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KHN First Edition: November 8, 2016


First Edition

Tuesday, November 08, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

California Healthline: California’s Drug Price Initiative: Will Voters ‘Send A Signal To Washington’?
Pauline Bartolone reports: "This year, Mary O’Connor and her father made voting a family affair. O’Connor’s father is a Vietnam veteran, so she was especially interested in his views on Proposition 61, a California ballot measure that would peg the state’s payments for prescription drugs to prices paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s widely believed the federal program for military personnel gets some of the deepest discounts in the country." (Bartolone, 11/7)

Kaiser Health News: Vietnam Veteran Who Died Of Hepatitis Added To Memorial Wall
Michelle Andrews reports: "The Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, but it continues to claim soldiers’ lives. Nearly every spring new names are etched into the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., that pays tribute to the more than 58,000 service members who lost their lives. Jim McGough is one of them." (Andrews, 11/8)

Kaiser Health News: ‘Durable Cure’ Is Goal For Childhood Cancer, But Recent Patients Have Persistent Issues
Carmen Heredia Rodriguez reports: "Although advances in medicine are saving more children diagnosed with cancer, new research suggests some lingering health problems in adulthood are growing with each generation of survivors. In a study published Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine, adults diagnosed with childhood cancers in the 1990s reported some worse health outcomes than those treated in the 1970s or 1980s. (Heredia Rodriguez, 11/8)

Kaiser Health News: Laughing Gas For Labor Pain? It’s Poised For A Comeback
RINPR's Kristin Espeland Gourlay reports: "Since the mid-1800s, laughing gas been used for pain relief, but it’s usually associated with a visit to the dentist. In the early 20th century, women used it to ease the pain of labor, but its use declined in favor of more potent analgesia. Now, a small band of midwives is helping to revive its use in the U.S." (Espeland Gourlay, 11/8)

Kaiser Health News: Big Hospital Network Cracks Down On The Right To Sue
KQED's April Dembosky reports: "San Francisco Bay Area companies say Sutter Health is strong-arming them into a contract that would help the hospital system secure its power over prices and potentially raise the cost of medical care for their employees in the future. Dozens of companies have received a letter, via their insurance administrators, asking them to waive their rights to sue Sutter. If they don’t, a fact sheet included in the letter says, the companies’ employees who get care through Sutter’s network of hospitals, doctors and medical services will no longer have access to discounted in-network prices." (Dembosky, 11/8)

The Associated Press: From President To Pot: A Look At Key Races In Every State
Much more is at stake on Election Day than the White House. State by state, district by district, neighborhood by neighborhood, candidates and campaigners are making their last pitch for Congress, state legislatures, governor’s offices, ballot questions, judgeships, city councils and lots more. A nationwide look at important, interesting and occasionally odd matters that go before voters on Tuesday. (11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: HealthCare.Gov Site Straining To Keep Up With Enrollees has been straining to handle this year’s would-be enrollees, who are frequently being placed in holding areas on the site to avoid crashing the sign-up system, enrollment workers around the country say. Online “waiting rooms,” where people are sent at times when the site’s capacity is stretched, have been deployed regularly since the new sign-up period began last Tuesday, Nov. 1. (Radnofsky, 11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Insurance Rate Hikes Pinch Those Without Subsidies
In a letter from her health insurer just over a week ago, Tawni Phelan of Oklahoma City learned the cost of her family’s coverage, which they buy themselves, would nearly double next year. The new premium, about $974 a month, “would be a struggle” for Ms. Phelan, a 43-year-old who is self-employed, and her husband. Instead, they may try to get a small-business plan tied to her company. (Wilde Mathews and Armour, 11/7)

The New York Times: U.S. Enforcing Insurance Law To Help Fight Opioid Abuse
In one of President Obama’s last major health care initiatives, the administration is stepping up enforcement of laws that require equal insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses, a move officials say will help combat an opioid overdose epidemic. A White House task force on Oct. 27 said insurers needed to understand that coverage for the treatment of drug addiction must be comparable to that for other conditions like depression, schizophrenia, cancer and heart disease. (Pear, 11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Panel Urges FTC To Review Mylan
Lawmakers continued criticizing Mylan NV over its EpiPen injector, with two leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for the Federal Trade Commission to review whether Mylan engaged in anticompetitive practices. Committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) said in a letter to the FTC that the agency should look into issues including school contracts that restricted purchases of EpiPen competitors. (Beckerman, 11/7)

