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KHN First Edition: October 27, 2016


First Edition

Thursday, October 27, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Clinton Took More Conciliatory Tone With Health Care Industry In Paid Speeches
Emily Kopp reports: "On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has sharply criticized the health care industry, accusing pharmaceutical companies of profiteering and vowing to control skyrocketing costs. But Clinton’s tone was often more conciliatory before her presidential campaign when she addressed medical companies and trade groups as part of her brief but lucrative career delivering speeches for pay." (Kopp, 10/26)

Kaiser Health News: Drug Prices, Not The Health Law, Top Voters’ Health Priorities For 2017
Julie Rovner reports: "Until this week, when big increases in insurance premiums were unveiled for next year, the federal health law has not been a major issue in the presidential election. In fact, fixing what ails the Affordable Care Act isn’t even among voters’ top priorities for health issues for next year, according to a new poll. The monthly October tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that when voters are asked about what the next president and Congress should do about health care, issues relating to prescription drug prices and out-of-pocket spending far outrank proposals to address the shortcomings of the health law." (Rovner, 10/27)

Kaiser Health News: Video: How Obamacare Premium Hikes Affect Politics And Your Wallet
The new enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act opens next Tuesday, and consumers in many areas could see double-digit percentage increases for premiums on average and fewer choices. PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff talks to Mary Agnes Carey of Kaiser Health News and Reid Wilson of The Hill as they consider some of the options that individuals around the country are weighing. (10/26)

Kaiser Health News: Study Offers Young Doctors Strategies To Deal With Discrimination
Carmen Heredia Rodriguez reports: "In July 2013, a man arrived in the emergency room of a California hospital seeking treatment for his child. But when the intern on call walked in to see him, the father looked at her name tag and demanded another physician. As a Palestinian, he didn’t want his child treated by a Jewish doctor. The intern turned to her resident supervisor, Emily Whitgob, who told her colleagues about the incident. The episode, Whitgob said, helped motivate her to study how doctors in training and their institutions should deal with patients’ prejudice and to publish a report that outlines strategies offered by the professionals she and the other authors consulted." (Heredia Rodriguez, 10/27)

The New York Times: Health Law Tax Penalty? I’ll Take It, Millions Say
The architects of the Affordable Care Act thought they had a blunt instrument to force people — even young and healthy ones — to buy insurance through the law’s online marketplaces: a tax penalty for those who remain uninsured. It has not worked all that well, and that is at least partly to blame for soaring premiums next year on some of the health law’s insurance exchanges. (Pear, 10/26)

The Washington Post: ACA’s Big Price Hike Reflects Challenges Of Expanding Coverage Amid Political Static
Soaring insurance prices for the coming year under the Affordable Care Act place intense pressure on the next president to follow through with campaign promises for a new round of changes to the nation’s health-care system after years of bitter stalemate. The revelation this week by the Obama administration that premiums will increase by 25 percent, on average, for a popular group of plans sold through immediately became tinder for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and congressional Republicans. The lashing was nothing new. (Goldstein, 10/26)

The Washington Post: Confused By Obamacare? Here Are Answers To Key Questions.
Four years ago, when President Obama predicted that the Affordable Care Act would result in lower health-insurance premiums, we gave him Three Pinocchios. The “Obamacare” law had not been fully implemented yet, but we reviewed nearly 10 reports from states across the country on the potential impact of the law and concluded the law’s provisions “will almost certainly increase premiums, though tax subsidies will help mitigate the impact for a little over half of the people in the exchanges.” (Kessler, 10/27)

The Associated Press: Health Premium News Gives Attacks To GOP Senate Candidates
Republican Senate candidates are jumping on news of sharply rising premiums under President Barack Obama's health care law as they seek advantage in the closing days of the election. The unpopular law was already an issue in some key Senate races, a recurring attack line for GOP candidates and in some cases another way to tie Democrats to Hillary Clinton. (10/26)

The Associated Press: A Look At Hikes In Health Care Premiums In Senate Races
The cost of health care premiums are going up under President Barack Obama's 2010 law — and the hike looms as an issue in competitive Senate races. Here's a look at the average increase for the typical 27-year-old buying a midlevel plan. The percentage increase is before subsidies to purchase health care coverage, which are determined by income. (10/26)

Politico: Politico-Harvard Poll: Obamacare Wars Outlast Obama
As Obamacare opponents intensify attacks on soaring rate hikes and shrinking insurance options, a majority of voters believe the health care law is failing and there’s no consensus on what to do about it — findings that bode badly for hopes of Obamacare becoming any less toxic politically when its namesake president leaves office. A new poll conducted for POLITICO and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that 54 percent of likely voters think Obamacare is working poorly. (Norman, 10/26)

