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KHN First Edition: May 2, 2017


First Edition

Tuesday, May 02, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Urgent Care Sites Cater To Cancer Patients, Letting Them Check Some Worries At Door
Michelle Andrews reports: "On an afternoon a few weeks ago, Faithe Craig noticed that her temperature spiked to just above 100 degrees. For most people, the change might not be cause for alarm, but Craig is being treated for stage 3 breast cancer, and any temperature change could signal a serious problem. She called her nurse at the hospital clinic where she gets care at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who told her to come in immediately for cancer urgent-care services at the hospital’s hematology oncology clinic." (Andrews, 5/2)

Kaiser Health News: Volunteers Help Ombudsmen Give Nursing Home Residents ‘A Voice’ In Their Care
Susan Jaffe reports: "Since retiring four years ago, Barbara Corprew has visited Paris, traveled to a North Carolina film festival and taken Pilates classes, focusing on — as she puts it — just “doing things for me.” Now the former Justice Department lawyer, who worked on white-collar crime cases, is devoting time to something completely different: She visits nursing homes every week. Corprew is a volunteer in the District of Columbia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman’s Office, a government-funded advocacy agency for nursing home and assisted-living residents." (Jaffe, 5/2)

The Washington Post: House Republicans Continue Health-Care Push, May Leave Changes To Senate
The aim has become very simple for House Republicans stumbling closer to passing a bill to revise the Affordable Care Act: just get it off their plates and over to the Senate. In the messy effort to rally their often unruly party around a measure to replace big parts of President Barack Obama’s health-care law, House leaders have been forced to leave other objectives by the wayside and focus on one simple, political goal: pass a bill they can say repeals Obamacare — even if it has no hope of survival in the Senate — to shield their members in next year’s elections. (Weigel and Winfield Cunningham, 5/1)

The Associated Press: Repeal Or Spare? Pressure Is On Moderates Over Health Care
Moderate Republicans face intense pressure on their party's latest attempt to scrap Democrat Barack Obama's health care law — from President Donald Trump, House GOP leaders, medical professionals and outside political groups. Back home, their constituents provide little clarity.In interviews, Associated Press reporters found views deeply held and deeply divided, reflective of dueling impulses to fulfill the seven-year-old GOP promise to repeal the law and to save many of its parts. (Mulvihill and Riccardi, 5/2)

The Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Gambles On Big Health-Care Victory
The risk for Mr. Trump is that it is far from clear that Republicans can round up the 216 votes they need on health care, especially from GOP centrists, after making changes in their initial proposal to win over conservatives. The centrists are especially spooked by a provision allowing insurers in some states to charge higher premiums to patients with pre-existing medical conditions who have let their coverage lapse. Republican leaders on Monday ramped up their efforts to persuade this group, assuring centrists that the Senate would make changes to allay their concerns and insisting that few states would actually use the waivers allowing higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, according to people familiar with the matter. (Armour, son and Andrews, 5/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Pre-Existing Conditions Provision In House Health Plan Divides GOP
A number of states would likely pursue waivers in the House Republican health plan enabling them to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions who let their coverage lapse, health analysts said. The waivers are the latest twist to the House GOP proposal that would topple most of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a new plan that would bring steep Medicaid cuts and refundable tax credits to help people obtain health insurance if they don’t get it from their job. (Armour and Hackman, 5/1)

Politico: GOP Suffers Surprise Defection On Obamacare Repeal
President Donald Trump dialed up his campaign-trail ally Rep. Billy Long on Monday, after the Missouri Republican announced his decision to vote against the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. The goal was straightforward: Persuade Long to change his mind. It didn't work. Though Long hails from a deeply conservative district that overwhelmingly backed Trump over Hillary Clinton in November, and Long supported earlier versions of the legislation, the president's entreaties fell short, GOP insiders said. (Cheney, Bade and Dawsey, 5/1)

The Associated Press: Lobbying By Hospitals, Doctors, Slows GOP Health Care Drive
"Obamacare" is showing surprising staying power, thanks in large part to doctors, hospitals and other health industry players opposing the alternatives that Republicans have proposed. The stories and perspectives they bring to the debate are grounded in the local community and the impact on finances and well-being. But also their professional associations are deep-pocketed campaign donors and major lobbying powers on Capitol Hill. (5/1)

Politico: The Strange, Vegas-Style Marriage Of Paul Ryan And The Freedom Caucus
There were rumblings just before the election that the Freedom Caucus might try to take out Speaker Paul Ryan. Now the group of rebel conservatives is locking arms with him — at least momentarily. The fragile alliance has been sparked by their shared interest in finally tanking Obamacare, an eagerness to build momentum for the president’s agenda and a belief among hard-liners and leadership that each side has moved cautiously toward the other on health care. (Bade, 5/2)

