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KHN First Edition: November 1, 2016


First Edition

Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: 7 Tips To Help Avoid Costly Health Plan Enrollment Headaches
Michelle Andrews writes: "With the annual sign-up period for plans on the health law’s marketplaces starting Nov. 1, many consumers are worried about rising premiums, shrinking provider networks and the departure of major insurers such as UnitedHealthcare, Aetna and Humana from many exchanges.The impact on coverage will vary, but the shifting landscape means that it’s more important than ever for consumers to carefully evaluate the plans that are available in their area and choose the best one for their needs. There are several elements to factor into that decision." (Andrews, 11/1)

California Healthline: Blue Shield Again Owes Californians Millions In Health Care Rebates
Pauline Bartolone reports: "Blue Shield of California, already under scrutiny from the Department of Managed Health Care, is on the hook for almost $25 million dollars this year to enrollees and the employers that cover them and their dependents. A rule in the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to pay customers back when the insurers don’t spend enough money on medical care." (Bartolone, 11/1)

Kaiser Health News: Premature Births Rise Slightly, First Uptick In 8 Years, March Of Dimes Reports
Carmen Heredia Rodriguez reports: "The number of preterm births in the United States rose in 2015 for the first time in eight years, according to data presented Tuesday by the March of Dimes. The organization also reported that racial minorities continue to experience early labor at higher rates. Preterm births increased from 9.57 to 9.63 percent in 2015, which represents an additional 2,000 babies born prematurely in the U.S., the report found." (Heredia Rodriguez, 11/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Inside The Affordable Care Act’s Arizona Meltdown
When Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces launched in fall 2013, Arizona seemed like a success. Eight insurers competed to sign up consumers, offering a wide variety of plans and some of the lowest premiums in the country. Today, with ACA enrollment starting Nov. 1, Arizonans will find in most counties only one insurer selling exchange plans for 2017. (Wilde Mathews, 10/31)

The New York Times: Is High-Deductible Health Insurance Worth The Risk?
As companies push workers to pay more for their medical care, millions of employees are facing a tough decision, choosing between high premiums and high deductibles. The choice is this: Pay more every month for peace of mind later, or pay less and run the risk of having higher out-of-pocket costs down the line. (Abelson, 10/31)

The New York Times: Also-Ran To EpiPen Reaches For A Closing Window Of Opportunity
As the list price of a pair of EpiPen devices soared to more than $600 this summer, people scurried to find alternatives, occasionally throwing caution to the wind. Some bought cheap syringes filled with epinephrine, the medication in EpiPens; others made homemade auto-injectors, following the steps in a popular YouTube video. Few people, though, have turned to the one true alternative — known by the brand name Adrenaclick. (Thomas, 11/1)

The New York Times: Colombia Is Hit Hard By Zika, But Not By Microcephaly
This tropical city on the Caribbean coast may hold the answer to one of the deeper mysteries of the Zika epidemic: Why has the world’s second-largest outbreak, after Brazil’s, produced so few birth defects? In Brazil, more than 2,000 babies have been born with microcephaly, abnormally small heads and brain damage caused by the Zika virus. In Colombia, officials had predicted there might be as many as 700 such babies by the end of this year. There have been merely 47. (McNeil and Symmes Cobb, 10/31)

The Wall Street Journal: Cardinal Health Cuts Profit Guidance
Cardinal Health Inc. became the latest drug distributor to warn that the slowing pace of branded drug-price increases, and lower generic-drug pricing, was hurting results. During a conference call, Chief Executive George Barrett said the company faces a “very challenging” environment, as drug manufacturers react to criticism of high drug prices and pharmacies shop among distributors for the best generic prices. (Evans and Hufford, 10/31)

The Washington Post: Opioid Pills ‘Are Like Guns': More Than 13,000 Children Were Poisoned During Six-Year Period
Graphic images of a mom and dad passed out, mouths agape, in a car with their 4-year-old still strapped into the back seat. A video of a woman lying in a grocery store aisle as a toddler in pink pajamas cries and shakes her. The police report of a 7-year-old who told her bus driver on the way back from school that she couldn’t wake her parents. Such stories, circulated on social media in recent months, have highlighted the toll of the epidemic of opioid abuse on the youngest Americans. They have become a rallying cry for pediatricians calling for better psychological counseling and other supports to better protect the children of addicts. (Cha, 10/31)