Politico: Politico-Harvard Poll: Clinton Voters Eager To Scrap Hyde Amendment
Most voters oppose Hillary Clinton’s proposal to allow federal tax dollars to cover abortion — but her most ardent supporters love it. A new poll conducted for POLITICO by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that only 36 percent of likely voters want to overturn the long-standing ban on Medicaid paying for abortion with federal funds. But among self-described Clinton voters, 57 percent support scrapping the current rules. (Haberkorn, 10/26)

The New York Times: An EpiPen Rival Is About To Return To The Shelves
The EpiPen is about to get some more competition. The makers of the Auvi-Q, an EpiPen alternative taken off the market last year, announced on Wednesday that they would bring it back in 2017. The move is certain to be welcomed by many patients and lawmakers, who have denounced the rising price of EpiPens and the lack of strong competition. (Thomas, 10/26)

NPR: Auvi-Q Maker Says Epinephrine Injector Will Be Available In 2017
Auvi-Q, one of the only direct competitors to the EpiPen, was pulled from the market by the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi last year. Sanofi said it had received a handful of reports that the device didn't deliver a reliable dose of epinephrine. ... The Auvi-Q is smaller than the EpiPen — about the size of a credit card and as thick as a smartphone — and it has audio instructions that guide a user through the injection process. Kaleo also makes Evzio, a popular auto-injector for naloxone, the opioid antidote used to treat overdoses. (Kodjak, 10/26)

The Wall Street Journal: Mylan Officials Unlikely To Lose Pay Over EpiPen Settlement
Executives of EpiPen maker Mylan NV are unlikely to suffer a reduction in their pay from the company’s recent $465 million settlement of allegations that it improperly overcharged Medicaid for the lifesaving drug. That is because Mylan historically has calculated executive pay using a nonstandard measure called “adjusted diluted” earnings, which excludes the costs of such litigation settlements, the company’s regulatory filings show. (Maremont and Francis, 10/27)

The New York Times: H.I.V. Arrived In The U.S. Long Before ‘Patient Zero’
In the tortuous mythology of the AIDS epidemic, one legend never seems to die: Patient Zero, a.k.a. Gaétan Dugas, a globe-trotting, sexually insatiable French Canadian flight attendant who supposedly picked up H.I.V. in Haiti or Africa and spread it to dozens, even hundreds, of men before his death in 1984. Mr. Dugas was once blamed for setting off the entire American AIDS epidemic, which traumatized the nation in the 1980s and has since killed more than 500,000 Americans. The New York Post even described him with the headline “The Man Who Gave Us AIDS.” (McNeil, 10/26)

The Washington Post: Mythology Of ‘Patient Zero’ And How AIDS Virus Traveled To The United States Is All Wrong
In a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers used genomic sequencing of blood samples from that era to go back in time and reconstruct the “family tree” of the virus in unprecedented detail. The findings are stunning, debunking many popular beliefs about the virus's origins and spread and filling in holes about how it made its way to the United States. (Cha, 10/26)

Los Angeles Times: How Scientists Proved The Wrong Man Was Blamed For Bringing HIV To The U.S.
Instead, the researchers report that Dugas was one of thousands of people who were infected with the human immunodeficiency virus by the late 1970s, years before it was officially recognized by the medical community in 1981. The genetic analysis also reveals the path taken by the most common strain of the virus after it traveled from the Caribbean to the United States. Upon arriving in New York City around 1970, it circulated and diversified for about five years before being dispersed across the country. (Netburn, 10/26)

The Washington Post: Senators Ask For DEA Data In Wake Of Washington Post Investigation
Two senators asked Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch Wednesday to explain a sharp drop in the number of enforcement actions against large pharmaceutical distributors and others by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) requested a wide variety of information about cases brought by DEA’s Diversion Control Division in the wake of a Washington Post investigation published over the weekend. (Higham and Bernstein, 10/26)

NPR: Zika May Be In The U.S. To Stay
Public health authorities and infectious disease specialists now say we may not be able to rid the U.S. of the Zika virus. Despite months of intense work — including house to house inspections and aggressive mosquito control — federal, state and local officials have not been able to stop the spread of Zika in Miami. (Allen, 10/26)

