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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

5. Laughing Gas For Labor Pain? It's Poised For A Comeback

Nitrous oxide for laboring women was popular in the U.S. until the mid-20th century when it went out of favor when birth became more medicalized. Now, midwives are putting it back on the "menu" of pain relief options for childbirth. (Kristin Espeland Gourlay, RINPR, 11/8)

6. Political Cartoon: 'Politicophobia'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Politicophobia'" by Gary Varvel.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

ELECTION DAY, THE OUTCOME AND ITS IMPACT ON HEALTH POLICY

Today is the day
America gets to vote.
We will report back.

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Campaign 2016

7. Scathing Attacks Fly As National Spotlight Focuses On California Proposition To Curb High Drug Prices

“Court records alone show these drug companies have the morals and ethics of junkyard dogs,” says Garry South, the “Yes” campaign’s chief strategist. In other Election Day news, patients in hospitals may still have a chance to vote, a look at the direction the presidential candidates would take health care policy if they win, a rundown of important races and more.

Stat: Drug Pricing Fight In California Turns Even Uglier As Voting Nears
The bitter campaign over high drug prices in California is heating up as it’s winding down. New polls show Californians deadlocked over a ballot proposition that would cap the amount some state health plans pay for medications. In an 11th hour bid to rally support for the measure, Senator Bernie Sanders is canvassing the state Monday with events in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Meanwhile, his allies in the “Yes” campaign just put out a series of brutal online “Wanted” ads painting pharma execs as criminals. (Robbins and Keshavan, 11/7)

California Healthline: California’s Drug Price Initiative: Will Voters ‘Send A Signal To Washington’?
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)

Marketplace: In The Hospital? You Still May Be Able To Vote
Tomorrow, millions of us are planning to go to churches and schools, and cast our ballots on Election Day. But what if you get sick and end up in the hospital? In at least 13 states — including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas — patients can access what’s called an emergency absentee ballot, said Debra Cleaver with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Vote.org. (Gorenstein, 11/7)

Sacramento Bee: At Some Hospitals, Patients Get Their Ballots Hand-Delivered
In the June 7 presidential primary, roughly 59 percent of 8.5 million California voters used vote-by-mail ballots, according to the secretary of state’s office. Under state election laws, any voter who missed the absentee ballot deadline but cannot get to the polls “because of illness or disability” can make a signed, written request for an absentee ballot. That request can be delivered by someone they designate, such as a family member or hospital staffer, to the county elections office where they’re registered to vote. (Buck, 11/7)

Modern Healthcare: What Will Healthcare Policy Be Under President Trump Or Clinton? 
Hillary Clinton has promised to preserve and expand the ACA's coverage expansions and delivery system reforms. Donald Trump says he wants to repeal them, without offering much detail about what he would put in their place. The fate of the victor's proposals, however, will depend heavily on the partisan makeup of Congress. The clearest scenario is if Trump wins and his party retains control of both the House and the Senate, which would enable conservatives to repeal or roll back the ACA and implement at least some of the proposals outlined in the GOP party platform and the House Republican leadership white paper on healthcare. But there are divisions even among conservatives over issues such as Medicare restructuring and how to help Americans afford health insurance. And Senate Democrats almost certainly would use their filibuster power to block major ACA changes. (Meyer, 11/7)

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 Associated Press: Bloomberg Backs Cook County Soda Tax Proposal With Ad Spend
New York City's former mayor is spending $1 million in Illinois to support the effort to impose a penny-an-ounce tax on sugary drinks in Cook County. Michael Bloomberg is paying for a campaign of television and online advertisements in the Chicago market to counter the spending on advertising by the American Beverage Association, which opposes the tax. The ads supported by Bloomberg feature images of children and suggest money generated by the tax could be used to fund anti-violence initiatives. (11/8)

Seattle Times: How To Survive This ‘Stress Trigger’ Of An Election 
Experts in mental health, trauma and grief say this political season has inflicted deep wounds on the individual and collected consciousness of many, even some who may not even recognize their pain. According to Philip Cushman, a Seattle-area psychotherapist, the nation is already working its way through the stages of grief described by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her landmark work on death and dying: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. (Clarridge, 11/7)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

8. Healthcare.gov Capacity Being Tested By This Year's Enrollment Period

News outlets report on various aspects of this year's health insurance sign-up period.

The Wall Street Journal: HealthCare.Gov Site Straining To Keep Up With Enrollees
HealthCare.gov 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)

Health News Florida: Habits Must Change Before Health Care Prices Stabilize, Insurance Expert Says
One prediction of the Affordable Care Act was that health care prices would drop when more people became insured... But six years in, the price of health care continues to increase along with insurance premiums. It takes time to get the newly-insured to visit their physicians for preventative care instead of visiting the emergency room when something is wrong, sa
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