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KHN First Edition: October 10, 2017

KHN

First Edition

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Long-Term Disability Insurance Gets Little Attention But Can Pay Off Big Time
“It won’t happen to me.” Maybe that sentiment explains consumers’ attitude toward long-term disability insurance, which pays a portion of your income if you are unable to work. Sixty-five percent of respondents surveyed this year by LIMRA, an association of financial services and insurance companies, said that most people need disability insurance. But the figure shrank to 48 percent when people were asked if they believe they personally need it. The proportion shriveled to 20 percent when people were asked if they actually have disability insurance. (Andrews, 10/10)

Kaiser Health News: In Oregon, End-Of-Life Wishes Are Just A Click Away
Just four hours earlier, Sallie Cutler had been sharing Mother’s Day lunch with her mom, Alyce Cheatham. Then, that same evening, Cheatham, 96, landed in a Portland, Ore., emergency room, lethargic, unable to speak and paralyzed on her right side by a massive stroke. Cutler now admits her first impulse was to demand action. (Aleccia, 10/10)

Kaiser Health News: New Law Challenges ‘Evils’ Of Pharma Profits, California Governor Claims
California Gov. Jerry Brown defied the drug industry Monday by signing a sweeping drug price transparency bill that will force drugmakers to publicly justify big price hikes. “Californians have a right to know why their medical costs are out of control, especially when pharmaceutical profits are soaring,” Brown said. “This measure is a step at bringing transparency, truth, exposure to a very important part of our lives. That is the cost of prescription drugs.” (Dembosky, 10/9)

California Healthline: Training New Doctors Right Where They’re Needed
Dr. Olga Meave didn’t mind the dry, 105-degree heat that scorched this Central Valley city on a recent afternoon. The sweltering summer days remind her of home in Sonora, Mexico. So do the people of the Valley — especially the Latino first-generation immigrants present here in large numbers, toiling in the fields or piloting big rigs laden with fruits and vegetables. (Ibarra, 10/9)

The New York Times: Trump’s Cuts To Health Law Enrollment Efforts Are Hitting Hard
Michigan Consumers for Health Care, a nonprofit group, has enrolled thousands of people in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and was honored last year as one of the nation’s top performers — a “super navigator” that would serve as a mentor to enrollment counselors in other states. So the group was stunned to learn from the Trump administration that its funds for assisting consumers ahead of the open enrollment period that begins Nov. 1 would be cut by 89 percent, to $129,900, from $1.2 million. (Pear, 10/9)

The Hill: Trump Could Make Waves With Health Care Order 
President Trump's planned executive order on ObamaCare is worrying supporters of the law and insurers, who fear it could undermine the stability of ObamaCare. Trump’s order, expected as soon as this week, would allow small businesses or other groups of people to band together to buy health insurance. Some fear that these Association Health Plans (AHPs) would not be subject to the same rules as ObamaCare plans, including those that protect people with pre-existing conditions. (Sullivan, 10/10)

Politico: Republicans Privately Admit Defeat On Obamacare Repeal
For the first time, rank-and-file Republicans are acknowledging Obamacare may never be repealed. After multiple failures to repeal the law, the White House and many GOP lawmakers are publicly promising to try again in early 2018. But privately, both House and Senate Republicans acknowledge they may never be able to deliver on their seven-year vow to scrap the law. (Haberkorn, 10/9)

The Associated Press: Washington State Sues Over New Trump Birth-Control Rules
Washington state sued President Donald Trump on Monday over his decision to let more employers claiming religious or moral objections opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who successfully sued to block Trump's initial travel ban early this year, announced his latest lawsuit on Monday, three days after the new rules were issued. (10/9)

The Washington Post: Birth Control Manages Cramps, Acne, Endometriosis, Depression And Other Conditions
On Friday, the Trump administration issued new rules that allow a wide range of employers and insurers to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's provision that grants women contraceptives without additional payments. The move may appeal to social conservatives who object to contraception, but is it a good idea from a medical perspective? Birth control pills, shots and other devices — especially the still-ubiquitous little pink or blue pills — are about much more than preventing pregnancy. Many women suffer from major hormonal fluctuations in their monthly cycle. (Cha, 10/9)

