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KHN First Edition: April 6, 2017


First Edition

Thursday, April 06, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: CMS Chief To Sit Out Watershed Decision On Medicaid Work Mandate In Kentucky
Phil Galewitz reports: "Seema Verma, the former health policy consultant now overseeing Medicare and Medicaid for the Trump administration, will not take part in one of her agency’s most anticipated decisions because of a conflict of interest. The case concerns whether to allow Kentucky to become the first state in the nation to require some Medicaid recipients to work to qualify for health coverage." (Galewitz, 4/5)

Kaiser Health News: To Help Ward Off Alzheimer’s, Think Before You Eat
Judith Graham reports: "Diets designed to boost brain health, targeted largely at older adults, are a new, noteworthy development in the field of nutrition. The latest version is the Canadian Brain Health Food Guide, created by scientists in Toronto. Another, the MIND diet, comes from experts at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health." (Graham, 4/6)

California Healthline: While Washington Fiddles, California Leaders Forge Ideas For Universal Health Care
Pauline Bartolone reports: "As the nation’s Republican leaders huddle to reconsider their plans to “repeal and replace” the nation’s health law, advocates for universal health coverage press on in California, armed with renewed political will and a new set of proposals. Organized labor and two lawmakers are leading the charge for a single, government-financed program for everyone in the state. Another legislator wants to create a commission that would weigh the best options for a system to cover everyone. And Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who hopes to become the next governor, has suggested building on employer-based health care to plug holes in existing coverage." (Bartolone, 4/6)

The New York Times: As Latest Health Plan Dies, Republicans Can’t Agree On A Culprit
The new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead, killed off by House Republicans who never actually read the legislation — because in fact, it never actually existed. Conservative groups moved quickly on Wednesday to shift the blame for the failure of a seven-year promise to repeal the law onto some not-as-conservative Republicans, after a small but powerful group of hard-line House conservatives failed again to come to a meeting of the minds with the Trump administration over how best to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature achievement. (Steinhauer and Pear, 4/5)

The Washington Post: House Republicans Likely To Start Two-Week Recess Without Passing Health-Care Bill
The impasse reflects the ongoing inability of the GOP’s moderate and hard-right wings to reach a compromise on just how much of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law eight years ago by President Barack Obama, ought to be undone. The conflict has persisted despite the sky-high political stakes for congressional Republicans who have long promised to repeal the law, as well as President Trump’s desire to notch a victory with only a handful of legislative workdays remaining in his first 100 days in office. (DeBonis and Weigel, 4/5)

USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Paul Ryan: Health Care Bill Will Take Time, As GOP Learns To Govern
A new push to pass a GOP health care bill will take weeks, not days, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated Wednesday, as the latest talks among Republicans produced no apparent breakthrough. “We’ve got a couple months at least,” Ryan said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday. “We’ve gotten pretty far in coming together,” he said, “but I also think we’re not there yet — because the stakes are so high, and people are just having to get used to” being the governing party. (Gilbert, 4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Talks To Relaunch Health Law Sputter
President Donald Trump has said on Twitter he still wants to pursue passage of the GOP health-care bill, but lawmakers are unlikely to reach an agreement before they leave Washington Thursday for a two-week recess. “I think it’s difficult to finish one by the end of the week,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) (son and Andrews, 4/5)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Deal Elusive As House To Take Easter Break
"There's no suggestion we should be changing our flights," moderate Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said Wednesday afternoon, a day before lawmakers were slated to leave Washington for their two-week recess. "We're going home ... without a deal. "From the party's right flank, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said: "I've heard nothing of substance at this point that would break the logjam." (4/6)

The New York Times: Trump Weighs Infrastructure Bill But Keeps New York Up In The Air
President Trump said he was considering “accelerating” the introduction of his $1 trillion infrastructure bill — but he pointedly refused to say whether he planned to include two major New York City transportation projects that his budget for next year would defund. Mr. Trump, speaking in a wide-ranging interview in the Oval Office on Wednesday, described the infrastructure package as a high-value legislative sweetener that he could attach to a revived Affordable Care Act repeal bill or tax code overhaul to attract bipartisan support that thus far he had neither sought nor received. (Thrush and Haberman, 4/5)

