First Edition: January 7, 2020 – Kaiser Health News

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

Kaiser Health News:In Massachusetts, Minors Need Permission For Abortion, But That Could ChangeShe was 15 and recovering from rape, when she realized she was pregnant. She knew right away that she wanted to terminate the pregnancy. But as in many states, Massachusetts required and still requires minors to get a parents consent before an abortion. I knew I couldnt tell my mom or my immediate family members because my pregnancy was the result of a sexual assault from a family friend, the now 23-year-old woman said. (KHN and NPR agreed to withhold her name.) Her home, she added, wasnt necessarily a safe or healthy one at the time. (Bebinger, 1/7)

California Healthline:Fecal Bacteria In Californias Waterways Increases With Homeless CrisisPresident Donald Trump, a self-described germophobe, has made no secret of his disgust with Californias growing homeless problem, which he has called a disgrace and inappropriate and equated to living in hell. We should all work together to clean up these hazardous waste and homeless sites before the whole city rots away, Trump tweeted about San Francisco on Oct. 26. Very bad and dangerous conditions, also severely impacting the Pacific Ocean and water supply. (Alemndrala, 1/6)

Politico:Congress' Health Agenda Barrels Toward 2020 Buzz SawRepublicans and Democrats have a narrow opening to cut big deals on drug pricing and surprise medical bills and address two key concerns of voters just in time for 2020 electoral politics to drive them apart. Congressional leaders are feeling renewed urgency to do something about the high-profile issues, but they fear impeachment and escalating tensions with Iran could swamp the legislative agenda. And on drug pricing, both sides are reluctant to let the other claim victory on a pocketbook issue that recent polling shows ranks high among voter concerns. (Cancryn and Ollstein, 1/7)

Bloomberg:Congress Seeks Drug-Pricing Deal In Spite Of 2020 RancorIn an election year when nobody expects Congress to pass meaningful legislation, lawmakers are feeling strong political pressure to reach a deal on at least one main voter priority: lowering drug prices. The most likely result could be a small deal that caps out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries but leaves more contentious questions of market intervention until after the election. (Wasson, 1/7)

The Hill:Analysis: ObamaCare Market Stable And Profitable Despite Loss Of Individual MandateThe ObamaCare market is stable and profitable for insurers despite the repeal of the laws mandate to have coverage, a new analysis finds. When Republicans repealed the health laws mandate to have coverage in the 2017 tax law, many Democrats and some policy experts warned the move would cause chaos in the markets as healthy people dropped coverage, leaving only sick, expensive patients remaining. (Sullivan, 1/6)

Vox:Obamacare Looks Surprisingly Sturdy After The Individual Mandates RepealThe individual market continues to go through a soft attrition: Premiums continue to increase, but only slightly, and enrollment is shrinking, again slightly. Its not a death spiral, but the market is slowly being winnowed to a core customer base: People who get federal assistance to cover their premiums, and unsubsidized customers who dont receive that help but need good health insurance. (Scott, 1/6)

The Hill:Supreme Court Sets Friday Deadline For Responses In ObamaCare CaseThe Supreme Court on Monday told the Trump administration and a group of states to respond by the end of the week to an effort by Democrats to expedite a challenge to a lower court ruling that struck down a key tenet of ObamaCare. The court asked the health care law's opponents to file a response to the motion by Friday afternoon. Democrats challengingthedecision from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate unconstitutionalasked the Supreme Court last week to expeditea briefing schedule and to hear the case before the current term ends in June. (Neidig, 1/6)

Modern Healthcare:Brad Smith Appointed New CMS Innovation Center LeaderBrad Smith, who co-founded palliative care provider Aspire Health is the new director of the CMS' Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The HHS announced Monday that Smith would be the new leader of the CMS' delivery model testing center, replacing Adam Boehler who left the role in the fall after roughly a year when he was nominated for another role in the Trump administration. (Castellucci, 1/6)

The Washington Post:EPA Says It Will Cut Pollution From Heavy Duty Diesel TrucksThe Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said it would soon propose tougher restrictions on pollution from heavy-duty trucks, an uncharacteristic move to tighten existing standards from an administration that has prided itself on a series of regulatory rollbacks. Heavy-duty vehicles are the largest mobile source of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant linked to heart and lung disease. They also tend to remain in service far longer than other vehicles. (Dennis, 1/6)

