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KHN First Edition: October 19, 2016


First Edition

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Organ Donation And The Opioid Epidemic: ‘An Unexpected Life-Saving Legacy’
WBUR's Martha Bebinger writes: "On the final day of June 2015, Colin LePage rode waves of hope and despair. It started when LePage found his 30-year-old son, Chris, at home after an apparent overdose. Paramedics rushed Chris by helicopter to one of Boston’s flagship medical centers. Doctors revived Chris’s heart, but struggled to stabilize his temperature and blood pressure. At some point, a doctor or nurse mentioned to LePage that his son had agreed to be an organ donor." (Bebinger, 10/19)

California Healthline: New California Law Will More Finely Parse Health Data On Asians
Pauline Bartolone writes: "For years, the state has used a limited number of categories to map out health trends among Asian ethnic groups. People of Taiwanese descent may have been folded into the Chinese demographic group in identifying death, disease and pregnancy rates. Fijian people were lumped into the category of “other Asian.” But thanks to a new law, the California Department of Public Health will add categories so that people of many more ancestries, such as Bangladeshi or Hmong, can self-report their ethnic group more specifically and accurately. (Bartolone, 10/19)

The Wall Street Journal: Rate Increases For Health Plans Pose Serious Test For Obama’s Signature Law
Finalized rates for big health insurance plans around the country show the magnitude of the challenge facing the Obama administration as it seeks to stabilize the insurance market under the Affordable Care Act in its remaining weeks in office. Market leaders that are continuing to sell coverage through or a state equivalent have been granted average premium increases of 30% or more in Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas, according to information published by state regulators and on a federal site designed to highlight rate increases of 10% or more. (Radnofsky, 10/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Spent $359 Million On Unnecessary Chiropractic Care In 2013, Audit Finds
More than 80% of the money that Medicare paid to chiropractors in 2013 went for medically unnecessary procedures, a new federal audit found. The federal insurance program for senior citizens spent roughly $359 million on unnecessary chiropractic care that year for treatment of strains, sprains or joint conditions, a review by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General found. (Evans, 10/19)

Reuters: How Trump, Clinton Would Fix The 'Crazy' U.S. Health System
When former President Bill Clinton called parts of Obamacare "crazy," he put his wife Hillary Clinton on the defensive and gave much-needed ammunition to her Republican rival for the presidency, Donald Trump, who wants to scrap it. ... Still, Clinton's comments may not have been so crazy. He put a spotlight on an uncomfortable truth: after six years, billions of dollars and a sweeping reform that stands as Obama's single biggest domestic policy achievement, health care is still unaffordable for many Americans. (Humer and Stephenson, 10/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Johnson & Johnson Brushes Off Looming Biosimilar Competition, Posts Solid Results
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday sought to reassure investors and analysts that lower-priced competition for one of its top-selling products won’t slow a company that posted slightly better-than-expected results in the third quarter. The health-products company said world-wide sales in the quarter grew by 4.2%, to $17.8 billion. The company reported profit of $4.27 billion, or $1.53 a share, up from $3.36 billion, or $1.20 a share, in the same period a year ago. (Rockoff and Steele, 10/18)

Los Angeles Times: Bucking His Detractors, The Controversial Leader Of An L.A. AIDS Nonprofit Sets His Sights On The National Political Stage
In a state as expensive as California, and during a political year as crowded as 2016, most organizations would struggle to sponsor just one ballot measure. Fighting on two fronts is often reserved for the most formidable interest groups. But that’s just what the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation is doing this year. (Mai-Duc and Panzar, 10/19)

The Washington Post: On Planned Parenthood’s 100th Birthday, Four Surprising Ways Birth Control Has Changed
One hundred years ago last Sunday, nurse Margaret Sanger opened the nation's first birth control clinic on Amboy Street in Brooklyn. For a 10-cent fee, visitors were given a pamphlet — “What Every Girl Should Know" — and a tutorial on the female reproductive system and how to use various contraceptives, according to a New York University project about Sanger’s legacy. That clinic eventually evolved into Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that is credited with making reproductive health a priority for all and that treats millions of people in its clinics each year. (Cha, 10/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Zenefits Touts New Software In Turnaround Effort
Human-resources startup Zenefits is seeking to put its troubled past behind it, launching redesigned software at its first customer conference on Tuesday in an effort to jump-start sales and repair its corporate image. Zenefits said the new software, dubbed “Z2,” enables its small-business customers to manage more human-resources tasks, like employee payroll. It also now works with 17 business apps made by other software makers, including Intuit Inc. and Inc. (Winkler, 10/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Flint Suit Seeks Aid For Students Due To Water Crisis
A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Flint, Mich., alleges that public-school students affected by the city’s lead-tainted water crisis are being denied special education services. Fifteen children are named as plaintiffs in the suit filed in U.S. District Court against the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District. (Hobbs, 10/18)

The Associated Press: Michigan Health Chief Is Target In Flint Criminal Probe
Michigan’s top public health official is a target in the criminal investigation of Flint’s water crisis that has led to charges against nine government employees, his lawyer said Tuesday. Nick Lyon, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services and a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Cabinet, received a letter in early September from investigators indicating he is a focus, attorney Larry Willey said. (Eggert, 10/18)

Los Angeles Times: UC Irvine Health Workers Picket Medical Center Over Layoffs
More than 100 UC Irvine Health workers used their work break or their day off Tuesday to picket at UCI Medical Center in Orange in response to 175 employee layoffs that began this month. UC Irvine Health's chief executive, Howard Federoff, informed staff of the layoffs through an email Oct. 3. Previous expense reductions and increased revenue through growth of the organization's clinical services have "not been enough to avoid reductions in staff," Federoff said in the email. (Chan, 10/18)

The Associated Press: Mental Health Center Says It Wasn’t Contacted Before Crashes
A community mental health agency disputes a police account that someone contacted it before a man drove the wrong way on an interstate, causing crashes that killed five teenagers and injured several other people. Police said the man, Steven Bourgoin, visited a hospital three times hours before the crashes and was seen by a physician’s assistant and a mental health center was called but didn’t screen him. The account is in a statement from a state trooper who investigated the crashes. (Rathke, 10/18)

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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