The Associated Press: California To Require Advanced Notice On Hikes In Drug Costs
Drug companies doing business in California will soon have to notify the public two months in advance of dramatic price spikes under legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown. California's legislation marks one of the strictest drug-price transparency laws in the country, as states move to shine a spotlight on rapidly rising costs in the hopes of enticing drugmakers to keep them down. (10/9)

The Wall Street Journal: California Governor Signs Bill Requiring Greater Drug Price Transparency
The law, which drew bipartisan legislative support and Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown signed Monday, requires that, starting Jan. 1, 2019, companies give a 60-day notice if list prices of drugs are raised more than 16% in a two-year period. The law applies to drugs with a wholesale price of more than $40 for a 30-day supply. Health plans and insurers would also have to file annual reports outlining how drug costs affect health-care premiums in the state. (Armental, 10/9)

Los Angeles Times: Californians Will Get More Information On What’s Driving Prescription Drug Prices Under Law Signed By Governor
Supporters call the law the nation’s most sweeping effort to make prescription drug pricing more transparent. The measure would require drugmakers to provide notice to health plans and other purchasers 60 days in advance of a planned price hike if the increase exceeds certain thresholds. The measure, SB 17 by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa), will also require health plans to submit an annual report to the state that details the most frequently prescribed drugs, those that are most expensive and those that have been subject to the greatest year-to-year price increase. (Mason, 10/9)

Stat: A Veteran NY Litigator Is Taking On Opioid Makers. They Have A History
It is one of the few instances — maybe the only one, experts say — in which a drug maker agreed to pay individual patients who alleged that it had underplayed the addiction risk of its medications. A decade later, the smooth, stylish [Paul] Hanly has again set his sights on opioid manufacturers, this time on behalf of cities and counties in five states. The drug companies, those plaintiffs allege, sought to create a false perception around opioids, seeding a public health and safety crisis that has cost Hanly’s clients hundreds of millions of dollars. (Joseph, 10/10)

Los Angeles Times: Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Measure To Create New State Task Force On Opioid Prescriptions
Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a measure on Monday that sought to curb escalating opioid addiction rates by creating a new state working group tasked with determining best practices in prescribing addictive drugs. The measure, Assembly Bill 715 by Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), would have directed the state Department of Public Health to convene doctors, opioid addiction specialists and other experts to examine how painkillers are being prescribed to treat acute, short-term pain. (Mason, 10/9)

The Washington Post: Hospitals Scramble To Avert Saline Shortage In Wake Of Puerto Rico Disaster
The hurricane that wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico last month has disrupted production of widely used intravenous solutions. Several prominent hospitals across the country are scrambling to find alternative supplies, change the way they administer drugs and devise backup plans to make the fluids themselves. The products affected are smaller-volume bags of sodium chloride, known as saline, and dextrose. These normally ubiquitous solutions are used to rehydrate patients and to dilute medications from antibiotics to painkillers to cancer drugs. Their manufacturer, Baxter International, has said that “multiple production days” were lost in the wake of Hurricane Maria, and it has set up an allocation system for hospitals based on past purchases. (McGinley, 10/9)

The New York Times: New Blood Pressure Guidelines For Children
Had Matthew Goodwin’s blood pressure been checked at age 3, when it should have been, he most likely would have been spared a medical emergency a year later. He spent two weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit while doctors tried to determine why his blood pressure had spiked off the charts following minor surgery. (Brody, 10/9)

The Washington Post: Knowingly Infecting Others With HIV Is No Longer A Felony In California. Advocates Say The Law Targeted Sex Workers.
California lawmakers have passed legislation to reduce the penalty for those who knowingly or intentionally expose others to HIV without their knowledge, rolling back a law that mostly affected sex workers. The bill, SB 239, which was approved by the Democrat-controlled state legislature in September and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (D) on Friday, will lower the charges for these acts from a felony to a misdemeanor when the law goes into effect in 2018. The act of knowingly donating HIV-infected blood, also a felony now, will be decriminalized. (Rosenberg, 10/9)

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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