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KHN First Edition: October 31, 2016


First Edition

Monday, October 31, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

California Healthline: FDA Faults 12 Hospitals For Failing To Disclose Injuries, Deaths Linked To Medical Devices
Chad Terhune reports: "Federal regulators said 12 U.S. hospitals, including well-known medical centers in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, failed to promptly report patient deaths or injuries linked to medical devices. The Food and Drug Administration publicly disclosed the violations in inspection reports this week amid growing scrutiny of its ability to identify device-related dangers and protect patients from harm." (Terhune, 10/28)

Kaiser Health News: Sounds Like A Good Idea? High-Risk Pools
This is the third in a series of videos about campaign health proposals that “sound like a good idea.” This one explores why a Republican suggestion to establish a new federal high-risk insurance pool may not be such a good idea after all. (Rovner and Ying, 10/31)

Kaiser Health News: Insurers, Hospitals Clash Over Help Paying Obamacare Premiums
Phil Galewitz reports: "Having health insurance is vital for 21-year-old Mercedes Nimmer, who takes several expensive prescription drugs to manage multiple sclerosis. So Nimmer was thrilled to get health insurance last year through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace and qualify for a federal subsidy to substantially lower her cost. Yet, the government assistance still left her with a $33 monthly premium, a hefty amount for Nimmer, who makes $11,000 a year as a part-time supply clerk." (Galewitz, 10/31)

Kaiser Health News: Presidential ‘Parity’ Panel Offers Steps To Treat Mental Illness Like Other Disease
Jenny Gold reports: "Acknowledging that “there is more work to be done” to ensure that patients with mental illness and addiction do not face discrimination in their health care, a presidential task force made a series of recommendations Friday including $9.3 million in funding to improve enforcement of the federal parity law. The long-awaited report is the product of a task force President Barack Obama announced in March during a speech about the opioid epidemic." (Gold, 10/31)

The New York Times: As Health Premiums Jump, Obama Wields An Imperfect Shield
Urging people to sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama said last week that while premiums might be rising, most consumers need not worry. “Premiums going up,” he said, “don’t necessarily translate into higher premiums for people who are getting tax credits.” ... But left unmentioned in the pitch to consumers are what economists and health policy experts describe as possible reasons to be concerned about rising premiums. (Pear, 10/30)

The New York Times: Increase In Health Act Premiums May Affect Arizona Vote
Arizona was shaping up to be one of the more unlikely battlegrounds of the 2016 campaign when a political bombshell appeared to explode last week: The Obama administration revealed that the cost of midlevel plans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace here would increase next year by 116 percent on average. Senator John McCain, running for re-election against the headwind of Donald J. Trump, took the bad news as a gift, highlighting it in a new television ad that begins, “When you open up your health insurance bill and find your premiums are doubling, remember that McCain strongly opposes Obamacare.” (Goodnough, 10/29)

NPR: Elective Abortion Services Cut By Maine Insurance Co-Op
The largest provider of health coverage on the Affordable Care Act's online marketplace in Maine has dropped coverage of elective abortion services. Community Health Options, an insurance co-op, decided to eliminate the coverage as it tries to dig itself out of a $31 million financial hole that it accumulated in 2015. (Wight, 10/29)

The Wall Street Journal: Warning Of A Price War Among Drug Wholesalers Sends Shares Sliding
Shares of drug wholesalers were slammed Friday amid signs that a price war has broken out in the sector, following a dour earnings report from McKesson Corp., one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S. McKesson sharply cut its annual profit outlook Thursday afternoon, citing the decelerating rise of drug prices and internal competition among the companies that bridge drug manufacturers with pharmacies. (Minaya, 10/28)

The Wall Street Journal: FDA Rejects Sanofi-Regeneron Arthritis Drug Over Plant Deficiencies
U.S. health regulators have rejected a promising rheumatoid arthritis treatment being developed jointly by Sanofi SA and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. over deficiencies found at a French plant, the companies said Friday. Sanofi, which had disclosed the deficiencies earlier in the day when it released third-quarter results, has submitted a plan to correct the issues, the companies said. (Armental, 10/28)

The New York Times: First Baby In Puerto Rico With Zika-Related Microcephaly Born
The first child in Puerto Rico with Zika-related microcephaly has been born, the territory’s secretary of health announced Friday. The fetus’s abnormally small head was not detected until the mother was nearly eight months pregnant, according to The Associated Press, even though the mother was probably infected in her second month. (McNeil, 10/28)

The Washington Post: There’s A Shortage Of Child Psychiatrists, And Kids Are Hurting
Pediatrician Karen Rhea said she found it “gut-wrenching” to see young people in psychiatric crisis: a teen who overdosed, the one with mental illness who landed in jail, the high school senior who tried to kill herself by crashing her car. With a population of about 20,000 then, Franklin, Tenn., where she practiced, had no child and adolescent psychiatrists, so Rhea spent long hours searching for inpatient care, phoning judges, looking for mental-health specialists in Nashville 20 miles away. Sometimes her efforts made a difference. The suicide survivor thrived in therapy. She wrote a note to Rhea, thanking her for saving her life. (Vander Schaaff, 10/30)

The Washington Post: New Data Shows A Deadly Measles Complication Is More Common Than Thought
A complication of measles that kills children years after they have been infected is more common than previously thought, according to disturbing data released Friday. ... The complication is a neurological disorder that can lie dormant for years and then is 100 percent fatal. Researchers don't know what causes the virus to reactivate, and there is no cure once it does. The only way to prevent the disorder is by vaccinating everyone possible against measles. (Sun, 10/28)

NPR: Gene Scans For Newborns Open Big Privacy Questions
Just about every day, genetic counselor Shawn Fayer heads to the maternity ward at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and tries to convince new parents to give him a blood sample. Fayer is offering gene sequencing for newborns. It gives parents a tantalizing look at their baby's genetic information. (Harris, 10/31)

Reuters: Kids Believe E-Cigs Less Dangerous Than Cigarettes
A majority of U.S. middle and high schoolers say that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes and that such products as smokeless tobacco and cigars fall somewhere in between, according to national surveys. They’re not necessarily wrong, but that comes with caveats, experts say. (10/28)

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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