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KHN First Edition: April 12, 2017


First Edition

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: In ‘Stealth Move,’ Mich. Refines Vaccine Waivers, Improves Rate Among Kids
Just three years ago, Michigan had the fourth-highest rate of unvaccinated kindergartners in the nation. But when a charter school in northwestern Traverse City reported nearly two dozen cases of whooping cough and several cases of measles that November, state officials were jolted to action. Without much fanfare — or time for opponents to respond — they abandoned the state’s relatively loose rules for getting an exemption and issued a regulation requiring families to consult personally with local public health departments before obtaining an immunization waiver. (Gugliotta, 4/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Says Health-Care Revamp Still Priority Ahead Of Tax Overhaul
President Donald Trump said he would keep pressing to enact a health-care overhaul even if it means delaying another one of his policy goals: revamping the tax code. Last month, House Republicans conceded they didn’t have enough votes to pass their health-care bill, despite an aggressive lobbying effort by the White House. Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans say they haven’t given up and are still working to assemble the votes needed to overturn major pieces of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. (Nicholas and Rubin, 4/11)

Politico: Trump: I Want To Pass Health Care Before Doing Tax Reform
Trump told Fox Business he did not want to “put deadlines” on either legislative goal, but he insisted that “health care's gonna happen at some point” and said that passing health care legislation could save money and make it easier to pass a tax overhaul afterward. Still, the president suggested that he was not fully committed to that chronology. “Now, if it doesn't happen fast enough, I'll start the taxes,” Trump said. “But the tax reform and the tax cuts are better if I can do health care first.” (Conway, 4/11)

The New York Times: Congressman Who Shouted ‘You Lie’ At Obama Hears The Same From Constituents
Representative Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican who gained a measure of infamy after shouting “you lie” at President Barack Obama during a joint session of Congress in 2009, had that memorable catchphrase hurled back at him by a group of his constituents at a town hall event on Monday. The audience at the event, held at Aiken Technical College in Graniteville, S.C., near the state’s western border, was antagonistic from the start, booing audibly as he stepped to the lectern. But the conflict between Mr. Wilson and the crowd came to a head toward the end of the 40-minute question-and-answer period, when he responded to a question about Mr. Obama’s health care law. (Bromwich, 4/11)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Now, Democrats Attack Republicans For Failing To Protect Obamacare
Seven vulnerable Republican lawmakers are being targeted with $1 million in television spots by a liberal group backed by labor and progressive interests. The ads generally focus on the lawmakers’ apparent support for the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the failed House bill that was designed to replace the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. The ad tries to capitalize on the interesting shift in public sentiment about Obamacare, suddenly more popular as it has come under legislative assault by the Trump administration. Let’s walk through the claims in the ad aimed at Issa. (Kessler, 4/12)

The New York Times: What Trump Can Do Without Congress To Dismantle Obamacare
House Republicans left for spring break last week, without reaching a deal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Their bill to overhaul the health care system collapsed on the House floor last month, amid divisions in the caucus. Even without Congress, however, President Trump has the authority to modify important provisions of the health law, including many that House Republicans sought to change or repeal. Here are some examples of actions he could take (or has already taken). (Park and Sanger-Katz, 4/12)

The Associated Press: Pennsylvania Congressman Seen As Likely Pick To Be Drug Czar
The next national drug czar is likely to be a congressman who was an early supporter of President Donald Trump, the head of the Pennsylvania Republican Party said Tuesday. Party chairman Val DiGiorgio said "any day now" he expects an announcement from the White House that four-term U.S. Rep. Tom Marino has been nominated to be the next director of national drug control policy. (4/11)

The Washington Post: The New White House Drug Czar Has Quite An Idea For Where To Put Nonviolent Drug Users
As drug czar, Marino would oversee the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a branch of the White House that advises the president on drug policy issues. More than anything else, the office sets the tone of an administration's drug policy. Under President Barack Obama, for instance, the office quite publicly retired the phrase “war on drugs,” preferring rhetoric centered more on public health than criminal justice. Whether that approach continues is something of an open question. (Ingraham, 4/12)