Reuters: U.S. Senate Panel Urges FTC To Launch Antitrust Probe Of Mylan
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee urged federal antitrust regulators on Monday to launch a probe into whether EpiPen maker Mylan NV broke the law by preventing schools from purchasing competing allergy treatments. The bipartisan request to the Federal Trade Commission by Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy comes just a few weeks before the committee is slated to convene a hearing to scrutinize a pending $465 million settlement that Mylan has said will resolve claims it underpaid rebates to state and federal Medicaid programs. (Lynch, 11/7)

Reuters: Three U.S. Senators Ask Mylan For EpiPen Military Reimbursements
Three members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, ahead of a planned hearing late this month, said Mylan NV appears to have greatly overcharged the military for its lifesaving allergy treatment EpiPen and asked the pharmaceutical company when it plans to reimburse the Department of Defense. (Pierson, 11/7)

The New York Times: Janet Reno Refused To Let Parkinson’s Define Her
Janet Reno sat in a wheelchair with a blanket over her knees, her fingers curled inward so she could not shake hands. She was skinny — very skinny — almost unrecognizable as the prosecutor who had shot to fame as President Bill Clinton’s attorney general, the first woman to hold that position. Her family had consented to let us meet Ms. Reno this summer for an article about a Parkinson’s fund-raising event she has long participated in. They agreed because one of us, Marilyn, also has Parkinson’s, and the article was to be as much about her journey coming face to face with what her health is likely to look like a few decades from now as it would be about Ms. Reno. (Garateix and Robles, 11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: The Doctors Who Solve Medical Mysteries
When patients have a disease that can’t be diagnosed, they get sent to Wendy Chung. Dr. Chung heads the Discover program at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, which uses genetics to diagnose rare and complex diseases that have eluded traditional doctors and specialists. (Reddy, 11/7)

The New York Times: While Pregnant, Women Should Get Health Care 8 Times, W.H.O. Says
Women should see a doctor, nurse or trained midwife at least eight times during each pregnancy, with five of those visits in the last trimester, the World Health Organization said Monday as it issued 49 recommendations to prevent deaths in childbirth. Previously, the agency had advised women to visit clinics four times per pregnancy. It also acknowledges the important role of local midwives in poor countries where mothers must travel long distances to see doctors or nurses. (McNeil, 11/7)

NPR: The Latest Experimental Zika Vaccine Uses An Inactivated Virus
Federal scientists have launched another test in human volunteers of a Zika vaccine. This one uses a more traditional approach than an experiment that started in August. Federal officials are eager to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible, which is why they are pursuing multiple approaches. This experimental vaccine, called ZPIV, has already proved effective when designed to target a virus similar to Zika, called Japanese encephalitis. (Harris, 11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Biogen, Ionis Shares Rise After Positive Study Results
Biogen Inc. and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said their investigational treatment for spinal muscular atrophy showed highly statistically significant improvement in motor function in a phase 3 study of children with late onset cases of the disease. Ionis shares rose 18% to $31.95 and Biogen rose 6% to $293.56 recently in morning trading. So far this year Ionis has dropped 48% and Biogen has declined 4.2%. (Stynes, 11/7)

The Wall Street Journal: UPS Acquires Marken To Focus More On Medical Deliveries
United Parcel Service Inc. said Monday it agreed to acquire clinical logistics company Marken Ltd., deepening its push into the profitable business of medical deliveries. The move by UPS into the highly specialized industry could help it expand its express delivery business at a time when many of its traditional industrial and retail customers opt for slower, cheaper shipping options. (Esterl, 11/7)

The Associated Press: Man Who Made Up Twin Sons’ Hospital Stays Gets Prison Term
A New Jersey man who falsely claimed his young twin sons had lengthy hospital stays so he could collect more than $140,000 from his insurer is now headed to prison.State officials say Steven Herder received a three-year sentence Monday and must pay restitution to the insurance company. The 41-year-old Lindenwold man pleaded guilty last month to insurance fraud. (11/7)

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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