KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Longer Looks: Explaining The GOP Health Bill, Utah’s Teen Suicide Spike And Election Anxiety

Each week, KHN's Shefali Luthra finds interesting reads from around the Web.

FiveThirtyEight: How The GOP Bill Could Change Health Care, In 8 Charts
After years of trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, Republicans finally got their chance with the election of President Trump. The House GOP made haste coming up with a bill, releasing the American Health Care Act on March 6. It’s a partial repeal of Obamacare — it includes substantial changes to the law, but when it comes to health insurance coverage and how people get it, the GOP bill largely works within the framework set up by the Affordable Care Act. (Anna Maria Barry-Jester and Charlie Smart, 3/20)

Vox: “If It Wasn’t For Insurance, I Wouldn’t Be Here”: How Obamacare’s End Would Worsen The Opioid Crisis
[Jessica] Goense is one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and particularly Medicaid, which Obamacare expanded, for addiction care. By expanding not just access to health insurance but also enforcing requirements that insurers cover mental health and addiction services, Obamacare and the rules tied around it have dramatically expanded access to addiction coverage. By one estimate, the law gave potentially life-saving coverage to 2.8 million Americans with drug use disorders. (German Lopez, 3/21)

The New York Times: Coming Out In Droves For Free Health Care
A nonprofit sets up temporary clinics that provide free medical services to people in rural areas of the United States. For the hundreds that showed up in Cookeville, Tenn., this was a chance to get a checkup, dental treatment or eye care. Video. (Chris Carmichael, Niko Koppel and Kaitlyn Mullin, 3/22)

The Atlantic: The Silent Victims Of The GOP Health-Care Proposal
This is a 21st-century success story, one that health-care policy experts attribute to the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Since 2008, the number of uninsured kids in the country has been cut in half. Since 2014, when the ACA was implemented, uninsurance among children dropped 20 percent. The bad news is that the significant gains in coverage for kids in recent years appear poised for a reversal. (Adrienne Lafrance, 3/20)

The Economist: Donald Trump Has Not Faced A Challenge Like Fixing American Health Care Before
On the campaign trail, [now-President Donald] Trump pledged to abolish what he called the “disaster” that is the ACA, and to “come up with a new plan that’s going to be better health care for more people at a lesser cost.” He promised to scrap things that the public dislikes about Obamacare, starting with its government mandate to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, while keeping things that are popular, such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions. (3/16)

Vox: “I See My Son In Every One Of Them”: With A Spike In Suicides, Parents Of Utah’s Queer Youth Fear The Worst
In recent years, suicide has become the leading cause of death in Utah among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17, whereas national rates of youth suicide are considerably lower. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers across the US each year. Hard data on the youth suicide rate is difficult to come by for 2016 because the year has only recently drawn to a close. (Nico Lang, 3/20)

FiveThirtyEight: Did The Election Stress Americans Out? If It Did, We Didn’t See Our Doctors About It
A wealth of anecdotes, and some research, supports the idea that the turbulence and hostility of the current political environment, along with many Americans’ fear that they will be adversely affected by changes in policy, could be bad for our mental health. After the election, for example, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported a surge in calls for help. Recent research has also found that Google searches for “presidential election” are associated with searches for anxiety and depression. And a new report from the American Psychological Association found that 57 percent of Americans say the current political climate is a “very” or “somewhat” significant source of stress and that 59 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats are stressed about the future of the country. (Anupam Jena, Josh Gray, Stewart Richardson and Dhruv Khullar, 3/16)

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