Politico: White House Divided On Obamacare Payments
The disintegration of the latest Obamacare repeal bid in the House has thrown the health law’s fate back to a divided circle of White House advisers wrestling with whether to pay out key subsidies — or cut them off and blow up the health law. The aides have limited time to figure things out; health plans must decide in June whether to stay in Obamacare insurance markets next year or pull out. (Dawsey, Kenen and Haberkorn, 4/5)

The Washington Post: Virginia Republicans Reject Medicaid Expansion
Republican lawmakers in Virginia rejected another bid to expand Medicaid, saying the cost of providing new health coverage to thousands of poor adults would cripple the state. The House of Delegates voted against Medicaid expansion Wednesday as lawmakers reconvened for a one-day session to consider Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s amendments and vetoes. (Suderman and Rankin, 4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: Virginia Legislators Stop Gov. McAuliffe’s Attempt To Expand Medicaid
Mr. McAuliffe has made Medicaid expansion a priority since taking office in 2014, saying 400,000 people would be covered if the state accepted the federal aid that was part of the Affordable Care Act. In light of the recent congressional decision to pull a bill to repeal and replace the health-care law, Mr. McAuliffe said Virginia “has no excuses left to hold out on Medicaid expansion.” But Republican legislators on Wednesday blocked a McAuliffe amendment meant to allow expansion, saying the state cannot afford it. “We rejected expansion in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and again in 2017 because it was the wrong policy for the Commonwealth,” they said. (Bauerlein, 4/5)

The New York Times: F.D.A. Nominee Deflects Criticism About Ties To Drugmakers At Hearing
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, told Congress on Wednesday that he could speed the approval of new drugs without compromising safety or increasing risks, deflecting questions about his past writings, drug-company investments and Mr. Trump’s controversial positions. “We should reject a false dichotomy that it all boils down to a choice between speed and safety,” Dr. Gottlieb said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (Pear, 4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: FDA Nominee Scott Gottlieb Commits To ‘Gold Standard’
Dr. Gottlieb, who was nominated in March, said he sees the need for new laws and FDA regulatory action to get complex-formulation drugs—like those used topically or with inhalers—more quickly approved as lower-cost generics. While he also said there are ways to speed up some clinical trials, “I think there are ways to modernize clinical studies without sacrificing the gold standard.” (Burton, 4/5)

The Associated Press: Trump's FDA Pick Says Tackling Opioid Crisis A Top Priority
Gottlieb said opioid addiction is "the biggest crisis facing the agency" and as serious a public health challenge — for the entire government, not just FDA — as infectious diseases like Ebola or Zika. He said tackling the crisis would be his first priority and will "require dramatic action," including finding ways to spur development of non-addictive alternative painkillers as well as addiction treatments. (4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: FDA Nominee Not All Good News For Drug Makers
An industry-friendly commissioner seems to be coming to the Food and Drug Administration. While he is favored by many executives, not all drug makers will be happy once he gets on the job. Such is the takeaway from Scott Gottlieb’s confirmation hearing to take the helm of the agency Wednesday. (Grant, 4/5)

The Washington Post: Conservatives Fall Short Of Another Goal: Defunding Planned Parenthood
Antiabortion groups thought they had a sure way to slash funding for the country’s largest abortion provider as part of the health-care overhaul proposed by the House Republican leadership. But the overhaul failed — a nascent effort to revive it has also stalled — dampening conservatives’ once-high hopes to achieve one of their dearest goals: defunding Planned Parenthood. (Cunningham, 4/5)

Politico: Ivanka's Secret Planned Parenthood Outreach
In the weeks following her father’s inauguration, Ivanka Trump quietly reached out to the president of Planned Parenthood seeking common ground on the contentious issue of abortion. ... Their under-the-radar meeting — a rarity between a well-known Democratic activist and a close adviser to a Republican president — has not been previously reported. (Karni, 4/6)

The Associated Press: Judge Plans To Block Missouri's Abortion-Restricting Rules
A federal judge says he plans to issue a preliminary injunction to block abortion-restricting rules in Missouri similar to ones in Texas that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down last year. U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs announced his move in a memo filed Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri. He said he would give the state time to craft a plan for patients to avoid unintended "collateral damage" from the injunction, which was sought by Planned Parenthood. (4/5)