The New York Times: For Melinda Gates, Birth Control Is Women’s Way Out Of Poverty
Melinda Gates has made providing poor women in developing countries access to contraception a mission. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which she leads with her husband, has donated more than $1 billion for family planning efforts and will spend about $180 million more this year. Since 2012, she has helped lead an international campaign to get birth control to 120 million more women by 2020. (Dugger, 11/1)

Los Angeles Times: Women In California Can Legally Get Birth Control Without A Prescription. But For Many, It's A Struggle
For many women in California, a new law that was supposed to make getting birth control easier has been a little disappointing. Under the law, women should be able to go to a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription and pick up hormonal contraception, including pills and patches. Although the legislation was passed in 2013, women still struggle to find pharmacists who will dole out the medicines. (Karlamangla, 10/31)

The New York Times: Medical Charities Once Advised On Coping With A Disease. Now They Try To Cure It.
Like every mother who has a sick child, Katie Clapp remembers with painful clarity the moment 24 years ago when her doctor called to say that her young son, Andy, had Fragile X, an inherited disease that causes intellectual disability. Ms. Clapp did not give up on Andy, and within two years she helped establish a foundation that has spent decades and millions of dollars on research for a cure. At the time, that kind of response was rare. (Harris, 10/31)

The New York Times: A New Death Toll For Smoking
A new study has found that 28.6 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States are attributable to cigarette smoking. Researchers calculated the number using the relative risks for 12 smoking-related cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia, mouth cancers, and those of the esophagus, stomach and colon. (Bakalar, 10/31)

Los Angeles Times: The Tobacco Tax Campaign Has Reached $100 Million. But This Time Something's Different
Never before have tobacco companies spent so much trying to defeat a cigarette tax hike in California. The $71 million raised by opponents of this year’s Proposition 56, which would add a $2 per pack tax on cigarettes, to date tops the industry’s totals in 2006 and 2012, when R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris successfully knocked down previous tobacco tax hikes at the ballot. But unlike those previous failed campaigns, proponents of this tobacco tax hike have done a lot more to match the industry’s dollars. (Dillon, 11/1)

Los Angeles Times: Mobile Devices In The Bedroom Rob Kids Of Sleep, Study Says
Good night, sleep tight, and don’t look into that tablet light. Dads and moms who are concerned about the quantity and quality of their children’s sleep should keep mobile devices like phones, tablets and laptops out of kids’ bedrooms, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. (Netburn, 10/31)

The Washington Post: Children’s Sleeplessness May Be Linked To Bedtime Use Of Electronic Gadgets
If you shrugged off the new screentime guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics earlier this month, you may want to grab your kid's tablet back for a second and reevaluate your position. An analysis published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics of data from 26,000 children provides the strongest evidence yet of a link between bedtime use of electronic devices and poor sleep, inadequate sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. (Cha, 10/31)

Los Angeles Times: Accepting More Facebook Friend Requests Is Linked To Lower Mortality, Study Says
Think online social networks have no bearing on your real life? Think again. Scientists who studied Facebook activity and mortality rates of registered California voters found that people who received many friend requests were far less likely to die over a two-year period than those who did not. Initiating friend requests, however, seemed to have no effect on death rates whatsoever. (Khan, 10/31)

Reuters: Cancer Survivors Take More Psych Meds Than Other People
People who live through a bout with cancer are more likely than others to use drugs for anxiety and depression, a study suggests. About 19 percent of adult cancer survivors take drugs for depression, anxiety or both, compared with roughly 10 percent of other adults, the study found. (10/31)

The New York Times: Studies Linked To Soda Industry Mask Health Risks
Do studies show that soft drinks promote obesity and Type 2 diabetes? It depends on who paid for the study. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, looked at studies of soft drink consumption and its relationship to obesity and diabetes published between 2001 and 2016. They found about 60 studies that were fairly rigorous in their methodology. (O'Connor, 10/31)

Los Angeles Times: A Neuropsychiatrist Explains Why We Crave Fear
Each Halloween, we are reminded that we are a nation divided. Some of us think going to an amusement park and being chased by people dressed as zombies is a really fun way to spend a Saturday night. Others think that sounds like torture. So why do some people love to be scared, while others find it so frightening? (Netburn, 10/31)

The Washington Post: Feel Ashamed? Good For You!
In the past, many psychologists theorized that shame was maladaptive and served no useful function. Earlier this year, however, anthropologists from California, Israel and the Netherlands put a positive spin on the much-maligned emotion in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Shame is a product of self-critique — we cannot feel shame without feeling guilty — and a consciousness of how others perceive our transgressions. For this reason, the anthropologists said, shame developed as a way of maintaining social order. (Ellis Nutt, 10/31)

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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