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From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

4. Political Cartoon: 'How'd You Guess?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'How'd You Guess?'" by Dave Coverly, Speed Bump.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Aid-in-dying bill
Washington leads the nation.
(That's DC! For real!)

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:

Campaign 2016

5. Beyond Bluster Of Campaign, Candidates Have Deep Differences On Health Care Issues

The Associated Press offers a series looking at where the candidates stand on health care issues and why it matters.

The Associated Press: Why It Matters: Beneath The Fury, Issues That Matter
This is a presidential campaign about trust, temperament, honesty, judgment, character, personality and, some are convinced, a personality disorder or two. It's pocked with Donald Trump's ballistic-missile tweets in the middle of the night. It's enlivened by the spectacle of Hillary Clinton's campaign innards spilling day after day into public view, quite a WikiMess. Got a minute for the issues? Beyond all of the bluster in this campaign, a clash of ideas is also at work, with consequences for nearly all Americans and plenty of people around the world. (10/23)

The Associated Press: Why It Matters: Health Care
About 9 in 10 Americans now have health insurance, more than at any time in history. But progress is incomplete, and the future far from certain. Millions remain uninsured. Quality is still uneven. Costs are high and trending up again. Medicare's insolvency is two years closer, now projected in 2028. Every family has a stake. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/23)

The Associated Press: Why It Matters: Abortion
Persistent Republican-led efforts to restrict access to abortion and to curb government funding for Planned Parenthood have been hotly debated in Washington and in states, and will be shaped in some way by the next president. (Crary, 10/22)

The Associated Press: Why It Matters: Opioid Epidemic
More Americans are dying from opioids than at any time in recent history, with overdose deaths hitting a peak of 28,000 in 2014. That amounts to 78 Americans dying from an opioid overdose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC uses opioid as an umbrella term for synthetic painkillers and for drugs derived naturally from opium (known more specifically as opiates), such a heroin. (Ronayne, 10/22)

The Associated Press: Why It Matters: Veterans
There are an estimated 21.6 million veterans in the United States. Among them, nearly 9 million are enrolled in health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 4.3 million veterans get disability compensation from the VA and nearly 900,000 have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. A 2014 law signed by President Barack Obama aimed to alleviate delays many veterans faced in getting treatment at VA hospitals and clinics and end the widespread practice of fake wait lists that covered up long waits for veterans seeking health care. Two years later, many of the problems remain. (Daly, 10/22)

6. 'Politically, We’re On Defense': Anti-Abortion Groups Fear Ramifications Of Election

With Donald Trump's chances of taking the White House fading, many on the anti-abortion side of the fight fear he's doing more harm than good.

The Washington Post: Antiabortion Activists Face Headwinds With Clinton Leading And Trump Stumbling On Women’s Issues
Antiabortion activists, already experiencing a difficult year, say their movement faces a pivotal moment as another Democrat who staunchly supports abortion rights appears likely to occupy the White House. First came the death of Antonin Scalia, an ardent ally on the Supreme Court. Then came a stinging defeat before the justices over a sweeping Texas law regulating abortion providers. Now, activists are afraid that Hillary Clinton is headed to victory — and angry that Donald Trump has done his share, they say, to set back a movement that has strived to show sensitivity toward women. (Somashekhar and Zezima, 10/21)

In other 2016 election news —

Modern Healthcare: Colorado Set To Vote On Single-Payer Healthcare System 
Years before Sen. Bernie Sanders touted single-payer healthcare as a core issue in his insurgent presidential campaign, a Democratic state lawmaker in Colorado was perennially introducing legislation for a single-payer system in the state. That legislation, backed by state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a physician, never gained much traction. But last year, its supporters collected more than 150,000 signatures to bring the plan before voters directly on the Nov. 8 ballot. (Livingston, 10/22)

Pioneer Press: Minnesota Candidates Focus On Health Care As 2016 Elections Near
Health care is dominating political campaigns in Minnesota as the election draws nearer. Lawmakers in both parties say they’re hearing from lots of voters about health care costs and access as they knock on doors around the state. “We were hearing from too many Minnesotans that this is just too big a burden for them,” said Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, while his Republican counterpart Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie said the issue of health care is “blowing up all over the state.” That means lawmakers are scrambling to convince voters that they’re taking the problem seriously — and that the other side isn’t. (Stassen-Berger, 10/23)

7. Presidential Election Could Weigh Heavily On Future Of Medicaid Expansion

Democrat Hillary Clinton wants to convince remaining states to accept the health law's provision to expand Medicaid to more lower-income residents, while Republican nominee Donald Trump seeks to reverse the expansion. Also, NPR looks at the difficulties getting dental care for patients with disabilities, who often have Medicaid insurance.

NPR: For People With Disabilities, Getting Dental Care Can Be Difficult
At the Marshfield Clinic dental center in Chippewa Falls, Wis., hygienist Karen Aslinger is getting her room ready. It's all quite routine — covering the chair's headrest with plastic, opening instruments, wiping down trays. But then she starts getting creative. "My next patient is pretty tiny and frail, so I like to go to oral surgery and get a heated blanket. I wrap her up, and I think it soothes her," Aslinger says. (Kodjak, 10/24)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

8. Both GOP And Democrats Seek Changes To Health Law, But Can They Find Common Ground?

Pressure from insurers who may leave the health law's marketplaces could spur lawmakers to consider updates to the law. Also in the news, a study examines costs off and on the marketplaces, Minnesota's governor wants changes to bring down insurance costs on the individual market, people buying insurance through their workplace are seeing more high-deductible plans and a look at how many insurance shoppers are hampered by confusion and terminology.

The Wall Street Journal: Rising Insurance Premiums Boost Talk Of Changes To Affordable Care Act
Insurer defections and rising premiums in the individual insurance market are spurring Democrats and Republicans alike to talk about changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. For now, the conversations are largely aimed at their party’s base. President Barack Obama led his party’s cry on Thursday with suggestions that would further entrench the law, including the addition of a government-run health plan in parts of the country with limited competition. GOP lawmakers have continued to call for gutting the law, including proposals to waive its penalties for people who forgo coverage in areas with limited insurance options. In each of these proposals, both sides have been largely talking past one another. Come January, they will have to talk to each other instead. (Radnofsky, 10/21)

Modern Healthcare: New Data Expose Mysterious World Of Off-Exchange Health Plans
Average premiums and deductibles for individual and small-group health plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 2016 were nearly 13% cheaper than for plans sold off the exchanges, according to new data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundat

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