KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Obamacare And Risk Adjustment; Iowa’s Medicaid ‘Grudge Match’

A selection of opinions from around the country.

Des Moines Register: Medicaid Becomes Political Grudge Match
Want to know what would make Gov. Terry Branstad seriously consider running for a seventh term? ... he hinted recently about what would make it tempting to run again: The chance for a rematch against former Gov. Chet Culver. ... Over the past few weeks, Culver has been publicly challenging Branstad’s decision to move ahead with privatization of Medicaid. The Democrat held a public hearing at the Capitol last week. (Kathie Obradovich, 2/29)

Bloomberg: The Genetic Technology Revolution
One of the most exciting and promising developments in the history of medical science may bypass the U.S. if Congress fails to act. It needs to lift the ban on federal spending on research involving human embryos. Other governments are already responding to the progress being made in genetic technology. The U.K. has given researchers permission to use an ingenious new gene-cutting technique called Crispr-Cas9 to investigate how human embryos develop. Chinese scientists have wielded the same tool to see if it's possible to fix, in human embryos, the gene responsible for beta-thalassemia, a deadly blood disorder. (So far, no.) (2/29)

The Times-Picayune: It's Not Just Flint; Lead-Poisoning Is A National Crisis
In some St. Louis neighborhoods, according to the Post-Dispatch, more than 20 percent of children have high lead levels ... In Jackson, Miss., last week the Mississippi State Health Department released a statement urging pregnant women and children to take precautions with the city's drinking water. (Jarvis DeBerry, 2/29)

Modern Healthcare: Opioid Crisis: The Perfect Storm Of Unintended Consequences
The Feb. 15 editorial, “The iatrogenic roots of the opioid epidemic,” fails to point out the whole context of the problem. If you put together all of the elements, it is a perfect storm of unintended consequences. Yes, physicians are complicit in the prescription of thes compounds. But what about the drug companies with their misleading and ever-expanding direct marketing? What about the relentless pursuit of increased patient satisfaction metrics and the attendant financial losses for failure to achieve same? And what about the American Pain Society's push to list “pain” as the fifth vital sign? And then there are the Joint Commission's standards for assessment and treatment of pain. (William Cors, 2/27)

The Los Angeles Times: Keep Taxing Diapers And Tampons
[A] handful of state legislators are pushing sales tax exemptions for things that don't fall under the life-sustaining mantle. If legislators can't find the courage to put the brakes on these breaks, the governor must. (2/29)

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