The New York Times:E.P.A. Aims To Reduce Truck Pollution, And Avert Tougher State ControlsWhile the move could give President Trump a nominal environmental achievement for the 2020 campaign, public health experts say the truck regulations are not as out of line with administration policy as they would appear. The emerging rule will quite likely limit nitrogen dioxide pollution more than current standards, they say, but still fall far short of what is necessary to significantly prevent respiratory illness and even premature deaths. (Davenport, 1/6)

The Associated Press:US To Start Collecting DNA From People Detained At BorderThe U.S. government on Monday launched a pilot program to collect DNA from people in immigration custody and submit it to the FBI, with plans to expand nationwide. The information would go into a massive criminal database run by the FBI, where it would be held indefinitely. A memo outlining the program published Monday by the Department of Homeland Security said U.S. citizens and permanent residents holding a green card who are detained could be subject to DNA testing, as well as asylum seekers and people entering the country without authorization. (Merchant, 1/6)

Los Angeles Times:California Vaping Bill Targets Flavors Not Covered By Trump's BanDays after concerns over youth vaping led the Trump administration to announce a partial ban on many e-cigarette pods, California lawmakers on Monday introduced a much stronger measure to outlaw store sales of all flavored tobacco products in the state. The proposal would go far beyond the federal governments plan, announced Thursday, for a temporary ban on many candy- and fruit-flavored e-cigarette products that could be lifted if companies can convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that the pods are safe. (McGreevy, 1/6)

The Wall Street Journal:Schools Seek Ways To Curb Vaping Among StudentsStudents caught vaping more than once at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, Calif., are required to attend Saturday vape schoolalong with a parent. The four-hour Saturday requirement includes lessons on the dangers of vaping, a method of inhaling nicotine and other substances that has been associated with a nationwide outbreak of lung injuries and deaths. An official at the high school, where 15% of students admit to having vaped, said the lessons are helping. But its a continuing problem, he said, as freshmen are arriving already exposed to vaping. (Hobbs, 1/6)

The New York Times:A.I. Comes To The Operating RoomBrain surgeons are bringing artificial intelligence and new imaging techniques into the operating room, to diagnose tumors as accurately as pathologists, and much faster, according to a report in the journal Nature Medicine. The new approach streamlines the standard practice of analyzing tissue samples while the patient is still on the operating table, to help guide brain surgery and later treatment. (Grady, 1/6)

Reuters:Drug Developers Take Fresh Aim At 'Guided-Missile' Cancer DrugsDozens of drugmakers are conducting human trials for a record 89 therapies that pair antibodies with toxic agents to fight cancer, evidence of renewed confidence in an approach that has long fallen short of its promise, an analysis compiled for Reuters shows. These antibody-drug conjugates, or ADCs, from companies including AztraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline, are described by researchers as "guided missiles" packing a powerful anti-cancer punch. (1/6)

USA Today:As Marijuana Induced Psychosis Rises, Mental Health Treatment ElusiveWhenGarrett Riggmoved from a"transitional living program" facility near Chicago last month into a group home, it was a major milestonefor the 27-year-old, who traveled 1,000miles from his home in Denverto get treatment after a cannabis-induced psychotic break five years ago. Rigg had to leave his hometown because it lacked suitable long-term treatment, according to his mother,Connie Kabrick.The three marijuana dispensaries at the intersection ahalf block from herhome are the reason why she says he can't move back.(O'Donnell, 1/6)

The New York Times:Go Ahead And Complain. It Might Be Good For You.Weve all done it: Whether its about traffic, our boss or our partners annoying habits, complaining is just something we do, like breathing though hopefully not as often, said Robin Kowalski, a professor of psychology at Clemson University. Even though it may come naturally, griping isnt necessarily always a good thing. Ruminating on negative feelings, and reinforcing them through constant discussion with other people, can lead to catastrophizing, which is something that can contribute to depression, said Margot Bastin, who studies communication between friends at the department of School Psychology and Development in Context at the Dutch university Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. (Higgs, 1/6)

Reuters:Former Women Players To Join New Research Into DementiaFormer female professional soccer players will be included for the first time in research into possible links between heading balls and dementia thanks to a new project launched on Tuesday. Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) will carry out long-term cognitive tests on former men and women players to shed more light on the findings of a report by the University of Glasgow and Hampden Sports Clinic last year. (1/6)

Reuters:Cutting Out Alcohol May Reduce Atrial Fibrillation EpisodesFor people with atrial fibrillation, abstinence from alcohol may make the heart beat better. Eliminating most alcohol consumption dramatically cuts the number of episodes of the potentially deadly heart rhythm disturbance among moderate and heavy drinkers, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. (1/7)

