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KHN First Edition: February 7, 2017


First Edition

Tuesday, February 07, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: If Obamacare Is Being Repealed, Do The Uninsured Still Face Penalties?
Michelle Andrews writes: "In some recent emails, readers asked about what to expect as Republicans move to overhaul the health law. Should people bother paying the penalty for not having health insurance when they file their taxes this year? Will they be able to sign up on the exchange for 2018 after their COBRA benefits end? Here are some answers." (Andrews, 2/7)

Kaiser Health News: Could Minnesota Health Reforms Foreshadow Repeal And Replace?
Minnesota Public Radio's Mark Zdechlik reports: "What’s going to happen to the federal health law? The quick answer is no one knows. But in the midst of the uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act, states still must govern their insurance markets. Most have been muddling through with the 2017 status quo, but Minnesota is a special case, taking three unusual actions that are worth a closer look." (Zdechlik, 2/7)

The New York Times: From ‘Repeal’ To ‘Repair’: Campaign Talk On Health Law Meets Reality
Asked at a confirmation hearing two weeks ago if he was working with President Trump on a secret plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, Representative Tom Price, Mr. Trump’s nominee for secretary of health and human services, smiled broadly and answered: “It’s true that he said that, yes.” The committee room, filled with health care lobbyists, consumer advocates and others with a vital stake in the future of the health care law, erupted with knowing laughter at Mr. Price’s careful formulation. (Shear and Pear, 2/6)

NPR: Trump, Some Republicans Say Obamacare Replacement Won't Happen Soon
There's a moment in the Broadway musical Hamilton where George Washington says to an exasperated Alexander Hamilton: "Winning is easy, young man. Governing's harder." When it comes to health care, it seems that President Trump is learning that same lesson. Trump and Republicans in Congress are struggling with how to keep their double-edged campaign promise — to repeal Obamacare without leaving millions of people without health insurance. (Kodjak, 2/6)

The Wall Street Journal: Conservative Republicans Double Down On Push To Repeal Health Law
Conservative Republicans, worried about growing voices within the party advising or accepting a slower pace for repealing the Affordable Care Act, are redoubling their push to speed the GOP’s long-desired goal. President Donald Trump on Sunday became the latest top Republican to sound cautious notes about the party’s ability to rapidly repeal large swaths of the 2010 health law and enact its own vision. He told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that “maybe it’ll take until sometime into next year,” saying repeal and replacement was “statutorily” difficult to accomplish quickly. (son and Radnofsky, 2/6)

Politico: Trump Administration Weighs Obamacare Changes Sought By Insurers
The Trump administration is considering major changes to Obamacare that may help convince insurers to remain in the law's marketplaces while Congress drafts a replacement plan — but the proposals may also limit enrollment and increase costs for older Americans, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The administration is looking to alter rules around insurers charging older customers more, how much cost they can shift onto customers, and who's allowed to sign up outside the standard enrollment window. They represent changes that the industry had previously asked the Obama administration to make. (Diamond, Haberkorn and Demko, 2/6)

NPR: Medicaid Expansion That Helped Homeless Is In Jeopardy
Everyone expects Congress to change the Affordable Care Act. But no one know exactly how. The uncertainty has one group of people especially concerned — the homeless. Many of these people received health coverage for the first time under Obamacare. They're worried it will disappear. (Fessler, 2/7)

Los Angeles Times: Zika Virus Is Here To Stay. Here's How California Is Preparing For That New Reality
Jason Farned set down a clear container in the middle of a table. The people gathered around leaned forward to peer at the tiny, zooming blurs trapped inside. “The deadliest creature in the world is the mosquito,” said Farned, who works for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District, a government agency that manages insect populations. By some estimates, mosquitoes transmit diseases that kill more people each year than any other creature. (Karlamangla, 2/6)

The New York Times: Picking The Right Over-The-Counter Pain Reliever
Picking the pain reliever that’s best for you can be a confusing task. Pharmacy and supermarket shelves are lined with a dizzying array of boxes, names and labels describing the symptoms the medications are intended to address.While they all share the same goal, making you feel better, their active ingredients vary, and all have potential drawbacks. (Mele, 2/6)

The Washington Post: A Young Boy, A Devastating Brain Tumor And Parents Who ‘Will Do Anything’
It was the most ordinary of family dinners, with pizza and cauliflower. Two exhausted parents sipped red wine. Two children giggled over silly jokes and squabbled over a stuffed animal named Baby Jaguar. A few moments later, 8-year-old Elijah Simpson-Sundell, his face slightly swollen and his speech slurred, walked unsteadily away from the table. His father gently reproached 6-year-old Genevieve: “When your brother wants something, and he doesn’t feel well, we should try to accommodate him.” (McGinley, 2/6)

The Washington Post: At 12, He Had Stopped Growing. Doctors Were Stumped. The Answer Was In His Gut.
Why is he so tired, Jackie Mann wondered, not for the first time, as Evan, the middle of her three children, wandered off to his bedroom to take an after-school nap. Small for his age, the 12-year-old seemed to fall asleep easily and anywhere: in the car on the way to soccer or gymnastics, on the afternoons he came straight home from school, while doing his homework and, once, while waiting to see the pediatrician. (Boodman, 2/6)

The Associated Press: 79-Year-Old Doctor On Trial In $200M Health Fraud Scheme
To prosecutors, Bernard Greenspan saw dollar signs when a blood-testing lab company came to his office seeking referrals several years ago, and he reaped a $200,000 windfall in illegal bribes. Greenspan's attorney tells a different story, of an "old-school, solo family practitioner" still practicing while pushing 80 whose transactions were legitimate but who wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time — in the middle of an investigation into a $200 million health care fraud scheme. (2/7)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2017 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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