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KHN First Edition: August 17, 2015


First Edition

Monday, August 17, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: California’s Plan To Absorb Medically Fragile Children Into Managed Care Proves Controversial
Reporting for Kaiser Health News, Barbara Feder Ostrov and Anna Gorma write: "When Kausha King’s son Christian was born with cerebral palsy, along with a seizure disorder and lung disease, doctors told her he would not live past the age of three. Today, Christian is 18, and although he cannot walk or speak, he is happy and thriving, King says. King credits much of her son’s progress to a little-known state program known as California Children’s Services (CCS), which pays for specialized medical care for children with severe illnesses or birth defects." (Ostrov and Gorman, 8/17)

The New York Times: Most Health Insurance Co-Ops Are Losing Money, Federal Audit Finds
Most federal insurance cooperatives created under the Affordable Care Act are losing money and could have difficulty repaying millions of dollars in federal loans, an internal government audit has found, prompting the Obama administration to step up supervision of the carriers. Daniel R. Levinson, the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, said that most of the insurance co-ops enrolled fewer people than they had predicted, and that 22 of the 23 co-ops lost money last year. (Pear, 8/14)

The Wall Street Journal: How Medicare Rewards Copious Nursing-Home Therapy
During his 2013 California nursing-home stay, Jack Furumura became severely dehydrated and shed more than 5 pounds, partly because staff didn’t follow written plans for his nutrition or the facility’s policies, a state inspection report shows. Still, during many of his 21 days there, the 96-year-old man suffering from dementia received two hours or more of physical and occupational therapy combined, records show. (Weaver, Wilde Mathews and McGinty, 8/16)

NPR: Fact Check: Was Planned Parenthood Started To 'Control' The Black Population?
Ben Carson alleged in an interview with Fox News Wednesday that Planned Parenthood puts most of its clinics in black neighborhoods to "control the population" and that its founder, Margaret Sanger, "was not particularly enamored with black people." Planned Parenthood has been a target on the campaign trail after a series of sting videos was released alleging the organization illegally profits from selling aborted fetal tissue. Carson, a famed neurosurgeon turned Republican presidential candidate, has been a vocal opponent of the group. He was also in the news this week after reports surfaced that he once used aborted fetal tissue for research. (Kelly, 8/14)

Politico: HHS To Congress: No Violations Of Fetal Tissue Laws
The Obama administration says there are no known violations of the country’s fetal tissue laws among government researchers or the companies that supply the tissue. ... Very little federal research is done with fetal tissue, but it has come under scrutiny since an anti-abortion group earlier this summer began releasing undercover videos alleging that Planned Parenthood was trafficking in fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood has denied that, saying it facilitates legal tissue donation at a few of its locations. (Haberkorn, 8/16)

NPR: When Rehab Might Help An Addict — But Insurance Won't Cover It
The latest numbers show that deaths from heroin-related overdose more than tripled nationally between 2002 and 2013. Opiate addiction touches every demographic: white, black, Hispanic, rural, suburban and urban. Proposed solutions nationally include more government funding for treatment, tougher penalties for dealers, and proactive interventions to stop people before they start. (Allen, 8/16)

The Wall Street Journal: Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson Moves To End Planned Parenthood Funding
Planned Parenthood said the move is part of a bigger, dangerous political agenda and that Mr. Hutchinson has signed new abortion restrictions into law this year. ... Planned Parenthood said earlier that it is weighing all options following the steps to cut off Medicaid funding. The organization said it is also watching for potential defunding measures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (Armour, 8/14)

The Associated Press: Arkansas Ending Medicaid Payments To Planned Parenthood
Arkansas is ending its Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday, despite warnings federal officials have given other states that such a move could violate the law. Hutchinson ordered the Arkansas Department of Human Services to terminate its Medicaid provider contract with the organization in 30 days. The move came in response to secretly recorded videos released by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research. (Demillo, 8/14)

The Wall Street Journal: Steelworkers To Rally For Wage, Health-Benefit Pacts
These labor talks are the first in a generation to be held during a down market. During the past two negotiating sessions—in 2008 and 2012—prices were strong. Workers had bargaining leverage, and they negotiated solid blue-collar paychecks including health-care benefits and wages well over $50,000 a year. (Miller, 8/16)

Politico: Trump Hails Women's Health Issues, Details Abortion Exemptions
Donald Trump, calling women’s health issues “very important,” is making it clear he now supports a woman’s right to chose an abortion in the case of rape, incest or if her life is at risk. “Ronald Reagan had those same exceptions. And many Republicans have those same exceptions,” Trump said in a wide-ranging, sit-down interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” (Shutt, 8/16)

