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KHN First Edition: November 22, 2017

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First Edition

Wednesday, November 22, 2017                       Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

NOTE TO READERS: KHN's First Edition will not be published Nov. 23-24. Look for it again in your inbox Nov. 27. Here's today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Meanwhile, In Other Health News …
Most followers of health policy have been consumed lately by the potential repeal or alteration of the Affordable Care Act, as well as the ongoing open enrollment for individual insurance for 2018. But that’s far from the only health news out there. In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo, and Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Health News discuss some of the important but under-covered stories you might have missed this fall, including prescription drug price fights and women’s reproductive health. (11/21)

Kaiser Health News: This Thanksgiving, Carve Out Time For Lively Discourse On End-Of-Life Wishes
The roast turkey and pecan pie may be the same as always, but growing numbers of families plan to add a tradition to their Thanksgiving holiday this week: a frank talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Paul Malley, president of Aging with Dignity, the agency behind Five Wishes, a popular living will, says requests for the documents that guide decisions surrounding serious illness and death typically surge starting now. (Aleccia, 11/22)

Kaiser Health News: Got Food Allergies? Add Milk To The Worries For Your Meal
Since her son Matt was an infant, Lynda Mitchell knew he had a milk allergy. She controlled the symptoms by switching his baby formula. But when he was 1, Halloween proved horrifying. While trick-or-treating in a pumpkin costume, Matt grabbed a chocolate bar and bit through the wrapper. Although he spit out the candy, his violent allergic reaction morphed into a mess of hives, swelling and labored breathing. He ended up in the emergency room. (Heredia Rodriguez, 11/22)

California Healthline: Problems With Your Hospital Care? Speak Up!
My dad was in excruciating pain over Labor Day weekend, so my mom rushed him to the emergency room of a renowned university hospital. Doctors determined that he needed surgery that night, and luckily I was able to fly in and see him before he was wheeled away. “Take care of your mom if anything happens to me,” he said as my mom and I wept. (Emily Bazar, 11/22)

Politico: Murkowski Says She Backs Obamacare Mandate Repeal
Sen. Lisa Murkowski says she supports GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, the Alaska Republican wrote in an op-ed for a local newspaper Friday. "I have always supported the freedom to choose," Murkowski wrote in her op-ed for the Daily News-Miner, an Alaska newspaper. "I believe that the federal government should not force anyone to buy something they do not wish to buy, in order to avoid being taxed." (Diamond, 11/21)

The Hill: Murkowski Backs Repealing ObamaCare Mandate In Boost To Tax Reform
Murkowski, a key moderate swing vote, wrote in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that she supports giving people additional freedom by repealing the mandate, which requires people to have insurance or pay a fine. "Repealing the individual mandate simply restores to people the freedom to choose," Murkowski wrote. "Nothing else about the structure of the ACA would be changed." (Sullivan, 11/21)

The Hill: Actuaries Warn Congress Mandate Repeal Would Increase Premiums
The American Academy of Actuaries is warning Congress against repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in tax reform, saying the move could lead to higher premiums and insurers leaving the market. The group warned in a letter to Congress on Tuesday against repealing the mandate in tax reform, as Senate Republicans propose. (Sullivan, 11/21)

Wall Street Journal: Eli Lilly Bets Big On Insulin-Delivery Devices
Eli Lilly & Co., one of the biggest makers of insulin, has been planning a risky new business venture: making the high-tech devices that deliver insulin to diabetes patients. In a research laboratory Lilly opened here in 2015, scientists have been developing a wearable, automated insulin-delivery device designed to reduce the decision-making and guesswork of conventional insulin injections. They are also developing a “smart pen” injection device that can wirelessly transmit dosing information to a patient’s phone, to ensure proper dosing. (Loftus, 11/21)

The Wall Street Journal: How To Enjoy The Holidays—Without Gaining Weight
At this time of year, many revelers overdo it at the holiday table, unwilling to forgo the turkey or ham with fixings that mark the season. While many Americans serve their Thanksgiving meal in the afternoon, around 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., a giant food-fest at that time of day may not be optimal. Lauri Wright, the director of the Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition Program at the University of North Florida’s Brooks College of Health, dishes on midday dining and why a healthy breakfast may be the key to indulging in a big meal without guilt. (Mitchell, 11/21)

NPR: Asking About Opioids: A Treatment Plan Can Make All The Difference
For years, doctors have asked people about tobacco use and excessive drinking in the hopes that the answers could help lead people to cut down or quit. But screening alone isn't usually sufficient to change behavior. As opioid use hits record highs in the U.S., Christiana Care Health System in Delaware is starting to ask people about opioid use — and then go further. (Morrison, 11/21)

The Washington Post: More Middle-School Girls Are Inflicting Self-Pain. Experts Say It Might Be Because Of Smartphones
A 15-year study of emergency room visits reveals new signs of emotional suffering among the nation's young women and girls — particularly those in their middle-school years. Emergency room visits for girls 10 to 14 who inflicted self-pain were relatively stable before 2008 but escalated in the years since, according to new data. It is unclear why the rate of self-injury among younger teens has climbed, though some experts say it could be because of the girls' access to smartphones and Internet bullying. (Eltagouri, 11/21)

