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From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

3. Political Cartoon: 'Turn Turtle?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Turn Turtle?'" by Lee Judge, The Kansas City Star.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


At noon on this day
One presidency ends. And
The next takes the oath.

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:

Administration News

4. Trump To Take Office Amid Deep Uncertainty Surrounding Future Of Health Care

It's still unclear how Donald Trump's views on health care will mesh with congressional Republicans' ideas, but the eyes of a nation are watching as they navigate dismantling Barack Obama's signature legislation.

The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Presidency: A Look At His Proposed Policy Shifts
Mr. Trump takes office grasping a lightning rod of American domestic policy—health care. His party has already begun on the repeal, and potential replacement, of Barack Obama ’s signature health-care law, but the task of reworking a sweeping social program six years into its lifespan is proving messy. Republicans, including Mr. Trump, have put forward various ideas to serve as alternatives to the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which extended insurance to millions of Americans but also triggered criticism over rising premiums for some users and insurer withdrawals from the individual market. The party has yet to unify behind a single plan, and it remains unclear how much influence will be exerted by Mr. Trump and his administration and how much they will leave to four congressional committees and other groups of interested lawmakers to hash out in the House and Senate. (1/20)

Meanwhile, Stat offers a look at which medical companies are spending money on inauguration activities —

Stat: Biopharma Ponies Up For Inaugural Events
With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration mere hours away, celebrations in Washington, D.C., are getting underway, and the money — among other things — is flowing. Beginning Thursday and stretching through the weekend, most state societies and a number of players in the health care and pharmaceutical industries are hosting inaugural events. (Facher and Kaplan, 1/19)

5. Price's Health Record, Instead Of His Stocks, Under Fire From Democrats

Critics of the HHS nominee say that he has a long career of trying to take health care away from millions of Americans. Meanwhile, NPR offers a look at his stock portfolio. In other news, a pharma CEO and campaign donor wanted a study that questioned the safety of one of his drugs removed from a government website -- so he turned to Price for help.

Morning Consult: Senate Democrats Gather Witnesses To Critique Trump’s Health Pick
Senate Democrats on Thursday kept up the critiques of President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, hosting witnesses in a Senate office building to talk about how the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid helped make their health care more affordable. Democrats focused their attacks on Rep. Tom Price’s (R-Ga.) health policy record rather than his stock trading, which was a big focus of his hearing before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday. (McIntire, 1/19)

NPR: Rep. Tom Price And His Health Care Portfolio
Georgia Republican Tom Price, who is President-elect Trump's choice to run the Department of Health and Human Services, is suddenly drowning in questions over the investments he has made while serving in the House of Representatives. The issue: Did Price use his position to influence the stock prices of companies he had invested in? Or, alternatively, did he buy shares in companies ahead of actions in Congress that might boost their value? (Kodjak, 1/19)

ProPublica: When A Study Cast Doubt On A Heart Pill, The Drug Company Turned To Tom Price 
The $3 pill known as BiDil was already a difficult sell when a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company bought the marketing rights a few years ago. A treatment for African Americans suffering from heart failure, BiDil had never really caught on, forcing the drug company that developed it to take a buyout offer. One strike against the drug was a 2009 study that raised questions about its safety and effectiveness. So last summer, the new owner of the drug, Arbor Pharmaceuticals LLC of Atlanta, sought to get the study taken down from a government website. For help, the company turned to the office of a congressman to whom the CEO had given the maximum $2,700 campaign donation — Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican nominated by Donald Trump to become head of the Department of Health and Human Services. (Faturechi, 1/19)

CQ Roll Call: HHS Nominee Price, Staff Aided Donors In Battles With Agencies
President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services has advocated over the years for companies with the federal agencies he may soon oversee. At least three of the companies aided by Rep. Tom Price and his staff contributed to his campaign funds. A CQ Roll Call review of more than 5,600 pages of congressional correspondence with HHS employees provide a picture of a lawmaker who has taken a deep interest in the workings of the Medicare entitlement program’s payments to the health industry. Price, a former surgeon, or his staff also pressured the Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to heed requests and complaints he received from donors and constituents. (Young and Siddons, 1/19)

6. Collins To Retain Spot As Head Of NIH -- For Now

It is not yet known whether Trump will permanently reappoint Dr. Francis Collins to be his NIH director for his full term.

Stat: NIH Director Francis Collins To Stay On, At Least For Now, Under Trump
Dr. Francis Collins is being held over as the director of the National Institutes of Health by the Trump administration, his office announced Thursday afternoon. Collins had been prepared to step down from the post on Friday, after Trump’s inauguration, and return to his lab at the NIH Bethesda campus. However, with Thursday’s news, he will remain as director for the time being. (Scott, 1/19)

The Washington Post: NIH Director Francis Collins To Stay In His Post For Now
Collins, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009, has said he would like to keep the job. He met with Trump last week in New York. Among the others said to be in the running to head the huge biomedical research agency are Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) and biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong. (Bernstein, 1/19)

CQ Roll Call: Collins To Stay At Helm Of NIH, Says Agency Official
Several GOP congressional leaders, including Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, had urged Trump to keep Collins at the helm of the agency. Collins previously told CQ Roll Call he would stay in the role if asked but that he did not know if that would occur. (Williams, 1/19)

In other news about the incoming administration —

Kaiser Health News: Trump’s Nominee For Agriculture Has Key Health Role
Amid the cacophony of confirmation hearings for Cabinet nominees, President-elect Donald Trump reportedly has settled on former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to fill the final Cabinet-department vacancy: secretary of Agriculture. Although consumers may simply think of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) as responsible for overseeing the farming industry, it also plays a key role in promoting health. The department is influential in maintaining the nation’s health in four key areas. (Heredia Rodriguez, 1/20)

Health Law

7. Governors Make Case For Federal Medicaid Funding But Want Money On Their Terms

Republican governors meet with members of the Senate Finance Committee to pitch "creative" ideas so that people who gained coverage through the health law's expansion of Medicaid don't lose it.

CNN: Why GOP Governors Like Medicaid Under Obamacare. Hint: $
Several GOP governors met with the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday to discuss the future of Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Also, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has asked all governors to submit the changes they'd like made to Medicaid and Obamacare. ... [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich, one of the early GOP governors to embrace expansion, defended portions of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday. He noted that people, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, want to make sure they don't lose their coverage. (Luhby, 1/19)