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Kasich, Taking A Break From N.H., Goes For A Southern Endorsement
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose GOP presidential campaign has been focused heavily on New Hampshire, is making a swing down south Monday to pick up an endorsement from Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley, according to a Kasich campaign source. ... Mr. Kasich’s Alabama endorsement comes from a governor who took a very different path than the one followed by Mr. Kasich as governor of Ohio in his approach to carrying out President Barack Obama‘s health-care law, the Affordable Care Act. Under Mr. Bentley, a dermatologist, Alabama refused to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion, which the law provides to expand health coverage. Mr. Kasich, by contrast, broke ranks with his party and expanded his state’s Medicaid program under the ACA—a move that has drawn criticism from conservative Republicans and some of his presidential rivals. (Hook, 8/17)

NPR: Though Not A Death Sentence, HIV/AIDS Still Holds A Powerful Stigma
Indiana was hit with an outbreak of HIV/AIDS this spring, and it got a lot of attention because it is so exceptional. Our perception of HIV/AIDS has changed since the disease emerged in the early 1980s. There are all kinds of treatments and resources — things that simply didn't exist when the epidemic began. (Martin, 8/16)

The Associated Press: Soldier's Journey To Heal Spotlights 'Soul Wounds' Of War
[T]hey'd spent years torturing themselves over acts that tortured their conscience. "Souls in anguish" is how some experts describe this psychological scar of war now being identified as "moral injury." Unlike post-traumatic stress disorder, which is based on fear from feeling one's life threatened, moral injury produces extreme guilt and shame from something done or witnessed that goes against one's values or may even be a crime. ... While the idea of warriors feeling remorse over battlefield horrors is not new, moral injury has gained more attention following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as mental health providers point to it as a reason why veterans aren't improving with PTSD treatments. More than 390,000 veterans of those conflicts have sought help through the VA for PTSD. (Watson, 8/15)

The Associated Press: Questions And Answers About The War Wound 'Moral Injury'
A psychological wound known as moral injury is gaining attention in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with veterans now being treated for these injuries to the soul — even as medical experts debate whether moral injury is a condition unto itself or a subset of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some questions and answers about moral injury, and how it compares with and differs from PTSD. (8/15)

Los Angeles Times: Taxes And Fees Are On The Table As Gov. Brown And Lawmakers Tackle Tough Challenges
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers will start tackling some of the state's toughest challenges this week, and the solution to many of them may be new taxes and fees for Californians. The Capitol's ruling Democrats want to hit up residents and businesses for billions of dollars as they seek new ways to fund public healthcare, subsidize construction of affordable housing and pay for road repairs. (Megerian and McGreevy, 8/15)

The New York Times: Order To Clean Towers Strains Crews Amid Legionnaires’ Outbreak In Bronx
When the bacteria that cause Legionnaires’ disease were discovered last week in a cooling tower above a South Bronx deli, New York City officials decided the cleanup could not wait. At their request, Rich Parker rushed his best cleaning crew over to the two-story building at 903 Sheridan Avenue on Tuesday night, arming them with respirators, power washers and an arsenal of chemicals for an emergency disinfection. The Fire Department’s Ladder Company 44 was summoned to lift the crew to the roof using a fire truck ladder. (Hu, 8/16)

The Associated Press: Judge Temporarily Blocks Alabama Abortion Clinic Regulation
A federal judge has blocked an Alabama abortion regulation that could have permanently closed the state's busiest abortion clinic, saying Thursday that the rule was unnecessary to protect women. U.S. District Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order blocking the regulation last week, saying that the closure of the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa could prevent women from obtaining abortions. He followed up the order with an 81-page opinion issued Thursday. (Chandler, 8/14)

Reuters: New York Becomes Most Populous State To Ban Powdered Alcohol
New York on Friday became the most populous U.S. state to ban the sale of powdered alcohol, a controversial just-add-water beverage that opponents say will lead to a rise in underage drinking and abuses. The new drink that comes in freeze-dried liquors like rum and vodka has gotten a swell of political pushback, with more than 20 states banning the beverage since federal regulators approved it in March. (Kearney, 8/14)

The Associated Press: Officials: Man Posed As Doctor, Treated Patients In Basement
More than 100 patients were duped by a “dangerous scam artist” who posed as a clinical psychologist, met with patients in his basement and prescribed antidepressants, prosecutors said Friday in announcing his arrest. Donald Lee-Edwards, 43, pleaded not guilty Thursday to criminal impersonation, drug sale, scheme to defraud and other charges. (Balsamo, 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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