Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Pain By The Numbers

NIH analysis quantifies who is in pain and when, including more than 25 million people who say they have pain every day. (Rachel Gotbaum, 8/24)

3. Political Cartoon: 'Pat Answer'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Pat Answer'" by John Deering from "Strange Brew".

Here's today's health policy haiku:


More watchful waiting -
To stay abreast of disease!
Keep surgeons at bay?

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Administration News

4. Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage Protections For Home-Health Workers Reinstated

A federal appeals court upholds Labor Department regulations granting home-health workers the right to minimum-wage and overtime pay.

The Associated Press: Appeals Court Reinstates Wage Rules for Home Care Workers
A federal appeals court on Friday revived Obama administration regulations that guarantee overtime and minimum wage protection to nearly 2 million home health care workers. The ruling was a victory for worker advocacy groups and labor unions that have long sought higher wages for domestic workers who help the elderly and disabled with everyday tasks such as bathing or taking medicine. (8/21)

Bloomberg: Home-Care Workers Win Right To Get Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage
Home-care workers won the right to overtime pay and the minimum wage after a U.S. court Friday upheld a Labor Department rule that was challenged by business groups. The Obama administration said the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia covers almost 2 million workers “whose demanding work merits these fundamental wage guarantees.” (Snyder, 8/21)

Reuters: Appeals Court Upholds Minimum Wage For Home-Care Workers
A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld a Department of Labor rule requiring employment agencies to pay the minimum wage and overtime to domestic workers providing in-home care for the elderly, sick or disabled. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected a challenge filed by the Home Care Association of America and two other trade associations that represent the agencies. The decision overturns a lower court ruling that had invalidated the 2013 regulation. (Hurley, 8/21)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

5. Koch Brothers' Health Law Opposition Set For Long Fight

The president of Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, says support for his group is growing. In other health law news, a look at efforts to improve coverage for people on Medicare and Medicaid, an appeals court temporarily stays its ruling about contraceptive coverage, California's marketplace pledges to improve service and Speaker John Boehner hires a health care expert.

Reuters: How Long Will Opponents Fight Obamacare? How Long Have You Got?
If there’s one thing that exasperates Tim Phillips, the president of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, it’s when outsiders don’t understand he’s in it for the long run. The group, founded by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, has been around for 10 years already, and its presence is growing. Each time the number of people signed up to volunteer for AFP reaches a certain threshold in a state, AFP opens a field office there. It now has offices in 33 states, and at its national Defending the American Dream Summit on Friday and Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Phillips joked that he was ready to accompany the handful of volunteers from Hawaii back home to do the difficult task of opening an office there. (Flitter, 8/23)

Politico Pro: Using Experience To Tackle The Challenges Of ‘Dual Eligibles’
CMS has learned the hard way that coordinating care for vulnerable Americans who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid is tough, with rocky starts for many of the dozen state projects targeting these “dual eligibles.” But it’s hoping a Rhode Island program will be lucky 13. ... The state could even serve as a guide for future initiatives elsewhere. Federal officials still hope to expand the projects if they can show cost savings as well as improved quality of care — the critical goal of this Affordable Care Act effort to help the millions of seniors and disabled individuals who are dual eligibles. Many have significant mental or physical challenges. All are low income. Tracking their services between Medicare and Medicaid has been rare in the past, resulting in less efficient and more costly care. (Mershon, 8/24)

Reuters: U.S. Appeals Court Stays Ruling On Nuns Challenge To Contraception Mandate
A federal appeals court on Friday put on hold its ruling that an order of Roman Catholic nuns must comply with a contraception mandate to President Barack Obama's healthcare law, giving the group time to petition the U.S. Supreme Court. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver granted a request by the Little Sisters of the Poor for a stay of the court's earlier decision that the requirement did not substantially curb the nun's religious liberty. (Coffman, 8/21)