The Associated Press: Patients Left In Limbo As More Doctors Flee Puerto Rico
Doctors have gradually left Puerto Rico during a decade-long recession that has gripped the island and driven more than 200,000 people to the U.S. mainland seeking better opportunities. Now, the steady departure of pediatricians, surgeons, orthopedists, neurologists and others has become a stampede as the economy shows no sign of improving and financial problems in the territorial health insurance program make it nearly impossible for doctors to stay in business. (10/27)

The New York Times: For 22 Unclaimed Bodies In New York, A Grim Path From Death To Burial
Every month or two, the young woman would type her father’s name into an internet search field, hoping for any sign that he was dead or alive. ... In fact, he had died on March 25, 2013, at a hospital in the Bronx, which sent his body to a New York City morgue. While he was hard to find, his ex-wife and daughter would have been easy to locate. But no one contacted them. Instead, the city’s medical examiner’s office “lent” his unclaimed body to the Albert Einstein School of Medicine for use as a cadaver. Long after the last dissection in a medical class, nearly three years after his death, his corpse was one of 22 such “borrowed” cadavers still stranded in cold storage at the school, all of them waiting for the city to provide what the unclaimed dead are owed by law: a decent burial. (Bernstein, 10/27)

The Wall Street Journal: Disconnect Between Silicon Valley And Regulators Over Health Technologies, 23andMe CEO Says
Genetic-testing company 23andMe Inc. Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki said there is a disconnect between Silicon Valley and the U.S. regulatory system over how to view new health-related technologies. “You go to Silicon Valley because you want innovation, creativity,” Ms. Wojcicki said Wednesday at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference. “You don’t go because you want regulatory expertise.” (Bensinger, 10/26)

The Wall Street Journal: Where The Elderly Die Can Vary By Region, Study Shows
How much time people spend in hospitals or nursing homes in the final months of life, instead of at home, varies widely depending on where they live, new research shows. Across the Rockies and regions of the Gulf Coast, the dying spend more than two additional weeks hospitalized or in other facilities, on average, compared with those at the end of life in the Midwest and Montana, researchers reported Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. In other parts of the country, the picture is more mixed but still differs sharply from one community to another. (Evans, 10/26)

The Associated Press: Cholesterol Test For 1-Year-Olds? Study Says It Could Help
What if a blood test could reveal that your child is at high risk for early heart disease years in the future, giving you a chance to prevent it now? A big study in England did that — screening thousands of babies for inherited risk — and found it was twice as common as has been thought. The study also revealed parents who had the condition but didn’t know it, and had passed it on to their children. Ninety percent of them started taking preventive medicines after finding out. (Marchione, 10/26)

The Washington Post: Bloodsucking Parasitic Hookworms Could Help Make Millions Of People Healthier
Necator americanus, the New World hookworm, is as long and thin as a vermicelli noodle. It will slip under your skin and travel through the blood to your trachea, where you will swallow it and give it a free ride to your small intestine. Upon arrival, it will open its tiny jaw, dig its teeth into your intestinal wall and begin to drink your blood. And it could be the key to making millions of people healthier. (Kaplan, 10/26)

The Associated Press: New Vermont Health Care System Would Reward Good Health
Vermont health care regulators approved a plan Wednesday that would change the way much of health care is paid for in the state to promote services that keep people healthy as a way to avoid the costs of treating them after they get sick. The Green Mountain Care Board’s approval sets the state on a years-long path in the hopes of both reducing costs and keeping Vermont residents in better health. (Ring, 10/26)

The Washington Post: The Baby Who Was ‘Born’ Twice
Margaret Boemer first sensed something was wrong when her ultrasound technician stayed unusually quiet during a routine 16-week prenatal checkup.It had already been an arduous road to get to that point. Months earlier, Boemer had suffered a miscarriage. When she conceived again, she and her husband were delighted to discover it was with twins — but they lost one of the babies about six weeks into the pregnancy. Soon, doctors would approach Boemer with more grim news: The child she was carrying had sacrococcygeal teratoma, a rare tumor that appeared at the base of baby's tailbone. (Wang, 10/26)

The Associated Press: Man Accused In Hospital Computer Hack Wages Hunger Strike
A man who acknowledges he attacked the computer network at world-renowned Boston Children’s Hospital two years ago, costing it hundreds of thousands of dollars, is waging a hunger strike in prison as he awaits trial. Martin Gottesfeld said his 3-week-old hunger strike was meant to bring attention to the treatment of troubled youths in institutions and the “political prosecutions” by prosecutors he considers overzealous, including U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Massachusetts. (Lavoie, 10/26)

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