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KHN First Edition: November 2, 2016

KHN

First Edition

Wednesday, November 02, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

California Healthline: Maverick AIDS Activist To Porn Police? The Man Behind California’s Proposition 60
KQED's April Dembosky reports: "The man behind Proposition 60 — and all those billboards — is Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and a long-time maverick in gay activist circles. The nonprofit runs pharmacies and provides HIV care in 13 states and 37 countries, and gave away 38.5 million condoms last year. It’s putting $4.5 million from its pharmacy sales into backing the Proposition 60 condom mandate. (It also put $14.7 million behind Proposition 61, Weinstein’s initiative aimed at lowering drug prices.) Weinstein said he’s steadfastly promoting condoms when other groups seem to have forgotten them." (Dembosky, 11/2)

The Washington Post: Trump: If Obamacare Is Not Repealed, It ‘Will Destroy Health Care In America’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to summon Congress into a special session to end and replace the Affordable Care Act, as he portrayed the repeal of the contentious health-care law as a prime reason for voters to elect him. In midday remarks in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Trump went slightly beyond his previous promise to try to end the ACA, widely known as Obamacare, on the first day of a Trump administration. But his call for a special session puzzled many, as the current Congress is scheduled to reconvene after the election, and the new one will gavel in January, before Inauguration Day. (Goldstein and Johnson, 11/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Shifts Attacks To Obamacare, Health-Care Costs
The Republican presidential nominee renewed his call to repeal and replace the law known as Obamacare on the first day of the official sign-up period for coverage under the law, and in the wake of significant rate increases in many battleground states. ... The event represented an effort to spotlight the health law’s woes and build on the political edge Mr. Trump believes he has gained in recent days as Mrs. Clinton has been thrown on the defensive by new revelations about her email. The focus on the impact of the health-care law took the campaign into an unusual detour into policy and economic issues that are of direct concern to voters in a campaign that has been dominated by personal attacks. (Hook and Radnofsky, 11/1)

Los Angeles Times: Trump Warns That Obamacare Will 'Destroy American Healthcare Forever,' But Offers Few Details On How He'd Change It
Trump again offered little detail about how he would address rising health costs beyond vague pledges to reduce regulation of health insurance. He spent just eight minutes discussing healthcare in the speech, billed as a "special" address on the topic. But Trump’s new attacks come as state and federal officials nationwide open insurance marketplaces for 2017 enrollment amid widespread concerns about rising costs. (Levey, 11/1)

The Washington Post: The Future Of Health Care, According To Clinton Or Trump
Many Americans’ health care — and the roiling health-care debate in Washington — is likely to be very different depending on whether Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump becomes the next president. We looked at what both have said they would do with major aspects of the health-care system. (Goldstein, 11/1)

The Washington Post: Mike Pence’s Obamacare Fudge
Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence, while campaigning with Donald Trump, is again urging a complete repeal of Obamacare, echoing Trump’s view that it is an unmitigated disaster. Pence a couple of years ago struck a deal to expand Medicaid pursuant to the provisions of Obamacare in exchange for some waivers. Is he a hypocrite for now calling for its total repeal? (Jennifer Rubin, 11/1)

Politico: Bill Clinton Spars With Heckler Over Obamacare
Bill Clinton on Tuesday tangled with a heckler at a Florida rally who threw back at the former president the remarks he made in October that Obamacare was the "craziest thing in the world." Clinton, who has at times gotten heated on the campaign trail, especially bristled at the suggestion that he would support repealing President Barack Obama's signature health care law. (Griffiths, 11/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Enrollment Opens Amid Volatility
The fourth open enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act opened Tuesday, a critical 90 days that the Obama administration hopes will boost participation and stabilize markets roiled by premium increases and insurer withdrawals. HealthCare.gov and state equivalents began taking applications Tuesday morning from people signing up for individual health coverage and learning about their eligibility for subsidies. (Armour and Radnofsky, 11/1)

The Washington Post: Where Obamacare Prices Are Rising Dramatically
Open enrollment for the insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act kicks off Tuesday, and there’s a good chance consumers logging on to compare plans will face some sticker shock. Monthly insurance premiums for popular plans on HealthCare.gov are rising by 25 percent on average next year, according to government data. But the increases will be more dramatic in certain parts of the country, especially for consumers not receiving subsidies, the numbers show. (Marte, 11/1)

Los Angeles Times: Anthem Is Cutting Out-Of-Network Health Coverage In A 'Bait And Switch,' Lawsuit Says
On the first day of Obamacare open enrollment, a consumer group sued Anthem Blue Cross for attempting to automatically renew policies that no longer cover out-of-network costs for hundreds of thousands of Californians. A lawyer for Consumer Watchdog said Tuesday that Anthem was “railroading existing members into bare-bones plans” without properly disclosing the change to them in recent renewal letters. (sen, 11/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Why It Pays To Shop Around For That MRI
Consumers may drive across town to save a few bucks on a gallon of gas or $1 on a gallon of milk, but when it comes to health care, those same buyers aren’t as price-conscious. That is a problem for companies as health costs continue to rise, and it’s increasingly a problem for workers, too, as high-deductible health plans force employees to spend more out of pocket. (Silverman, 11/1)

