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KHN First Edition: November 15, 2016

KHN

First Edition

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Some Panic But Others Are Indifferent About Losing Obamacare
Jenny Gold reports: "The 20 million Americans who have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act don’t yet know exactly how the presidency of Donald Trump will change their lives — and reactions to that uncertainty range from anxiety to apathy. “My phone is ringing off the hook,” said Billy Bradford, an insurance broker in Montgomery, Ala. “People are just in panic mode here.” (Gold, 11/15)

Kaiser Health News: Despite Anger At Health Law’s Mandate, GOP Plans Could Also Have Penalties
Michelle Andrews reports: "The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people have health insurance or pay a fine is one of the least popular provisions of the law, and one that Republicans have pledged to eliminate when they repeal and replace Obamacare. But take a look at some of the conservative replacement proposals that are floating around and it becomes clear that the “individual mandate,” as it’s called, could still exist, but in another guise." (Andrews, 11/15)

Kaiser Health News: Medical Device Employees Are Often In The O.R., Raising Concerns About Influence
Sandra G. Boodman reports: "They are a little-known presence in many operating rooms, offering technical expertise to surgeons installing new knees, implanting cardiac defibrillators or performing delicate spine surgery. Often called device reps — or by the more cumbersome and less transparent moniker “health-care industry representatives” — these salespeople are employed by the companies that make medical devices: Stryker, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic, to name a few. Their presence in the OR, particularly common in orthopedics and neurosurgery, is part of the equipment packages that hospitals typically buy." (Boodman, 11/15)

The Washington Post: Despite Trump's Campaign Pledge, Obamacare Is Woven Into Nation’s Fabric, HHS Secretary Says
The nation's top health official made an appeal Monday morning for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act, insisting that the sprawling health-care law that President-elect Donald Trump is vowing to eliminate is “now woven into the fabric of our nation.” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell delivered the most extensive remarks of any Obama administration official since last week's election about the future of the law, suggesting that large numbers of Americans signing up now for ACA health plans will make it more difficult for Trump and congressional Republicans to take away that insurance or the federal subsidies that help pay for it. (Goldstein, 11/14)

Politico: Obama Dares Trump To Do Better On Obamacare
President Barack Obama said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump is "pragmatic" — and Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will test that approach. "Obviously, this has been the holy grail for Republicans: We gotta kill Obamacare," the president said at a post-election press conference. "But now that Republicans are in charge, they gotta take a look" at how the law is saving the government money and benefiting millions of people — both the 20 million covered directly by the law and millions more who receive insurance through employers and are getting extra protections under the health law, whether they recognize it or not. (Diamond, 11/14)

The New York Times: Health Care Issues Loom In Politics, Payments And Quality
The health care industry was unprepared for the presidential victory of Donald J. Trump, and executives at insurance companies and hospital systems are now uncertain what their business is going to look like in the years ahead. A Trump administration, coupled with a Republican Congress, is likely to lead to a reversal of many of the policies put into place by President Obama, and could mean a repeal of his signature health care law. (Abelson, 11/14)

The Washington Post: Trump Just Dropped A Big Hint To The Pharmaceutical Industry
A single sentence in President-elect Donald Trump's health-care platform sends a strong hint to the drug and medical device industry that they may have an easier time getting their products on the market under his administration. “Reform the Food and Drug Administration, to put greater focus on the need of patients for new and innovative medical products,” his health plan states. (Johnson, 11/14)

The Associated Press: Fast-Food Fan Trump Could Remake Healthy School Lunches
Will President-elect Donald Trump remake school lunches into his fast-food favorites of burgers and fried chicken? Children grumbling about healthier school meal rules championed by first lady Michelle Obama may have reason to cheer Trump's election as the billionaire businessman is a proud patron of Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's while promising to curb federal regulations. (11/15)

