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KHN First Edition: April 17, 2017

KHN

First Edition

Monday, April 17, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Tax Day Is Choke Time For Health Insurance, Too
Julie Rovner reports: "Your federal income taxes are due April 18 and, likely for several million people, so is a fine for failing to get health insurance. Despite a lengthy debate, Congress has not yet acted on a bill to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act. That means the law and almost all of its regulations remain in force, for now." (Rovner, 4/17)

California Healthline: California Lawmakers Mull Improvements To Troubled Dental Program
Ana B. Ibarra reports: "California lawmakers are considering several bills to improve and expand access to Denti-Cal, the state’s troubled dental program for low-income people — including ones that would draw from the state’s new tobacco tax to boost dentists’ pay. Assembly Bill 753, introduced by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), would direct money from the state’s new tobacco tax to broaden access to Denti-Cal, which for years has been faulted in state and federal reports. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Health on Tuesday." (Ibarra, 4/17)

The Associated Press: How Trump Insurance Changes Could Affect Coverage Next Year
A much tighter sign-up deadline and coverage delays will be waiting for some health insurance customers now that President Donald Trump's administration has finished a plan designed to stabilize shaky insurance markets. Shoppers will have a shorter time period to choose a 2018 plan and a harder time enrolling outside that window if they lose a job or have some other special circumstance that affects their coverage. (4/14)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump’s Renewed Focus On Health Bill Vexes GOP Tax Overhaul Strategy
President Donald Trump’s revived enthusiasm for tackling health-care legislation before tax policy has highlighted the complicated interplay between Republicans’ health-care overhaul and their planned tax bill. Mr. Trump signaled last week that one of the reasons he has reprioritized health care is that he was relying on savings from the health bill to bolster the tax plan. (Rubin, 4/16)

The Washington Post: Two Republican Lawmakers Face Anger, From Their Own Voters, On Health Care
Inside a government building here, far-right Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) scolded his party’s leaders for rolling out an “ill-advised” health-care bill and blamed House Speaker Paul D. Ryan for the ensuing debacle. The next evening on a college campus nestled in the Rocky Mountains, moderate Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) held the House Freedom Caucus — to which Yoho belongs — culpable for the legislation’s defeat. (Sullivan and Snell, 4/15)

The Wall Street Journal: Congress Feels Squeeze From Sputtering Health Law Overhaul
After nearly two hours of fielding mostly health-care questions from hundreds of rowdy constituents at a full auditorium here this week, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman threw up his arms in frustration. “Those of you on the extreme left will never be satisfied,” he told the group of about 500 people assembled at a town hall here at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The crowd erupted in boos. (Andrews and son, 4/14)

The Associated Press: Even In Hometown, Constituents Rip Into Republican Lawmaker
Republican congressman Greg Walden found a hostile audience when he hosted a town hall in his Oregon home town last week. Roughly 800 people turned out to confront the 10-term congressman on issues like health care, immigration, the environment and Syria. Walden is a magnet for questions about health care because he is a lead author of the stalled House Republican health care bill. (4/17)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Do Members Of Congress Pay For 100 Percent Of Their Health Insurance?
The Fact Checker has been receiving lots of fact-check suggestions from readers who attended district town halls, in response to our new initiative to fact-check what members of Congress tell constituents during the April recess. Not surprisingly, some of the most heated exchanges at many of the town halls involved health care and the failed GOP replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. (Lee, 4/17)

NPR: 'Pre-Existing Conditions' Reveal A Health Care Conundrum
For most of his life, Carl Goulden had near perfect health. He and his wife, Wanda, say that changed 10 years ago. Carl remembers feeling, "a lot of pain in the back, tired, fatigue, yellow eyes — a lot of jaundice." Wanda, chimes in: "Yellow eyes, gray-like skin." His liver wasn't working, she explains. "It wasn't filtering." Carl was diagnosed with hepatitis B. Now 65 and on Medicare, he had a flower shop in Littlestown, Pa., back then, so had been buying health insurance for his family on the market for small businesses and the self-employed. (Gordon, 4/15)

Politico: Pence’s Medicaid Experiment Confounds Expectations On The Left And Right
When former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence embraced Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion with conservative twists — such as requiring enrollees to contribute to their care — critics lamented poor people would be locked out while backers cheered the program’s focus on personal responsibility. Neither side’s expectations were quite borne out. (Pradhan, 4/15)

The Associated Press: In Alaska, Anxiety Grows As Debate Over Health Care Rages
Going without health insurance is a risk. Going without it in Alaska can be a gamble of a much higher order, for this is a place unlike anywhere else in the U.S., a land of pitiless cold, vast expanses and dangerous, back-breaking work such as pulling fishing nets from the water or hauling animal carcasses out of the woods. And yet many people on the Last Frontier do not carry insurance. For them, the Affordable Care Act just isn't working. (4/15)

The Associated Press: Insider Q&A: Public Health System CEO Sweats Out ACA Debate
Cook County Health & Hospitals System, which handles more than 1 million patient visits in the Chicago area every year, has seen a significant financial boost from the Affordable Care Act. The federal law — whose future is up in the air — expanded the Medicaid program for the poor, giving most of the system's patients coverage for the first time in its 180-year history. (4/16)

The Associated Press: Overcoming Opioids: The Quest For Less Addictive Drugs
Tummy tucks really hurt. Doctors carve from hip to hip, slicing off skin, tightening muscles, tugging at innards. Patients often need strong painkillers for days or even weeks, but Mary Hernandez went home on just over-the-counter ibuprofen. The reason may be the yellowish goo smeared on her 18-inch wound as she lay on the operating table. The Houston woman was helping test a novel medicine aimed at avoiding opioids, potent pain relievers fueling an epidemic of overuse and addiction. (4/17)

The Associated Press: West Virginia Law Authorizes Opioid Antidotes At Schools
Schools in West Virginia will be able to give drugs to students who overdose on opioids without having to first contact parents under a new law approved this week. The measure passed unanimously by the state Legislature and signed Tuesday by Gov. Jim Justice comes as West Virginia recorded 844 overdose deaths last year, more than 700 involving at least one opioid such as heroin, fentanyl or prescription painkillers. (4/14)

Los Angeles Times: What The New, FDA-Approved 23andMe Genetic Health Risk Reports Can, And Can't, Tell You
Genetic testing firm 23andMe got approval from the Food and Drug Administration last week to sell reports that show customers whether they have an increased genetic risk of developing certain diseases and conditions. The go-ahead is the first time the federal agency has approved such direct-to-consumer genetic tests and comes about three years after the FDA warned Mountain View, Calif.-based 23andMe to stop marketing its health reports because they lacked agency authorization. (Masunaga, 4/14)

The Washington Post: Giving Young Blood To Older Animals Raises Tantalizing Possibilities For People
Dracula may have been onto something. It wasn’t just blood, but the blood of youth that was the secret to staying alive for centuries. The rejuvenating effect of young blood has been demonstrated in strange, draculoid experiments first done 150 years ago. Two genetically compatible animals, one young and one old, are sewn together. With their circulatory systems connected, the old animal gains access not only to the younger animal’s blood but also to the detoxifying and metabolizing function of its organs. The state is known as heterochronic parabiosis. (Brown, 4/14)

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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