Los Angeles Times: California's Obamacare Exchange Criticized For Not Fixing Enrollment, Tax Errors
In a response to blistering criticism from a consumer group, California's Obamacare exchange vowed to fix longstanding enrollment and tax-related errors that have blocked consumers from getting coverage for months and left some with unforeseen bills. Lee, executive director of the Covered California exchange, addressed the complaints at a Thursday board meeting and said more staff and resources have been assigned to resolve these lingering glitches. (Terhune, 8/21)

Politico: Boehner Hires Health Care Adviser
Speaker John Boehner has hired one of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s top aides to advise him on health care policy. Paul Edattel, who has worked on Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) panel since 2011, will begin as assistant to the speaker for policy, in charge of the Ohio Republican’s health care policy. (Sherman, 8/21)

Meanwhile, Boehner is girding for some tough negotiations on other issues when Congress returns.

USA Today: 5 Perilous Issues For Boehner When Congress Returns
Many Republicans, for example, would like a must-pass spending bill to include provisions blocking Obama's immigration actions and environmental regulations. Others want any omnibus spending bill to include an amendment that strips federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The reproductive health care provider has come under scrutiny after the release of undercover videos in which Planned Parenthood officials discussed providing tissue from aborted fetuses for research. (Shesgreen, 8/24)

Campaign 2016

6. Ted Cruz To Take Lead Role In Anti-Planned Parenthood Campaign As He Courts Evangelicals

In other news from the Republican primary field: Scott Walker has a plan for winning Senate support for his health proposal, Rick Perry and John Kasich trade barbs on Medicaid expansion, Donald Trump tells big crowds that he will "repeal and replace" Obamacare and Bobby Jindal brags about his move against Planned Parenthood supporters.

The Washington Post: Cruz’s Evangelical Outreach Shifts Into High Gear
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has assiduously courted evangelicals throughout his presidential run, will take a lead role in the launch this week of an ambitious 50-state campaign to end taxpayer support for Planned Parenthood — a move that is likely to give the GOP candidate a major primary-season boost in the fierce battle for social-conservative and evangelical voters. (Zezima and Hamburger, 8/23)

The Associated Press: Walker's Health Plan Hinges On A Tricky Subsidy Rollback
Republican Scott Walker's plan for repealing and replacing President Barack Obama's health care law hinges on what many see as a nearly insurmountable obstacle — getting 60 votes in the Senate. Walker's solution for winning over enough lawmakers? In a nutshell, he would first strip away the federal health insurance subsidies that they and their staff get as government employees. That, he says, would expose them to the same premium increases that many Americans have to pay and prompt Congress to act on his plan. (Bauer, 8/24)

Cleveland.com: Rick Perry Criticizes John Kasich's Decision To Expand Medicaid
Three Republican presidential candidates made the case to conservative voters gathered here Saturday that each was the best choice to lead the country, but only one took aim specifically at a fellow GOP contender. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized Republican governors who expanded Medicaid. ... In explaining his decision to expand Medicaid, Gov. John Kasich has said the more than $13 billion federal dollars Ohio receives for the program belong to Ohioans and would be spent in other states if Ohio did not accept them. Perry, without mentioning Kasich's name, said that argument was "just nonsense." (Borchardt, 8/24)

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich Team Returns Fire On Rick Perry Comments At Koch Brothers Summit
Harsh criticism over Gov. John Kasich's acceptance of federal money to expand Medicaid by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew a rapid response from the Ohio governor's campaign. Perry's comments Saturday at the Americans for Prosperity summit in Columbus stand in stark contrast to his actions as governor, when Texas accepted federal money from President Barack Obama's stimulus, said Rob Nichols. (Rowland, 8/23)

CNN: Jindal Brags About Showing Planned Parenthood Videos To Protesters
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal bragged Friday that when abortion rights demonstrators showed up at the governor's mansion to protest his recent cuts to Planned Parenthood, he had a surprise for them: large screens to display the secretly-recorded vid

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