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KHN First Edition: September 14, 2015


First Edition

Monday, September 14, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Medicare Yet To Save Money Through Heralded Medical Payment Model
Kaiser Health News staff writers Jordan Rau and Jenny Gold report: "A high-profile Medicare experiment pushing doctors and hospitals to join together to operate more efficiently has yet to save the government money, with nearly half of the groups costing more than the government estimated their patients would normally cost, federal records show." (Rau and Gold, 9/14)

Kaiser Health News: Accountable Care Organizations, Explained
Read this updated explainer by Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold: One of the main ways the Affordable Care Act seeks to reduce health care costs is by encouraging doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to form networks that coordinate patient care and become eligible for bonuses when they deliver that care more efficiently. ... ACOs have become one of the most talked about new ideas in Obamacare. Here are answers to some common questions about how they work (Gold, 9/14). You can also watch the accompanying motion graphic.

Kaiser Health News: New Heart Failure Treatments Would Drive Up Short-Term Health Spending, Report Says
Two new treatments for congestive heart failure cost too much in the short term and would drive up spending by insurers and government programs, a nonprofit group said in an analysis released Friday, just days after the same researchers took similar aim at expensive new cholesterol drugs. The treatments – one a $17,750 sensor implanted in the pulmonary artery and the other a $4,600-a-year prescription pill – are the first new treatments in more than a decade for heart failure, a life-threatening condition. (Appleby, 9/14)

The New York Times: One Symptom In New Medical Codes: Doctor Anxiety
The nation’s health care providers are under orders to start using a new system of medical codes to describe illnesses and injuries in more detail than ever before. The codes will cover common ailments: Did a diabetic also have kidney disease? But also included are some that are far less common: whether the patient was crushed by a crocodile or sucked into a jet engine. (Pear, 9/13)

Politico: McConnell's Fall Mandate: Keep Calm, Avert Catastrophe
But he also enjoys advantages his House counterpart John Boehner can only wish for — starting with a Republican conference that, with the notable exception of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), almost uniformly has his back. McConnell appears to have sufficient support to beat back against Cruz’s plans to force a government shutdown showdown over Planned Parenthood funding, no matter what insults the Texan hurls. ... But as Boehner grapples with his own job security amid constant threats from the right, McConnell can at least focus on a few discrete policy targets without having to worry about a coup. He wants to force Democrats to again express support for the Iran nuclear agreement, and to vote against a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks. ... This is not what the conservative base wants to hear. Led by Cruz, the House Freedom Caucus and conservative media figures like Mark Levin and Erick Erickson, the party’s right flank is agitating for a major showdown over funding Planned Parenthood, not piecemeal legislation that can actually pass the Senate. (Everett and Bresnahan,9/14)

The Wall Street Journal: John Boehner And His Patience Are Tested Anew By GOP Lawmakers
The latest revolt to Mr. Boehner’s leadership began in late July when Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) submitted a measure aimed at pushing the speaker out of his post and enumerating a long list of grievances. Conservatives said they are watching to see how GOP leaders fare during September battles over Planned Parenthood and government funding levels to decide if they will attempt again to hold a floor vote on the measure. ... Mr. Boehner will have a harder time this month reaching a compromise with the 31 Republicans who have said they won’t vote for any spending bills that retain funding for Planned Parenthood after videos showed officials with the group discussing fees for procuring fetal tissue for medical researchers. This week the House will vote on a bill freezing all federal funding for Planned Parenthood for a year, while congressional investigations of the videos continue. (son and Hughes, 9/13)

The Associated Press: GOP Leaders' Complex Fight To Avoid Federal Shutdown
No government shutdown this year, Republican congressional leaders say. But with Congress, it's never easy. A band of conservatives say they won't back legislation financing government agencies unless the bill blocks federal payments to Planned Parenthood. A partial shutdown will occur Oct. 1 unless lawmakers provide money to keep government functioning. With time running out, GOP leaders haven't said how they will handle conservatives' demands while also rounding up enough votes to prevent a shutdown. (9/13)

Politico: McConnell: Planned Parenthood Funding Protest 'Exercise In Futility'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview Friday he will back a plan to fund the government into December with no conditions, rejecting in his strongest terms yet calls from within his party to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a larger budget bill. “It’s an exercise in futility," the Kentucky Republican said of a strategy that would likely provoke a government shutdown. "I’m anxious to defund Planned Parenthood" but "the honest answer of that is that’s not going to happen until you have a president who has a similar view." (Everett and Bresnahan, 9/11)