Politico: 5 Trump Health Care Promises That Won't Become Reality
Donald Trump broke the first campaign promise he made about Obamacare when he couldn’t scrap the law on the day he took office. He’ll get another chance to make good on the pledge this week, if the House takes up a revised repeal-replace plan. But the version of the legislation he’s endorsing undermines other key promises candidate and President-elect Trump made about the cost and quality of health care in America — not to mention the way he said he’d bring about change. (Diamond, 5/1)

Politico: Dawdling Congress Tests Trump's Patience
The congressional GOP’s protracted efforts to repeal Obamacare could exact a heavy toll on the rest of Donald Trump’s legislative agenda. If repeal in the House is successful, action on some of the president's top legislative priorities is expected to be pushed back to late this year or even next year, when lawmakers will be up for reelection and more reluctant to cast tough votes. The delay also threatens to sap whatever Republican momentum remains from the election, in the midst of what’s often the most prolific stretch of a new presidency. (Everett and Kim, 5/2)

The New York Times: Pushing For Vote On Health Care Bill, Trump Seems Unclear On Its Details
After two false starts on President Trump’s promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Trump administration officials ratcheted up pressure on the House on Monday to vote on a revised version of the Republican repeal bill this week, even as support may actually be eroding. The president complicated his pitch with a jumble of statements that indicated he did not fully understand the content of the measure he was pushing. (Pear, 5/1)

The Associated Press: Pushing For Victories, Trump Shows Disconnect With House GOP
In interviews and Tweets, Trump has been notably off-topic and off-message about the state of affairs in Congress. His recent description of the health care bill suggested he was unfamiliar with how the bill addresses coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Congressional leaders and White House aides have struggled to agree on the level of optimism and timing for a vote. (5/1)

The Washington Post: Five Big Wins: Congress Boosts Medical Science Funding In Key Areas
ongress unveiled a bipartisan budget late Sunday that contains a number of welcome surprises for researchers who had been panicking since March, when President Trump proposed deep funding cuts for science and health. Under the deal, the National Institutes of Health will get a $2 billion boost in fiscal year 2017, as it did the previous year. ... Here are some of the big research winners. (Cha, 5/1)

The Washington Post: Science Funding Spared Under Congressional Budget Deal, But More Battles Ahead
The lights will stay on in the federal government, and also in the countless laboratories and universities that depend on federal funding for scientific and medical research. That's one upshot of the bipartisan budget deal congressional negotiators reached late Sunday. The bill, clocking in at more than 1,600 pages, is likely to pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law by President Trump this week. It covers funding through September. (Achenbach, Guarino, Kaplan and Fears, 5/1)

USA Today: Donald Trump Takes Aim At Michelle Obama Efforts On Child Nutrition, Girls' Education
The Trump administration is looking to whittle away at the legacy of former first lady Michelle Obama, undercutting two key efforts associated with her: child nutrition and girls’ education worldwide. On Monday, Sonny Perdue, President Trump’s new Agriculture secretary, announced he would loosen restrictions on federally funded school lunch programs — current rules require schools to serve more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables to millions of children while limiting salt and fat. The push is part of Mrs. Obama’s well-known initiative to help children eat more healthy meals. (Toppo, 5/1)

The Associated Press: Hey Kids, Salt Stays And Grains Go In School Meals
Schools won’t have to cut more salt from meals just yet and some will be able to serve kids fewer whole grains, under changes to federal nutrition standards announced Monday. The move by President Donald Trump’s Agriculture Department partially rolls back rules championed by former first lady Michelle Obama as part of her healthy eating initiative. Separately, the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday it would delay — for one year — Obama administration rules that will require calorie labels on menus and prepared food displays. The rule was scheduled to go into effect later this week. (Jalonick, 5/1)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Unwinds Some School Lunch Standards
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the decision comes after years of feedback from schools and food-service experts, who have faced challenges meeting meal regulations; and from students, some of whom have complained that the meals aren’t appetizing. The department said the change “begins the process of restoring local control” over those food areas to give schools and states options in ensuring food choices are both healthy and appealing to students. (Hobbs, 5/1)

