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KHN First Edition: November 10, 2015


First Edition

Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: It’s On The Test: New Questions Require Doctors To Learn About Military Medicine
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Rovner reports: "Veterans Day is when America stops to thank those who have sacrificed to keep the country safe and free. This year, gratitude for their service includes a significant step to help keep them healthier. Most former servicemen and women (and their families) get their health care at civilian facilities, where only rarely do health professionals ask patients if they or close relatives have a military background. But not only do veterans suffer from a disproportionate share of ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury, many who were in combat zones may also have been exposed to hazards such as the defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam, or huge burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that produced toxic fumes." (Rovner, 11/10)

Kaiser Health News: Health Systems Dipping Into The Business Of Selling Insurance
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews writes: " In addition to treating what ails you, a number of health care systems aim to sell you a health insurance plan to pay for it. With some of the most competitively priced policies on the marketplaces, “provider-led” plans can be popular with consumers. But analysts say it remains to be seen how many will succeed long term as insurers." (Andrews, 11/10)

Kaiser Health News: It’s Never Too Soon To Plan Your ‘Driving Retirement’
Colorado Public Radio's John Daley, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Columbia University found older adults who give up the keys are nearly two times more likely to suffer depression than those who keep driving. In my own family, we’ve had to confront the issue twice. When my dad talked to my grandmother, she hid another set of keys and drove secretly until they found out. Then, 30 years later, 'hell' and 'no' were just two of the choice words that erupted from my dad when an Alzheimer’s diagnosis prevented him from driving any more." (Daley, 11/10)

The Washington Post: Kentucky’s Newly Insured Worry About Their Health Under Next Governor
Such one-by-one life changes are the ground-level stakes ushered in by the election last week of businessman Matt Bevin as Kentucky’s next governor. The second Republican elected to the office in 48 years, he wrapped his campaign around a pledge to dismantle Kynect, the state’s response to the federal health-care law. If he follows through, the Bluegrass State would go from being perhaps the nation’s premier ACA success story to the first to undo the law’s results, razing a state insurance exchange and reversing its considerable expansion of Medicaid. During his first news conference since his unexpected victory, Bevin named abolishing Kynect as a top priority, again contending that the state can’t afford it. He said change would come in “a thoughtful way” and made it clear that he intends for people on Medicaid to pay more for their care — but left other details of his intentions blurry. (Goldstein, 11/9)

The Associated Press: NY Officials Take Extra Steps For Health Republic Customers
New York state authorities say they are taking additional steps meant to protect people covered by Health Republic Insurance as it shuts down. The Department of Financial Services and Department of Health say about 100,000 individual members in the cooperative can select a new insurance plan for the rest of this year through the state Health Exchange by Nov. 30. (11/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Many Veterans Feel Short-Changed In Survey
Overhauling the VA became a major political topic last year after revelations of an appointment-scheduling scandal at VA hospitals led to the resignation of top VA officials, including then-Secretary Eric Shinseki. Congress passed a multi-billion-dollar emergency funding measure to help overcome problems at the VA. The department’s budget has more than doubled in the past decade, hitting $163.9 billion in 2015, but demand for services is expected to keep growing as troops from recent conflicts leave the service. (Kesling, 11/10)

The Associated Press: In A Year Of Outsider Angst, Clinton Seeks Inside Lane
The images reflected a strategic choice by her campaign: In a year in which outsiders Sanders and Republican Donald Trump are surging, Clinton is opting instead to highlight her government and political experience and vowing to continue Obama's work. She described herself as a "proud Democrat" who would protect Obama's agenda and prevent Republicans from dismantling his signature health care law and guard against tax breaks that would benefit the wealthy. (11/9)

The New York Times' DealBook: Bill Ackman’s Enigmatic Approach To Valeant Pharmaceuticals
William A. Ackman, the activist investor, has described his billion-dollar bet and continuing crusade against the nutritional supplements company Herbalife as a “moral obligation.” In at least one presentation, he nearly cried onstage and said that if his Herbalife trade was successful, he would give the profits to charity because he would consider them “blood money.” (Sorkin, 11/9)

The Associated Press: Wealth May Give Advantage For Getting Organ Transplants
You can't buy hearts, kidneys or other organs but money can still help you get one. Wealthy people are more likely to get on multiple waiting lists and score a transplant, and less likely to die while waiting for one, a new study finds. The work confirms what many have long suspected — the rich have advantages even in a system designed to steer organs to the sickest patients and those who have waited longest. Wealthier people can better afford the tests and travel to get on more than one transplant center's waiting list, and the new study shows how much this pays off. (Marchione, 11/9)

NPR: More Women Opt For IUD, Contraceptive Implant For Birth Control
Contraceptive implants and IUDs are very effective in preventing pregnancy — nearly 100 percent, statistics show. A new federal survey finds many more women are making this choice than did a decade ago. Federal researchers analyzed data from a national health survey which included birth control practices among women of childbearing age. The survey found that while use of the pill, condoms, and female sterilization all dipped between 2002 and 2013, the number of women using long-acting contraception more than quadrupled. These days, 11.6 percent of U.S. women — 4.4 million — rely on either an intrauterine device or a contraceptive implant to prevent pregnancy.(Neighmond, 11/10)

The Washington Post: Audit Finds Waste, Inefficiencies In Virginia’s Medicaid Program
People claiming to have no income have been able to get Medicaid in Virginia — no questions asked, according to a new audit, which also found the state wasted at least $21 million last year on benefits for recipients who no longer qualified. The audit, released Monday and conducted by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, also faulted Virginia’s “passive” approach to recovering money owed from the estates of certain deceased Medicaid patients. (Vozzella, 11/9)

Los Angeles Times: Half Of Immigrants In State Illegally Could Be Eligible For Medi-Cal Expansion, Study Finds
Half of Californians in the country illegally would be eligible for the state’s healthcare program for the poor if it were expanded under a proposal by legislators, a new report finds. Some California politicians are pushing to open up the $91-billion Medi-Cal program to people here illegally, since such immigrants are not allowed to sign up for insurance under Obamacare. (Karlamangla, 11/9)

The Associated Press: Universal Health Care To Appear On Colorado Ballot In 2016
upporters of universal health care have gathered enough signatures to put on next year's ballot a plan to make Colorado the first state to opt out of the federal health law and replace it with taxpayer-funded coverage for all. Proponents submitted 158,831 qualified signatures, about 60,000 more than required to put the measure on the ballot, Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Monday. The question would make Colorado the first state to opt out of the federal Affordable Care Act and replace it with universal health care. (11/9)

The New York Times: Sheldon Silver’s Grants Suppressed In Budget Reports, Official Testifies In Corruption Trial
On Monday, federal prosecutors in Mr. Silver’s corruption trial turned to a relatively obscure staff member on the Assembly Ways and Means Committee whose title seemed as bland as the job he held — deputy budget director for budget studies — to open a window into the seemingly impenetrable world of state finances that Mr. Silver controlled. The staff member, Victor E. Franco, in his second day of testimony at the trial in Manhattan, elaborated on the budgetary process, as prosecutors sought to illustrate that Mr. Silver controlled it all with little transparency or accountability, particularly on the Health Department grants that are the focus of the case. (Weisner and Craig, 11/9)

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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