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KHN First Edition: September 29, 2015


First Edition

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Coping With Autism And Puberty
Kaiser Health News staff writer Heidi de Marco reports: "Alexander Brown swings back and forth on a makeshift hammock bolted to a wooden beam in his living room. The swaying seems to soothe the otherwise uneasy 14-year-old. His mother gazes at him from the couch and their eyes briefly connect." (de Marco, 9/29). You can also watch an accompanying video.

Kaiser Health News: Prisons And Jails Forcing Inmates To Cover Some Medical Care Costs
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: "Correctional facilities are responsible for providing health services to people who are jailed, but that doesn’t mean that prisoners don’t face financial charges for care. In most states they may be on the hook for copayments ranging from a few dollars to as much as $100 for medical care, according to a recent study." (Andrews, 9/29)

The Washington Post: Congress Moves Closer To Preventing A Shutdown
If all goes according to the plan hatched by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House could clear the stop-gap funding bill on Wednesday, averting a shutdown with hours to spare before the Oct. 1 deadline. ... Cruz railed against Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal on the Senate floor following the vote Monday, saying he believes the “votes are cooked” in Congress. ... The Texas Republican and other conservatives for weeks have been calling on GOP leaders to confront Obama over abortion policies by using the spending bill needed to avert a shutdown this week to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. But they are now focusing their attention on December. (Snell and Zzima, 9/28)

Politico: Senate Easily Advances Bill To Avoid Shutdown
On a 77-19 vote Monday night, the Senate advanced a short-term spending bill that will keep federal government agencies operating through Dec. 11, defusing the latest shutdown scare powered by conservative rage against funding for Planned Parenthood — for now. (Kim, 9/28)

Politico: Shutdown Clash To Return In Force By December
But the glide path to avoiding a shutdown this week sets up an even bigger clash in December, when lawmakers have to agree on a new funding bill for the new fiscal year. Democrats at both ends of the Capitol, as well as in the White House, will demand raising the current caps for domestic spending. But hawkish Republicans have long insisted on boosting cash for defense programs, while fiscal conservatives will abhor any additional spending overall. (Kim, 9/28)

Politico: Cruz Sternly Rebuked By GOP
Ted Cruz can’t even get a protest vote in the Senate anymore. On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote. (Everett, 9/28)

The Washington Post: After Boehner, Conservatives Must Answer Crucial Question: Who’s Next?
Hard-line conservative Republicans, emboldened by their role in the resignation of House Speaker John A. Boehner, are struggling to recruit a candidate with enough political capital and grass-roots support to challenge Boehner’s heir apparent. That contender, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), announced his bid for speaker Monday, but by sharing Boehner’s relaxed personality and center-right Republican politics, he would almost certainly face similar problems from the conservative wing from the start and skepticism about whether he can truly give voice to the base’s frustrations. (Costa and DeBonis, 9/28)

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood Makes First Hill Appearance Since Videos
In Planned Parenthood’s first congressional appearance since being embarrassed by surreptitiously recorded videos, the organization’s president said she is “proud” of its provision of fetal tissue for research but also sought to minimize the organ donations as a small part of its work. Trying to take the offensive, Cecile Richards also criticized the Republicans who control Congress for not investigating David Daleiden and the other anti-abortion activists who made the recordings. (Fram, 9/29)

USA Today: Republicans Try New Way To Defund Planned Parenthood, Avoiding Shutdown
Republicans this week will launch a new strategy to try to defund Planned Parenthood now that it's clear that Congress will vote this week to keep the government open without addressing the issue. The House also is expected to consider this week the creation of a select committee to investigate allegations that the nation's largest abortion provider discussed selling tissue and organs from aborted fetuses for profit. Planned Parenthood vehemently denies the allegation, saying that undercover videos taken by anti-abortion activists were heavily edited and misleading. (Kelly, 9/28)

The New York Times: Planned Parenthood To Offer Free S.T.D. Testing On National Pink Out Day
Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of health services, including abortions, through clinics and affiliates nationwide, is under criticism by Republicans over the use of aborted fetuses in medical research. The Republicans want to cut off all federal funding to Planned Parenthood, and some lawmakers have even threatened to shut down the federal government in order to do so. Fighting back, Planned Parenthood has declared Tuesday to be “National Pink Out Day,” and said it expected millions of supporters to rally in the group’s defense. (Herszenhorn, 9/28)

The Associated Press: Congressional Democrats Push For Valeant Pharma Subpoena
Congressional Democrats are pressing a Republican committee chairman to force a pharmaceutical company to turn over documents tied to price hikes imposed earlier this year. Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter Monday to Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asking him to issue a subpoena to Valeant Pharmaceuticals and to invite the Canadian company to testify next week. (9/28)