Los Angeles Times: New USDA Secretary Announces Rollback Of Obama-Era Nutrition Standards For School Lunches
The Obama administration placed standards on school lunch nutrition in 2010 when it passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. During that time, Michelle Obama was seen by many as a leading advocate in the fight against childhood obesity. She started the Let’s Move! campaign, which sought to encourage children to take part in more physical activity and help provide healthier food options in schools in under-served communities. The percentage of U.S. children with obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, causing long-term physical and emotional distress for children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Etehad, 5/1)

Politico: Trump Eats Away At Michelle Obama's School Lunch Legacy
The changes Perdue is seeking are not nearly as dramatic as the full opt-out that Republicans have sought — a push that sparked a bitter, public fight with Obama in 2014 — but Perdue promised to look at some regulatory fixes. He said USDA would delay implementation of future sodium-reduction targets. And flavored milk with a fat content of one percent, now restricted from the program, will be allowed back into cafeterias — a switch that dairy producers lobbied heavily to see made. (Bottemiller Evich, 5/1)

NPR: Michelle Obama's School Lunch Rules Rolled Back By White House
The fight over school lunches has lasted years. Even after the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 took effect, Michelle Obama continued to have to defend its importance, as NPR's Tamara Keith reported in 2014. In 2016 the Senate settled on a compromise that would keep most of the new standards in place, including requiring to schools to serve more fruits and vegetables along with the planned reductions in sodium and increase in whole grains. (Taylor, 5/1)

USA Today: Overweight Kids Are Costing America Billions
The best way to set your kid up for financial success can be a nest egg, a grandparent's inheritance or a healthy 529 plan. Or, it could be as simple as keeping them in shape. A Johns Hopkins University study found overweight people, over the course of a lifetime, spend an average of about $30,000 more than healthy people on medical conditions associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure and certain types of cancers. (Rossman, 5/1)

NPR: People Do Not Change Their Eating Habits Easily, Studies Find
A new study suggests that skipping meals is difficult. Obviously, right? The study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine did not set out to investigate the hardships of abstaining from food. The main question was: Is alternate-day fasting more effective for weight loss and weight maintenance compared with daily calorie restriction? (Hersher, 5/1)

NPR: Veterans At Risk Of Suicide Negotiate A Thorny Relationship With Guns
There's sort of a designated driver in Jason Stavely's circle of Iraq buddies, but he doesn't take away peoples' car keys. He takes the guns. "Come toward September-October, if I get the feeling, I'm more than happy to give my guns back to my buddy again," said Stavely. Stavely has bad memories from the war that get triggered every autumn. And last year, one of his Marine Corps friends died by suicide in October. So Stavely's therapist at the Veterans Affairs clinic suggested getting his guns out of the house. (Lawrence, 5/2)

The Associated Press: Virginia Looks To Provide Drug Treatment To More Inmates
Officials say Virginia is joining in an effort to expand access to opioid addition treatment for prisoners. The Virginia Department of Corrections says Virginia is one of eight states picked by the National Governors Association for the “learning lab.” Officials say the states will learn about initiatives in place in Massachusetts and create plans for how to get more offenders in opioid addiction treatment. (5/2)

The New York Times: Clues To Zika Damage Might Lie In Cases Of Twins
On the bed next to her brother, Ana Vitória da Silva Araújo acted like the 1-year-old she was. She smiled and babbled. She played with a stuffed whale. She plucked the pacifier from her brother’s mouth and the burp cloth from his shoulder. Her brother, João Lucas, seemed unaware of her, his eyes closed, his mouth making sucking motions. It was typical behavior for a newborn. But João Lucas is the exact same age as Ana Vitória — they are twins. (Belluck and Franco, 5/1)

NPR: NIH Launches Study Of Illness Known As 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome'
In July 2012, a science reporter for The Washington Post, Brian Vastag, was in Wisconsin visiting his family when a high fever hit. He became instantly bedridden with flu-like symptoms that never went away. "It didn't feel like anything I'd ever had before. ... The things that distinguished it were the dizziness and the feeling of unreality in the head," Vastag says. Now, nearly five years later, the 45-year-old can no longer concentrate or read even a few sentences without becoming exhausted. A short walk to the mailbox means lying down for the rest of the day. In September, he'll qualify for Medicare due to his disability. (Tucker, 5/1)

The New York Times: One Day, A Machine Will Smell Whether You’re Sick
Blindfolded, would you know the smell of your mom, a lover or a co-worker? Not the smells of their colognes or perfumes, not of the laundry detergents they use — the smells of them? Each of us has a unique “odorprint” made up of thousands of organic compounds. These molecules offer a whiff of who we are, revealing age, genetics, lifestyle, hometown — even metabolic processes that underlie our health. (Murphy, 5/1)

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