KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Viewpoints: The Impact Of Artificial Intelligence On Health Care; Chronic Disease Rates ‘A Wake-Up Call’ For Policymakers

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

Fortune: Where Artificial Intelligence Will Pay Off Most In Health Care
Of all the places where artificial intelligence is gaining a foothold, nowhere is the impact likely to be as great — at least in the near term — as in healthcare. A new report from Accenture Consulting, entitled Artificial Intelligence: Healthcare’s New Nervous System, projects the market for health-related AI to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 40% through 2021—to $6.6 billion, from around $600 million in 2014. (Clifton Leaf, 6/19)

RealClear Health: Rising Chronic Disease Rates Portend Unsustainable Costs
12 percent of Americans suffer from five or more chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. This fraction of the population accounts for 41 percent of total health care spending. That ought to serve as a wake-up call for policymakers. If we don't do more to prevent people from acquiring chronic disease, the resulting health care bills could blow a gaping hole in the federal budget. (Kenneth Thorpe, 6/20)

RealClear Health: Even Though Genetic Information Is Available, Doctors May Be Ignoring Important Clinical Clues
With the availability of home genetic testing kits from companies such as “23andMe” and “Ancestry DNA,” more people will be getting information about their genetic lineage and what races and ethnicities of the world are included in their DNA. ... But there’s a problem, a recent study from the National Institutes of Health found. Many physicians and other providers are uncomfortable discussing race with their patients, and also reticent to connect race or ethnicity to genetics and clinical decision-making, the study suggested. (Greg Hall, 6/19)

Los Angeles Times: Trump's Answer To The Obesity Epidemic: Here, Have A Cookie
The most attention-getting news out of the food industry last week was Amazon’s announcement Friday that it’s buying Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion. But that wasn’t the most important news. The most important news was a largely overlooked announcement from the Trump administration that it’s bowing to the wishes of food companies — and ignoring the pleas of scientific and medical experts — by giving industry players more time to push sugary treats on an increasingly blubbery nation. (David Lazarus, 6/20)

Forbes: If You Need Long-Term Care, It Matters Where You Live
If you or a loved one needs long-term care, where you live matters … a lot. A new report by AARP shows wide variation in the quality of supports and services among states—whether delivered at home or in a nursing facility. While it found important improvements across states, it also identified significant shortcomings, even in the highest-rated states. (Howard Gleckman, 6/16)

The Washington Post: Law Makes VA Treat Some Family Caregivers Better Than Others
The last time Dennis Joyner walked, he was on patrol in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta on June 26, 1969. That’s when he tripped a 105-pound booby trap bomb. He lost both legs above the knees and his left arm below the elbow. “I have been confined to a one arm drive wheelchair for 48 years,” said the 68-year-old Longwood, Fla., resident. “As a former high school athlete, my life changed drastically in how I have to live with the combat injuries I suffered in Vietnam.” He gets lots of help from his wife Donna, “my day-to-day caregiver.” (Joe Davidson, 6/19)

Stat: Bedside Drug Production Will Truly Enable Personalized Medicine
Making medicines tailored to the needs and characteristics of individual patients is the dream for many scientists. This kind of personalized medicine approach would provide treatment with the highest possible effectiveness and safety, and would also save money. But it requires rethinking how we make medications. (Huub Schellekens, 6/19)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Roe V. Wade Saves Lives
An abortion is a terrible thing. No woman wants to have an abortion. Nevertheless, sometimes abortion can be the necessary choice of two excruciatingly painful options. Before 1973 when the Supreme Court legitimized abortion in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the procedure was illegal in most states; desperate women without means had to undergo illegal operations to end an untenable pregnancy. As a result, many were rendered sterile and some died. (Dr. Richard Gulick and Carol Shepley, 6/20)

The Kansas City Star: Is The Ghost Of Anti-Abortion Crusader Phill Kline Going To Haunt Missouri?
Are you ready for the return of Phill Kline? That’s exactly what Missouri could get should the House this week pass a sweeping abortion measure that would, among other things, require annual health inspections of clinics. The bill is the focus of the year’s second special session called by Gov. Eric Greitens. This unnecessary bill does something else, too: The measure carves out a special exception for this one issue when it comes to law enforcement. The legislation gives the attorney general, now Josh Hawley, an ardent abortion opponent who is said to have higher political aspirations, the power to prosecute violations of abortion laws. He could step in whenever local prosecutors opt not to act. (6/19)

The New York Times: Where Are The Rape-Kit Nurses?
If you are an adult victim of sexual assault in Las Vegas, there is only one hospital where you can go to have a rape kit completed. Only two nurses in that hospital have specialized training to do the exam. In a metropolitan area of two million people, in a state with consistently high rates of domestic violence, the limited number of resources for sexual assault survivors seeking to prosecute, although troubling, is not unique. (Brittany Bronson, 6/20)

The Health Care Blog: Trump’s Brain: What’s Going On?
In late May the science and health news site STAT ran a provocative article titled: “Trump wasn’t always so linguistically challenged. What could explain the change?” Not surprisingly, the piece went viral. After all, aren’t most of us wondering whether something is up with the President’s—how shall I say it—state of mind, psychological status, character, personality, and yes, mental health? (Steven Findlay, 6/19)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.