The New York Times:Whole Milk May Be Better When It Comes To Childrens WeightWhole milk may be healthier for childrens weight than low-fat milk, a review of studies suggests. The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends switching to skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk at age 2. Canadian researchers analyzed 14 prospective studies including 20,897 children up to 18 years old. The studies compared children who drank whole milk (3.25 percent fat) with those given milk containing less than 2 percent fat. (Bakalar, 1/7)

Los Angeles Times:Eight Science Stories To Watch For In 2020Scientists have been searching for ways to detect cancer in its earliest stages, when treatments are most likely to be effective. In 2020, theyll be harnessing the power of biomarkers to aid them in this mission. Biomarkers are distinctive bits of protein or DNA that can be detected in bodily fluids like blood and urine. The trick is to identify ones that are reliable signals of malignancy. Candidates are being tested in ever-larger groups of people to determine whether theyre accurate and can be trusted not to generate too many false-positive results. (Netburn, Healy, Rosen, Khan and Kaplan, 12/27)

The Associated Press:Report: 123 Children Died In 2019 Despite Contact With DCFSA report highlighting persistent problems within Illinois' child welfare agency showed 123 children died in the past fiscal year despite having contact with the Department of Children and Family Services. It was the highest number since the fiscal year ending in 2005, when the number was 139 deaths, according to annual reports released each January by the department's inspector general. The lowest it was during that that time was 84 in the fiscal year ending in 2010. (Tareen, 1/6)

ProPublica:Californias Jails Are In A Deadly Crisis. Heres How Experts Suggest Fixing Them.Nearly a decade after California overhauled its prison and jail system, policymakers are considering reforms to the states landmark criminal justice transformation, calling for more oversight of county sheriffs and higher standards for inmate care. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said he is crafting plans focused on local lockups, where homicides have surged, and exploring how to give the state more power to oversee the sheriffs who run them. More details are expected this week when the governor unveils his state budget proposal. (Pohl and Gabrielson, 1/6)

The Associated Press:Regulator Cites Failures At Hospital Where 3 Preemies DiedA major Pennsylvania hospital where three premature infants died in a bacterial outbreak last year routinely failed to sanitize the equipment it used to prepare donor breast milk, according to a state health department report released Monday. Health department staff ordered Geisinger Medical Center in Danville to correct several deficiencies, determining the hospitals systemic failure to prevent infection in its most vulnerable patients constituted immediate jeopardy a legal finding that means Geisinger placed its patients at risk of serious injury or death. (1/6)

The Associated Press:Maryland Wins $3.6M To Address Opioid Abuse During PregnancyMarylands Health Department has received $3.6 million in federal funding to address opioid use among pregnant and new mothers. The department launched the initiative, called the Maternal Opioid Model, this month, according to a statement released by the agency on Monday. The initiative focuses on improving substance abuse treatment for pregnant and postpartum mothers on Medicaid by providing them with additional resources during and after their pregnancies, the department said. (1/7)

The Washington Post:Bed Bugs Are Released Inside A Pennsylvania WalmartPennsylvania State Police are searching for the pest who left bedbugs in a Walmart. A store manager of a Washington Township, Pa., Walmart found a closed pill bottle containing live bugs in a boys jacket that was for sale Thursday, according to police. He threw out the jacket and the container without contacting authorities but found more insects later. (Beachum, 1/6)

ProPublica:Inside A Training Course Where School Workers Learn How To Physically Restrain StudentsIn the year that weve reported on restraint and seclusion, we have worked hard to become experts on the topic. Were not educators, but we are dedicated learners. We read books and studies about how to work with children who have behavior disorders, and we talked to academic experts and researchers across the country about seclusion, or confining students in a place they cant leave, and physical restraint. We learned by observing, too. ProPublica Illinois reporting fellow Lakeidra Chavis and I spent two days watching a Crisis Prevention Institute, or CPI, training for educators in the Chicago suburbs. (Richards, 1/3)

The Wall Street Journal:States Weigh Measures To Stop Transgender Athletes From Competing In Womens SportsMore statehouses are wading into the contentious debate over the participation of transgender athletes in mens and womens sports. In recent weeks, Republican legislators in at least five states have drafted measures aimed at preventing athletes from competing in categories different than their biological sex. Lawmakers say they are specifically concerned about female athletes facing unfair competition. (Gersham, 1/7)

First Edition: January 7, 2020 - Kaiser Health News

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