The New York Times: Ben Carson Works His Way Up The Donation Ladder
Not long ago, Mr. Carson seemed the most far-fetched of candidates. He had compared President Obama’s health care law to slavery and was disinvited to speak at Johns Hopkins, his former employer, over comments about gay people. But he has found a legitimacy in his party thanks to his embrace from conservative voters, especially evangelical Christians. “Carson’s grass-roots support gives him a staying power that many of the other candidates don’t have,” said Erick Erickson, the founder of RedState, an influential conservative blog. But the real tests lie ahead, he cautioned: “Ultimately, votes are more important than money.” (Lichtblau and Gabriel, 9/13)

The Washington Post: Poll: Trump, Carson Top GOP Race; Clinton Leads Dems But Support Drops
Two non-politicians, businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, dominate the contest for the Republican nomination, together accounting for more than half of the potential vote as support for traditional politicians continues to decline, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. In the contest for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Rodham Clinton has lost significant ground over the past two months, as she has struggled to manage the controversy over her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of state. (Balz and Clement, 9/14)

The Associated Press: Louisiana Officials Try New Path To Block Planned Parenthood
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is trying a new approach to remove Planned Parenthood from Louisiana’s Medicaid program, this time saying it has a reason to block the organization’s clinics. Jindal, an anti-abortion Republican running for president in 2016, had initially ended Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s clinics in Baton Rouge and New Orleans without providing a reason. The administration said state law allowed cancellation with a 30-day notice. (Deslatte, 9/11)

The Associated Press: Licenses Suspended At 2 Abortion Clinics In South Carolina
South Carolina’s public health agency suspended the licenses of two of the state’s three abortion clinics Friday and threatened to close them — actions that an official at one of the centers called “extreme.” The Department of Health and Environmental Control issued suspension orders for Planned Parenthood’s Columbia clinic and the Greenville Women’s Clinic, citing violations found during recent inspections. (Adcox, 9/11)

The Washington Post: A Pregnant Woman Wanted Her Tubes Tied. Her Catholic Hospital Said No.
It was painful to hear but ultimately seemed the best course to Jessica Mann and her family. Because of a dangerous tumor in her brain, her doctor gently suggested that she take steps to make sure that she could not get pregnant again. ... ann, 33, who is due to have her third baby next month, decided that while she was under anesthesia during the birth, she would undergo a tubal ligation — a procedure that would prevent further pregnancies. But her hospital said no. ... Mann’s situation is the latest to draw attention to the simmering debate over religious liberties and how far people and organizations of faith may go in denying people services that conflict with their beliefs. (Somashekhar, 9/13)

The New York Times: Panel Studying Racial Divide In Missouri Presents A Blunt Picture Of Inequity
A commission appointed by Missouri’s governor after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer is calling for sweeping changes across the St. Louis region on matters of policing, the courts, education, health care, housing and more. In a 198-page report to be made public in Ferguson, Mo., on Monday afternoon, the commission lays out goals that are ambitious, wide ranging and, in many cases, politically delicate. Among 47 top priorities, the group calls for increasing the minimum wage, expanding eligibility for Medicaid and consolidating the patchwork of 60 police forces and 81 municipal courts that cover St. Louis and its suburbs. (Davey, 9/14)

Los Angeles Times: Negotiations To Tax Health Plans Falter On The Legislature's Final Day
An effort to craft a new tax on health plans to stave off a looming plunge in federal funding for Medi-Cal has stalled, the Brown administration said Friday. The health plans tax was at the top of the agenda for a special session on healthcare that was convened by Gov. Jerry Brown. California currently imposes a tax on plans that accept Medi-Cal patients, and the revenue goes into the state’s general fund to help pay for Medi-Cal and other services. (Mason, 9/11)

The Wall Street Journal: California Senate Passes Right-To-Die Legislation
California lawmakers on Friday approved legislation that would make the state one of only a handful to grant terminally ill patients the authority to end their lives with the assistance of a physician. The measure, known as the End of Life Options Act, passed the California Senate on a 23-14 vote. It now heads to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not indicated whether he would sign it into law. (Lazo, 9/11)

The Associated Press: Actors, Mentally Ill Aid NYC Police Training Meant To Calm
A woman called Emily, tears streaming down her face, stood on a ledge threatening to jump. For 15 minutes, a police sergeant used the common thread that connects them — they're both mothers — to gradually talk her out of killing herself. The scene, played out earlier this month at the New York Police Department's training facility, was an act, part of a training program meant to help patrol officers in the nation's largest department better handle the growing number of interactions they have with people in emotional or mental distress. (9/13)

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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