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KHN First Edition: November 22, 2016


First Edition

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Uncertain Fate Of Health Law Giving Health Industry Heartburn
Julie Rovner and Chad Terhune report: "Six years into building its business around the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s $3 trillion health care industry may be losing that political playbook. Industry leaders, like many voters, were stunned by the election of Donald Trump and unprepared for Republicans’ plans to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. In addition, Trump’s vague and sometimes conflicting statements on health policy have left industry officials guessing as to the details of any substitute for the federal health law." (Rovner and Terhune, 11/21)

Kaiser Health News: In Depressed Rural Kentucky, Worries Grow Over Medicaid
Phil Galewitz reports: "For Freida Lockaby, an unemployed 56-year-old woman who lives with her dog in an aging mobile home in one America’s poorest places, the Affordable Care Act was life altering. The law allowed Kentucky to expand Medicaid in 2014 and made Lockaby — along with 440,000 other low-income state residents — newly eligible for free health care under the state-federal insurance program. Enrollment gave Lockaby her first health insurance in 11 years." (Galewitz, 11/21)

Kaiser Health News: Clinics Help Keep People With Serious Mental Illness Out Of ER
Liz Szabo reports: "Yolanda Solar has battled a life-threatening disease for more than three decades. The disease nearly killed her last summer, and Solar, a 73-year-old grandmother, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. When Solar was discharged one week later, she received bad news: She would have to wait until March to see a doctor." (Szabo, 11/22)

Kaiser Health News: Dementia Rates Decline Sharply Among Senior Citizens
Liz Szabo reports: "A new study finds that the prevalence of dementia has fallen sharply in recent years, most likely as a result of Americans’ rising educational levels and better heart health, which are both closely related to brain health. Dementia rates in people over age 65 fell from 11.6 percent in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012, a decline of 24 percent, according to a study of more than 21,000 people across the country published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine." (Szabo, 11/21)

The Associated Press: House Seeks Delay In Health Law Appeal Pending New President
The Republican-led House of Representatives is asking the federal appeals court in Washington to delay consideration of a case involving the Obama health care law because Donald Trump has pledged to repeal and replace it when he becomes president. The House won a ruling in U.S. district court that held the administration is illegally subsidizing medical bills for millions of people while ignoring congressional power over government spending. (11/21)

Politico: House Asks Court To Pause Obamacare Lawsuit
The House argues that Obamacare did not properly fund the health care law’s payments to health insurance companies to help low-income people pay for their out-of-pocket health care costs. The Obama administration argues that the subsidies were properly funded. If Trump’s Justice Department doesn’t continue to defend Obamacare, the subsidies mght be eliminated almost immediately. That’s because the lower court had already sided with the House, ruling that the health care law didn’t properly fund the subsidies. (Haberkorn, 11/21)

The Associated Press: For Trump And GOP,' Obamacare' Repeal Is Complex And Risky
Here's the idea: Swiftly pass a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law, perhaps soon enough for Donald Trump to sign it the day he takes the presidential oath. Then approve legislation restructuring the nation's huge and convoluted health care system — despite Republican divisions, Democratic opposition and millions of jittery constituents. What could go wrong? (11/22)

NPR: Trump Health Overhaul Could Follow Paul Ryan's Playbook
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are vowing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the signature health care overhaul of President Obama. Trump has offered a few ideas of where he'd like to see a health care overhaul go, such as a greater reliance on health savings accounts, but he hasn't provided a detailed proposal. The absence of specifics on health care from the president-elect makes the 37-page plan that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has released the fullest outline of what Republicans would like to replace Obamacare. Some health policy analysts say it looks a bit like Obamacare light. (Kodjak, 11/21

The Wall Street Journal: Uncertainty Ahead For Health Insurer Started By Kushner’s Brother
For health insurance startup Oscar Insurance Corp., the election of Donald Trump could be a tough pill to swallow, complicated by ownership ties to the incoming administration that will put it under a bright spotlight. The New York company built its business on the Affordable Care Act, the health law that Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to dismantle. Josh Kushner, brother of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, is a co-founder, and prominent Trump supporter Thiel is among Oscar’s main investors. (Winkler and Wilde Mathews, 11/21)

The Washington Post: The Family Tie That Could Make Whatever Trump Does To Obamacare Awkward
President-elect Donald Trump's promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act raises a host of questions for health-insurance companies and consumers. ... Oscar Health, a start-up insurance company that has been valued at $2.7 billion, grappled with the uncertainty last week. In a blog post, its founders acknowledged the unknowns: “Though the precise nature of these changes has not yet been determined, we believe it is important to set forth Oscar's observations on the health care landscape.” A co-author of that blog post happens to be Joshua Kushner — the brother of Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner. (Johnson, 11/21)