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Identifies Which Prescription Drugs Were Costliest In 2015
Medicare released new data identifying prescription medicines that had sharp price increases and those that accounted for its largest total spending in 2015. Medicare spending on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.’s diabetes drug Glumetza more than quadrupled to $153 million in 2015 from 2014, driven by a total price increase of 381%, according to the data, released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Glumetza prescription unit volume within Medicare declined 7% over the same period. (Walker, 11/14)

The Washington Post: Drugs For Hepatitis C And Diabetes Drove Medicare Spending In 2015
A hepatitis C treatment and a form of insulin led Medicare drug spending, adding up to more than $11 billion in 2015, according to an update of a federal database that highlights the drugs the government spent the most money on overall and per person -- and which ones had the biggest price increases. Of particular concern is a rise in price of some generics, a class of drugs that are intended to decrease drug prices and spending. (Johnson, 11/14)

USA Today: Some Medicare, Medicaid Drug Prices Soar As Reform Uncertain
Medicaid spending on the drugs that have undergone the greatest price increases soared in 2015, according to federal statistics released Monday that show how much higher drug prices have affected government health care programs. Of the 20 drugs whose prices have increased between 140% and 500% between 2014 and 2015, spending went from $146 million to $486 million, the data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show. (O'Donnell, 11/14)

The Wall Street Journal: One Employer Fights Against Prescription-Drug Abuse
A handful of companies are trying strong medicine to limit employees’ use of prescription painkillers like OxyContin. Engine-maker Cummins Inc. is one of the few large employers aggressively responding to opioid misuse in their ranks. After managers found evidence of drug activity in one of its plants in 2013, the Columbus, Ind., company now requires personnel to take drug tests for prescription painkillers and encourages employees to seek alternatives to their use. (Silverman, 11/15)

The Wall Street Journal: Clinical Trial For Long-Lasting Injectable Opioid Dependence Treatment Succeeds
A late-stage trial for an injectable treatment for addiction to heroin and other opioids was successful, potentially adding to the stable of treatments for the growing epidemic of opioid abuse, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals and Camurus AB said Monday. The trial follows a May U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of another treatment option from Braeburn: a long-lasting arm implant that provides six months’ worth of the drug—buprenorphine. (Hufford, 11/14)

The New York Times: Zika Infection In U.S. Is Still Rare So Far, Blood Donations Indicate
By the end of this week, all blood banks in the continental United States must begin testing donated blood for contamination with the Zika virus. Many banks are doing so already, and the early results indicate that the country has dodged a bullet — for now. Screenings in a dozen states suggest that Zika infection remains exceedingly rare. Among the approximately 800,000 blood donations tested in the past six months or so, about 40 were initially positive for the virus. (Saint Louis, 11/14)

The New York Times: Trying To Bring Home Hope From Cuba In The Form Of A Cancer Vaccine
Zuby Malik is an unlikely candidate to violate international law. A 78-year-old mother of four with a crown of silver hair, she is a retired obstetrician-gynecologist with a penchant for order. But Ms. Malik is fighting for her life. After receiving a Stage 4 non-small-cell lung cancer diagnosis a year ago, she exhausted many of the treatments available to her and grappled with torturous side effects that left her itching and gasping for breath. During the summer, she decided to go to Cuba and bring back a cancer vaccine that is not approved in the United States. (Jacobs, 11/14)

The Washington Post: Women Have More Rights In Places With Fewer Pathogens
There is a curious connection between sickness and social change. Studies suggest that communities suffering from more infectious diseases are more likely to be collectivist — ethnocentric, conformist, highly protective of their own group's members and antagonistic toward anyone from outside. (Kaplan, 11/14)

NPR: Spanking And Other Physical Discipline Declines As TimeOuts Rise
The share of U.S. mothers who spank their young children or endorse physical discipline has declined significantly over the past two and a half decades, according to an analysis of four national surveys. The findings, out Monday in the journal Pediatrics, came from an analysis of data from 1988 to 2011. Researcher found that 21 percent of median-income mothers of kindergarten-aged children endorsed physical discipline at the end of that period — down from 46 percent at the start. (Stein, 11/14)

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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