Los Angeles Times: Self-Harm Rises Sharply Among Tween And Young Teen Girls, Study Shows
For girls navigating the straits of adolescence and young adulthood, there are new signs of serious emotional trouble. From 2009 to 2015, the nation's emergency rooms saw a sharp rise in treatment of girls 10 to 24 who intentionally injured themselves. But inside that increasing trend of girls and young women harming themselves — a yearly hike of 8.4% in ER visits over six years — lies an even more alarming statistic: Among girls 10 to 14 years old, rates of ER visits for treatment of self-harm surged 18.8% yearly between 2009 and 2015. (Healy, 11/21)

The New York Times: As Malaria Resists Treatment, Experts Warn Of Global Crisis
When Tran Viet Hung was a soldier patrolling these forested hills in southern Vietnam six years ago, he came down with a fever and chills. He tested positive for malaria and spent a few days recovering in a government clinic. Now Mr. Hung, 37, shrugs off the incident as an occupational hazard of working in this corner of Binh Phuoc Province, a malaria hot spot along Vietnam’s porous border with Cambodia. (McNeil, 11/21)

The New York Times: Sugar Industry Long Downplayed Potential Harms
The sugar industry funded animal research in the 1960s that looked into the effects of sugar consumption on cardiovascular health — and then buried the data when it suggested that sugar could be harmful, according to newly released historical documents. The internal industry documents were uncovered by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and described in a new report in the journal PLOS Biology on Tuesday. (O'Connor, 11/21)

NPR: What The Industry Knew About Sugar's Health Effects, But Didn't Tell Us
Back in the 1960s, the fact that our diets influence the risk of heart disease was still a new idea. And there was a debate about the role of fats and the role of sugar. The sugar industry got involved in efforts to influence this debate. "What the sugar industry successively did," argues Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, "is they shifted all of the blame onto fats." (Aubrey, 11/21)

NPR: Health Care System Fails Many Transgender Americans
On a recent weekday afternoon, Ruby Corado let herself into the drop-in center at the homeless shelter she founded for LGBTQ youth to make the rounds with new clients. In the basement of Casa Ruby in Washington, D.C., transgender men and women in their late teens and 20s, mostly brown or black, shared snacks, watched TV, chatted or played games on their phones. Many of them, said Corado, are part of the 31 percent. (Ulaby, 11/21)

The New York Times: ‘I Have No Idea How to Tell This Horror Story’
ohn Branch, a sports reporter at The New York Times, has been in sporadic contact via text messaging and email with Walter Peat since writing about him and his son Stephen, a former N.H.L. player. At the time of the article, in June 2016, Stephen Peat was 36 and experiencing debilitating headaches and violent mood swings. Peat was primarily an enforcer, a player designated to drop his gloves and square off in fist-to-fist combat with an opponent. The Peats presumed that Stephen’s problems were rooted in brain trauma sustained on the ice in so many fights. (11/21)

The New York Times: Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses And Doctors Leaving London
Tanja Pardela is leaving London. Her last day is Nov. 26. She wells up talking about it. She will miss jacket potatoes, and Sunday roasts, and her morning commute — past playing fields, small children in school uniforms and a red telephone box — to the hospital where she has been a pediatric nurse for 11 years. Ms. Pardela does not want to leave the country she came to over a decade ago. But that country no longer exists. On June 24 last year, she said, “We all woke up in a different country.” (Bennhold, 11/21)

The Wall Street Journal: More Than A Third Of Outcome Health’s Employees Take Buyouts
More than a third of Outcome Health’s employees elected to take buyouts this week, according to people familiar with the company’s operations. The Chicago advertising startup, which raised nearly $500 million in venture funding earlier this year, offered the voluntary buyouts to employees on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported. Of the company’s 535 employees as of Monday, about 200 took the buyout and will be leaving by Dec. 8, these people said. (Winkler, 11/21)

The Washington Post: United Medical Center’s Top Doctor Is Fired After Criticizing Hospital Consultants
The chief medical officer at the District’s public hospital, who this month accused the contractor running the facility of mismanagement and illegal overbilling of federal insurance programs, has been fired, his attorneys said Tuesday. Julian Craig, the top doctor at United Medical Center in Southeast Washington and a past president of the Medical Society of D.C., received a letter during the weekend from hospital board Chairwoman LaRuby May saying that his contract won’t be renewed. As a result, his employment will end Dec. 18. (Jamison, 11/21)

The Associated Press: Victims Of Cancer Doctor Could Receive $4.1M In Repayment
An expert is recommending approval of $4.1 million in claims, including $2 million in funeral costs, filed by victims of a Detroit-area doctor who committed fraud by putting hundreds of patients through needless cancer treatments. Randi Roth gave an update Tuesday to a judge who is overseeing the case of Dr. Farid Fata. She said 81 percent of 741 claims are fully or partly eligible for restitution. (11/21)

Los Angeles Times: L.A. May Try To Block Reopening Of Oil Drilling Site Blamed For Health Problems
Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo is pursuing an unusual plan that could thwart the reopening of a South L.A. oil drilling site that suspended operations after a public outcry over nosebleeds and other health problems reported by neighbors. Cedillo, who represents the area near the Allenco Energy Inc. site, wants the city to use a rarely exercised power under its municipal code to cancel "oil drilling districts" where drilling is allowed. (Reyes, 11/21)

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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