The Associated Press: EpiPen Manufacturer Will Be A No-Show At Senate Hearing
Pharmaceutical company Mylan is refusing to testify at a congressional hearing next week on a settlement between the company and the Justice Department over its life-saving EpiPen. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, an attorney for Mylan said company executives wouldn't testify at the Nov. 30 hearing because the settlement is a pending matter and the Justice Department would also not be attending. (11/21)

The Washington Post: Her Daughter ‘Died’ From An Opioid Overdose. And Then ‘She Was Back.’
Roxanne Shuttleworth was in shock. Her 31-year-old daughter had called her on the phone to explain that she and a friend had overdosed on a drug that, unknown to them, was cut with carfentanil, a deadly synthetic opioid that authorities say is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than its cousin, fentanyl. Her daughter was in a hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she had been brought in as "an unknown," or a Jane Doe — too ill to communicate with the medical team that was trying to keep her alive. Once she regained consciousness, she called her mother and told her that she had died but that doctors had then saved her with an opioid overdose antidote known as naloxone. (Bever, 11/21)

The Washington Post: Virginia Declares Opioid Emergency, Makes Antidote Available To All
Virginia’s health commissioner on Monday declared opioid addiction to be a public health emergency and issued a standing prescription for any resident to get the drug Naloxone, which is used to treat overdoses. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said the actions are in response to not only the rising problem of painkiller overdoses, but also to evidence that a synthetic large-animal sedative called Carfentamil is being abused in Virginia. (Schneider, 11/21)

The New York Times: Telling Mosquitoes Apart With A Cellphone
Simple cellphones can tell one type of mosquito from another by their hums, which may be useful in fighting mosquito-borne diseases, according to new research from Stanford University. Calling their project “Shazam for Mosquitoes,” after the phone app that identifies music, students from the university’s Bio-X institute showed that common cellphones could record mosquito wing beats accurately enough to distinguish, for example, Culex mosquitoes, which spread West Nile virus, from Aedes mosquitoes, which spread Zika. (McNeil, 11/21)

The New York Times: U.S. Dementia Rates Are Dropping Even As Population Ages
Despite fears that dementia rates were going to explode as the population grows older and fatter, and has more diabetes and high blood pressure, a large nationally representative survey has found the reverse. Dementia is actually on the wane. And when people do get dementia, they get it at older and older ages. (Kolata, 11/21)

NPR: Dementia And Alzheimer's Are Affecting Fewer People
While the prevalence of dementia cases dropped, the average amount of education in the study population increased. ... Researchers don't know why education should be a protector against dementia, says Dr. Kenneth Langa, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and the lead author of the study. But they have some theories. "One is that education might actually change the brain itself," Langa says. "We think that it actually creates more, and more complicated, connections between the nerve cells so that you're able to keep thinking normally later into life." (Jaffe, 11/21)

The New York Times: Bayer’s Essure Contraceptive Implant, Now With A Warning
Kim Myers used to compete in rodeo-style barrel horse races, but after being sterilized with an implantable device called Essure, the pain was so intense that she had to stop. The device’s small metal and polyester coils had pierced her fallopian tubes, her doctor found, so the two implants were removed. But the sharp, laborlike pains didn’t really subside until three years later, when Ms. Myers had a hysterectomy. (Rabin, 11/21)

The Washington Post: The Disturbing Airborne Allergen In Schools That May Be Exacerbating Your Kid’s Asthma
If you have a kid diagnosed with asthma, it probably is not news to you that the environment in which children with the condition spend their time can play a major role in how well they are doing. As such, you may have ripped out all of the carpets in your home and banned pets. You may also obsessively wash dust-mite pillow covers and other bedding several times a week. (Cha, 11/21)

Los Angeles Times: Why Your Doctor Might Start Grocery Shopping With You
A mother and her teenage son approach Ana Cristina Jurczyk near the entrance of a Food 4 Less grocery store in Anaheim. Boxes of Cheetos and Frosted Flakes are stacked to the ceiling next to them. The mother explains to Jurczyk, a registered dietitian, that her son wants to vomit when he eats vegetables. “That’s probably psychological,” says Jurczyk, smiling. (Karlamangla, 11/22)

The Associated Press: London Girl’s Remains Cryogenically Preserved In Michigan
The remains of a 14-year-old London girl whose dying wish was to be cryogenically preserved with the hope of someday being brought back to life are being kept at the Michigan-based Cryonics Institute. “It was her wish to be cryopreserved, and her wish was granted,” Andy Zawacki, facility manager at the Cryonics Institute in the Detroit suburb of Clinton Township, said Monday. It is one of three full-service cryonics facilities in the world. The others are in Arizona and Russia. (Householder, 11/21)

The Associated Press: Judge: Severely Anorexic Patient Can Refuse Force-Feedings
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a severely anorexic woman who’s been committed to a state psychiatric hospital since 2014 has the right to refuse force-feedings. The 29-year-old Morris County woman, who weighs 69 pounds, informed the court earlier this month that she doesn’t want food or water and would instead like to enter palliative care. (11/21)

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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