USA Today: Chief Justice John Roberts' Supreme Court At 10, Defying Labels
Leaning right on guns but left on gays, right on race and religion but left on health care reform, the Roberts Court reaches its 10-year anniversary this week at the fulcrum of American public policy, culture — and politics. From the court's landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision that allows unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns to its razor-thin ruling that upheld President Obama's signature health care law, the high court under Roberts has struggled to balance a strict reading of the Constitution and federal statutes against the pressures of politics and public opinion. (Wolf, 9/28)

The Associated Press: Medicare's $30M Ambulance-Ride Mystery
Medicare paid $30 million for ambulance rides for which no record exists that patients got medical care at their destination, the place where they were picked up or other critical information. The mystery ambulance rides are part of a bigger problem with Medicare payments for transporting patients, according to a federal audit being released Tuesday. (9/29)

The Associated Press: Study: Breast Cancer Detection Not Better With Computer Aid
Computer-assisted detection used in most U.S. mammograms adds no benefit to breast cancer screening while substantially increasing costs, a large study suggests. Some previous research said computer technology could serve almost as a second set of eyes for doctors. The technique uses special software to highlight suspicious-looking areas on mammogram images that radiologists who interpret the scans may have missed. The doctors then take another look before making a determination. (Tanner, 9/28)

The Associated Press: Planned Parenthood Sues Utah After It Cuts Off Federal Money
The Utah branch of Planned Parenthood sued the governor on Monday for ordering state agencies to cut off federal funding to the organization following the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group. Republican Gov. Gary Herbert's action was unconstitutional and based on unfounded allegations, the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said in federal court documents. (9/28)

Reuters: Missouri AG Finds No Evidence Planned Parenthood Mishandled Fetal Tissue
An investigation in Missouri found no evidence that Planned Parenthood's St. Louis clinic mishandled fetal tissue or engaged in unlawful activity, Attorney General Chris Koster's office said on Monday. Koster, a Democrat, launched the investigation after an anti-abortion group released videos in July alleging that Planned Parenthood illegally sold fetal tissue in other states. Officials in other states also launched investigations. (9/28)

The Wall Street Journal: NYC Investigates New Outbreak Of Legionnaires’ Disease
New York City health officials are investigating seven cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx, about two months after an outbreak of the same type of pneumonia killed 12 people in the borough and sickened more than 100. The new cluster is associated with the Morris Park section of the Bronx, and is unrelated to the earlier outbreak, which was centered in the South Bronx, city officials said Monday. (Gay, 9/28)

Los Angeles Times: Foes Of California Vaccine Law File Petitions For Referendum
Opponents of California’s tough new vaccine law filed petitions Monday seeking to put a referendum on the issue on the November 2016 ballot, but it may be a month before elections officials determine whether the ballot measure qualifies. Former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who led the largely volunteer effort, issued a statement saying he hopes the law "will go down in infamy," added that the referendum effort was "sabotaged," but did not disclose how many signatures were being turned in by today's deadline. (McGreevy, 9/28)

Los Angeles Times: Mitch Katz Poised To Lead L.A. County's Consolidated Healthcare Agency
Amid a major reorganization of Los Angeles County's healthcare bureaucracy, physician and administrator Mitch Katz is poised to become arguably the most powerful nonelected official in the nation's largest local government. Katz currently heads the Department of Health Services, a system of county hospitals and clinics with 20,000 employees and an operating budget of $4.8 billion. Now, over the objections of a vocal group of critics, county supervisors appear prepared to place him atop a significantly larger agency that will consolidate his department with separate county mental health and public health operations. The new super health agency would account for nearly a third of the county's $27-billion budget. (Sewell, 9/29)

NPR: Children In Foster Care Aren't Getting To See The Doctor
On any given day, about half a million children are living in foster care. They've been removed from violent or abusive households; many suffer physical and mental health problems that have gone untreated. Their need is acute but the response is often dangerously slow, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendations, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, are intended as a wake-up call for pediatricians who care for foster kids. (Neighmond, 9/28)

Los Angeles Times: Ex-Inmates Want L.A. County To Stop Dumping Mentally Ill Inmates On Skid Row
A group of former Los Angeles County jail inmates said Monday that a recent legal settlement between the Sheriff's Department and federal authorities will perpetuate the cycle of people with untreated mental illness bouncing back and forth between jail and skid row. The former inmates are seeking changes in the settlement that was reached this year as part of an effort to end abuse of inmates by sheriff's deputies and to improve chronically poor treatment of mentally ill inmates. (Sewell and Change, 9/28)

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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