Reuters: Senator Grassley Asks Defense Department To Explain EpiPen Spending
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday to explain spending trends for the EpiPen emergency allergy treatment. The request followed a recent report by Reuters detailing how EpiPen price hikes by manufacturer Mylan NV had added millions to U.S. Department of Defense spending since 2008 as the agency covered more prescriptions for the lifesaving allergy shot at near retail prices. (Beasley, 11/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Valeant, In Push For Cash, Looks To Sell Stomach-Drug Business
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. is in advanced talks to sell a big stomach-drug business to Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for about $10 billion, a move seen easing pressure on Valeant over its hefty debt load. The companies could reach a deal for Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., which Valeant bought just a year-and-a-half ago for roughly $11 billion, in the coming weeks, people familiar with the matter said. (Benoit and Rockoff, 11/2)

Los Angeles Times: To Fight Childhood Obesity, Task Force Recommends Screening All Kids Starting At Age 6
The fight against childhood obesity should begin in doctors’ offices with routine weight screening for all kids ages 6 and up, according to fresh advice from health experts. Draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urge pediatricians and other clinicians to check the body mass index of children and adolescents to identify patients who would benefit from weight counseling programs. (Kaplan, 11/1)

NPR: School Days Don't Pose The Biggest Risk For Weight Gain
Despite the lure of Halloween candy and Christmas treats, elementary school children are more likely to gain weight over the summer, a study finds. If you remember your childhood summers as filled with running around outside and doing cannonballs off the diving board, that may sound improbable. But a study published in Obesity on Wednesday is only the most recent research to show that the summer vacation is the danger zone for childhood obesity, suggesting that interventions need to move beyond what goes on during the school day. (Hobson, 11/2)

The New York Times: Infections, Not Antibiotics, May Be Tied To Childhood Obesity
Is use of antibiotics in infancy tied to childhood obesity? Some studies suggest so, but a new analysis suggests the link may be with infections, rather than antibiotics. Using records of a large health maintenance organization, researchers tracked 260,556 infants born from January 1997 through the end of March 2013. The database included details on antibiotic use, diagnosis and height and weight measurements from birth through age 18. (Bakalar, 11/1)

The New York Times: Safer To Puff, E-Cigarettes Can’t Shake Their Reputation As A Menace
A decade after electronic cigarettes were introduced in the United States, use has flattened, sales have slowed and, this fall, NJoy, once one of the country’s biggest e-cigarette manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy. It is quite a reversal for an invention once billed as the biggest chance to end smoking as we know it and take aim at the country’s largest cause of preventable death. (Tavernise, 11/1)

The Washington Post: Budget Leaders: Va.’s Medicaid Program Will Need An Extra $281 Million
Virginia’s Medicaid program will need an extra $281 million during the current two-year budget, adding to the state’s already substantial budget woes and reviving Richmond’s bitterly partisan battle over expanding health-care for the poor. The projected cost overrun, disclosed to legislative budget leaders Tuesday, comes on top of the $9.3 billion the state had budgeted to fund the health-care program through fiscal years 2017 and 2018. (Vozzella, 11/2)

The Washington Post: McAuliffe Announces New Website To Fight Opioid Abuse
Virginia state government has a new website designed to help battle opioid and heroin addiction. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday the creation of VaAware.com, which he said was an informational tool for the public, health care practitioners and law enforcement officials. Opioid deaths in Virginia have risen dramatically in recent years. In 2015, there were 801 deaths, a nearly 50 percent increase since 2012. (11/2)

The Washington Post: Parents Injected Children With Heroin As ‘Feel Good Medicine,’ Police Say
A Washington state couple is facing numerous charges after police said the parents kept their three young children in a home littered with rat droppings and drug needles and injected them with heroin, which they called “feel good medicine.” Ashlee Hutt, 24, and Mac Leroy McIver, 25, have been charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance to a person under 18, criminal mistreatment in the second degree and assault of a child in the second degree, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in September in Pierce County Superior Court. (Bever, 11/1)

The Washington Post: Inova Lures U-Va. To Northern Virginia With $112 Million Research Center
Inova Health System is nearing a $112 million deal with the University of Virginia School of Medicine to bolster its effort to become a national leader in genomics and cancer research. Leaders from both organizations plan to announce an agreement Wednesday to form a research partnership and bring a regional campus of the university’s medical school to Inova’s planned Center for Personalized Health in Merrifield. (O'Connell, 11/2)

The Washington Post: Seattle Cancer Center Bets Big On Experimental T-Cell Immunotherapy
Suzanne McCarroll, a television news reporter in Denver, had been in remission from non-Hodgkin lymphoma for almost eight years when the cancer returned in May 2015. She had a stem-cell transplant, but the disease came back again in January. What, she wondered, should she do now? After talking to her doctor and her brother, a neurobiologist at Harvard, McCarroll enrolled in an early-stage clinical trial using immunotherapy at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Researcher Center in Seattle. (McGinley, 11/1)

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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