USA Today: New VA Chief On Public Scrutiny: Bring It
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new message on public scrutiny: Bring it on. President Trump’s pick to lead the agency, VA Secretary David Shulkin, is unveiling a new web site that will reveal for the first time exactly how care at every VA hospital and clinic across the country compares with nearby private-sector hospitals and national averages. The site set to go live Wednesday,, also shows if veterans are satisfied with wait times at each facility and how long they are actually waiting on average. (Slack, 4/12)

The Washington Post: In The Tennessee Delta, A Poor Community Loses Its Hospital — And Sense Of Security
This town of the Tennessee Delta, seat of a county that once grew the most cotton east of the Mississippi, relied for decades on a little public hospital built during the Great Depression a few blocks from the courthouse square. The red-brick building was knocked down in the 1970s when a for-profit chain came along and opened a modern stucco hospital on the north side of town. There, thousands of babies were born, pneumonias and failing hearts were treated and the longtime family doctor across the parking lot could wheel the sickest patients who arrived at his office right into the emergency room. (Goldstein, 4/11)

The Associated Press: What To Know About New Advice On Prostate Cancer Test
Should middle-aged men get routine blood tests for prostate cancer? An influential health panel that once said no now says maybe. It says certain men may benefit as long as they understand the potential harms. Some key things to know about the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's draft recommendations. (4/11)

The Washington Post: 1st Drug OK’d For Movement Disorder Caused By Certain Meds
U.S. regulators have approved the first drug for treating a neurological syndrome that causes uncontrollable body movements that can also interfere with speech, swallowing and breathing. The sometimes-disabling disorder, tardive dyskinesia, is caused by some widely used prescription medicines for psychiatric and gastrointestinal disorders. It can surface while patients are on those medicines or years after they stop. It affects about 500,000 U.S. patients. (Johnson, 4/11)

NPR: Top U.S. Scientists Advise On Ways To Foster Research Integrity
It's been 25 years since the National Academy of Sciences set its standards for appropriate scientific conduct, and the world of science has changed dramatically in that time. So now the academies of science, engineering and medicine have updated their standards. The report published Tuesday, "Fostering Integrity in Research," shines a spotlight on how the research enterprise as a whole creates incentives that can be detrimental to good research. (Harris, 4/11)

The New York Times: An Hour Of Running May Add Seven Hours To Your Life
Running may be the single most effective exercise to increase life expectancy, according to a new review and analysis of past research about exercise and premature death. The new study found that, compared to nonrunners, runners tended to live about three additional years, even if they run slowly or sporadically and smoke, drink or are overweight. No other form of exercise that researchers looked at showed comparable impacts on life span. (Reynolds, 4/12)

NPR: Texas Military Burn Center Treats Civilians Too
The burn unit at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas, is hot. Sometimes, it gets up to 102 degrees in there, among the patients. People with severe burns can't regulate their own body temperatures well, so the air has to keep them warm. "We see a lot of gruesome stuff," says physical therapist Melissa Boddington. At the height of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than one thousand wounded service members were flown to the hospital. (Rigby, 4/11)

NPR: Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Problem
People are still dying of cancer linked to asbestos, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says, despite decades of regulations meant to limit dangerous exposure. Starting in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has regulated how much asbestos workers can be exposed to, because it contains tiny fibers that can cause lung disease or cancer if they are swallowed or inhaled. (Hersher, 4/11)

NPR: Spinal Manipulation Can Help Back Pain, Study Says
One of the most common reasons people go to the doctor is lower back pain, and one of the most common reasons doctors prescribe powerful, addictive narcotics is lower back pain. Now, new research published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers the latest evidence that spinal manipulation can offer a modestly effective alternative. (Neighmond, 4/11)

The Associated Press: Clinic's Closure Leaves 3 Abortion Providers In Louisiana
The closure of an abortion clinic in northwestern Louisiana leaves just three other such clinics in the state. The Bossier City Medical Suite's phone number was no longer in service Tuesday and the website was down. State business records show the company's officers are the same Texas-based principals of Causeway Medical Suite, a suburban New Orleans facility that closed last year. They could not be reached for comment. (4/11)

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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