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KHN First Edition: August 14, 2015

KHN

First Edition

Friday, August 14, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: How Much Is That Eye Exam? Study Probes The Elusive Quest For Health Care Prices
WBUR's Martha Bebinger, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Let’s say you’re having trouble reading this. The words are a little fuzzy. You might need glasses or a new prescription. So you call to make an appointment for an eye exam and ask how much the visit will cost. You’re going to pay for the appointment because your insurance plan has a deductible that you haven’t met. Seems like a simple question, but be prepared: There’s a good chance you won’t get a simple answer." (Bebinger, 8/14)

The Associated Press: Health Law Sign-Ups Keep Growing; Uninsured Rate Declines
Nearly a million people signed up for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law even after the official enrollment season ended, helping push the share of uninsured Americans below 10 percent and underscoring how hard it could be for Republicans to dismantle the program. The Health and Human Services Department said Thursday that 943,934 new customers have signed up since open enrollment ended on Feb. 22, benefiting from "special enrollment periods" keyed to life changes and other circumstances. (8/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Healthcare.gov Saw Almost 950,000 Sign Up After Open Enrollment
Almost 950,000 new customers selected health coverage on HealthCare.gov outside of the open-enrollment period after they became eligible due to changes such as losing their employer-provided insurance or having a baby, according to a government report on the federal health insurance exchange. With the new consumers who enrolled during the year due to changes in their circumstances, the Obama administration remains on track to meet its goal of 9.1 million to 9.9 million people who have paid for coverage through the insurance exchanges by the end of 2015. (Armour, 8/13)

The New York Times: John Kasich’s Appeal To Moderates Gains Traction In New Hampshire
But what he is not saying is just as revealing. During the event, at a country club in a Democratic-leaning part of the state, he dispatched a question about whether he would support legalized abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman is in jeopardy with a single word — “Yes” — cutting off discussion of an issue that has addled some of his opponents. ... Mr. Kasich says he is most animated by what he calls “people in the shadows,” those with mental illness, developmental disabilities and in at-risk minority communities. (Martin, 8/13)

The Washington Post: Carly Fiorina: Parents Should Not Be Forced To Vaccinate Their Children
GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina said Thursday that parents should not be forced to vaccinate their children against diseases like measles and mumps, although she added that public school systems can forbid unvaccinated children from attending. "When in doubt, it is always the parent's choice," Fiorina said during a town hall in an agricultural building in rural Iowa on Thursday evening. "When in doubt, it must always be the parent's choice." (Johnson, 8/13)

NPR: At Clinton Event, An Emotional Conversation On Substance Use
New Hampshire is in the throes of a drug epidemic driven by prescription opiods and heroin. "The state of New Hampshire loses a citizen to an overdose death about every day," said Tym Rourke, chair of the New Hampshire Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. In New Hampshire, a recent poll about the most important problems facing the state found drug abuse ranks second. That puts it ahead of education, taxes and the state budget. And now politicians visiting the first-in-the-nation primary state are paying attention — in part because so many voters are bringing it up. (Keith, 8/14)

The Wall Street Journal: Study: Pentagon Health Care Costs For Transgender Troops Would Be Minimal
A new study says that if the Pentagon allows transgender people to serve in the U.S. military, the cost of providing specialized medical care to them would be relatively minimal. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced last month that the Pentagon would study how to dismantle a ban on transgender people from serving in the military, essentially paving the way for the ban to be lifted formally as early as December. One of the factors the Pentagon is considering is the cost of administering health care to service members who require specialized medical treatment or surgery as they undergo a sex change. (Lubold, 8/13)

The New York Times: City Council Passes Bill Aimed At Limiting Future Legionnaires’ Outbreaks
With New York City’s largest ever outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease apparently waning, the City Council passed a bill on Thursday intended to thwart future spread of the illness. The legislation, which was developed by Mayor Bill de Blasio; the Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito; and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, requires building owners to conduct quarterly inspections of cooling towers, which have been pinpointed as the source of the outbreak. Owners must provide annual certification that their towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected. The legislation also requires building owners to carry out a maintenance plan and to register any cooling towers, or face fines and potential prison time, depending on the severity of the transgression. (Remnick, 8/13)

The Associated Press: Police Department Offers Heroin Addicts Amnesty, Treatment
The young woman nursing a fresh black eye has come to the police station in this old fishing city for help. But she's not looking to report a crime or seek someone's arrest. She wants help kicking her heroin addiction. "It was better than the alternative," says the woman, in her mid-20s, as she waits wearily for her ride to a detox center, following a long night that involved a stint in the emergency room, wrestling with the early pains of withdrawal and, finally, sleep in a police holding cell. "I just knew if I was let go, I'd just go out and use." (8/14)

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2014 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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