The Washington Post: More Than 1 In 5 U.S. Adults Were Infected By A Type Of High-Risk HPV, CDC Report Shows
During a recent two-year period, almost 23 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 59 had a type of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) that put them at high risk of certain cancers, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report published Thursday. That percentage jumped to more than 42 percent during 2013 to 2014 if any type of genital HPV was included, the CDC found. In both groups, prevalence was higher in men than in women, and it was sharply higher among blacks compared to other racial and ethnic groups. (Naqvi, 4/6)

NPR: Pressure To Publish Leads To Shoddy Science And Bad Medicine
A surprising medical finding caught the eye of NPR's veteran science correspondent Richard Harris in 2014. A scientist from the drug company Amgen had reviewed the results of 53 studies that were originally thought to be highly promising — findings likely to lead to important new drugs. But when the Amgen scientist tried to replicate those promising results, in most cases he couldn't. "He tried to reproduce them all," Harris tells Morning Edition host David Greene. "And of those 53, he found he could only reproduce six." (4/6)

The Washington Post: Long-Term Aspirin Use Associated With Reduced Risk Of Dying From Cancer, Study Shows
Long-term use of aspirin is associated with lower risk of dying from various types of cancers, including colorectal, lung, breast and prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the 2017 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting on Monday. The longitudinal study analyzed the association of aspirin, with varied doses and duration of use, on overall mortality risks and mortality risks from cancer over a nearly 32-year period. (Naqvi, 4/5)

NPR: Emergency Room Caregivers Are Picking Noses — For Drug Delivery, That Is
In emergencies, administering drugs quickly and easily can be a matter of life and death. This has emergency departments turning to the nose as a delivery route because it's so accessible and doesn't require direct contact with a needle. Using the nose as a passage for steroids like Flonase and vaccines like FluMist has been common practice for decades. In recent years, more Americans have also become aware of the emergency drug naloxone, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, even when someone has stopped breathing. (Boddy, 4/5)

NPR: Six Questions Help Predict Adult ADHD
Do you pop up from your seat during meetings and finish other people's sentences? And maybe you also procrastinate, or find yourself zoning out in the middle of one-on-one conversations? It's possible you have adult ADHD. (Hersher, 4/5)

The Washington Post: Long Shadow Cast By Psychiatrist On Transgender Issues Finally Recedes At Johns Hopkins
Nearly four decades after he derailed a pioneering transgender program at Johns Hopkins Hospital with his views on “guilt-ridden homosexual men,” psychiatrist Paul McHugh is seeing his institution come full circle with the resumption of gender-reassignment surgeries. McHugh, the hospital’s chief of psychiatry from 1975 to 2001, still believes that being transgender is largely a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. ... Hopkins, however, is moving beyond McHugh. This summer, it will formally open a transgender health service and will resume, after a 38-year hiatus, an accompanying surgical program. (Nutt, 4/5)

The Washington Post: First Evidence Found Of Popular Farm Pesticides In Drinking Water
Of the many pesticides that American farmers have embraced in their war on bugs, neonicotinoids are among the most popular. One of them, called imidacloprid, is among the world’s best-selling insecticides, boasting sales of over $1 billion a year. But with their widespread use comes a notorious reputation — that neonics, as they are nicknamed, are a bee killer. A 2016 study suggested a link between neonicotinoid use and local pollinator extinctions, though other agricultural researchers contested the pesticides' bad rap. (Guarino, 4/5)

NPR: Legal Marijuana Advocates Are Uneasy With Sessions' Stance
As advocates for medical marijuana gather in Washington, D.C., on Friday for an annual conference, supporters of marijuana legalization are worried. That's because new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been making tough comments about the drug, and there's a lot of uncertainty about how the Trump administration will enforce federal law. (Johnson, 4/6)

The Associated Press: Police Object To California Marijuana Regulation Revamp
California law enforcement officials objected Wednesday to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed streamlining of the state’s marijuana regulations, saying his plan could endanger public safety. Brown’s administration released documents late Tuesday outlining proposed changes to square the state’s new recreational pot law with its longstanding law on medical marijuana. (Blood and Elias, 4/5)

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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