts to public education, Medicaid for our families most in need, nor our core public safety services,” McAuliffe (D) said in a statement Thursday. (Sullivan, 10/13)

The Associated Press: Striking Minnesota Nurses Ratify New Contract
Nurses at five Allina Health hospitals in Minnesota have approved a contract to return to work. A majority of rank-and-file members of the Minnesota Nurses Association on Thursday voted to ratify the tentative agreement reached earlier in the week. Both the union and Allina Health say the nurses will return to work Sunday morning. (10/13)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2016 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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