KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Viewpoints: Thumbs Down On Genetic-Testing Bill; Sessions Takes Aim At Medical Marijuana

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

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Genetic Testing In The Workplace Is A Bad Idea: Jeer Of The Day
A Republican-dominated House committee approved HR 1313 last week along partisan lines. Businesses argue that the popular programs need the information to help keep employees and their insured family members healthy and reduce health care costs. Two problems with the bill: Genes are not destiny, but that may not stop employers from discriminating against workers. Critics also argue that third party vendors who run the wellness programs have weak privacy rules. Kill this bill. (3/16)

The Des Moines Register: Women Clergy: We Stand With Planned Parenthood
As clergy and as women, we oppose any action by the Iowa Legislature to restrict a woman’s ability to make her own health care and reproductive decisions or to access health care services. Additionally, we support Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the excellent care it provides for any woman who chooses its health care services. (Rev. LeAnn Stubbs, 3/15)

The Cannifornian: Sessions Rips Medical Marijuana As Opioid-Addiction Fix: 'How Stupid Is That?' 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again took aim at marijuana in remarks Wednesday, forcefully attacking the idea of recreational use and even deriding the growing consensus around the possible use of marijuana to counter America’s rapidly-growing opioid crisis. Speaking before law enforcement officials in Richmond, Va., Sessions said that “we need to focus on … preventing people from ever taking drugs in the first place,” according to prepared remarks provided by the Department of Justice. (Daniel M. Jimenez, 3/15)

Arizona Republic: Abortion Bill Punishes Grieving Parents
The political power brokers behind Arizona’s anti-abortion money machine know that they can’t get elected officials to simply write a bill declaring abortion illegal. That would be unconstitutional. So, they’ve determined instead to employ a strategy of death by a thousand cuts. Each year there are anti-abortion bills filed in the State Legislature with the intent to make it more and more difficult to find, receive, provide or afford a legal abortion. (EJ Montini, 3/15)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Rise In Wisconsin Flu Cases Also Signals Need For Pneumonia Vaccination
Immunization remains our best defense against this illness that can swoop in to upend our health, home and workplace. For those with pre-existing conditions, though, contracting the flu is particularly serious business, because it can lead to pneumonia. That’s why some providers are now recommending people ages 18-64 with these conditions and chronic diseases also consider getting vaccinated against pneumonia while getting their flu shot. (Linda Witucki, 3/15)

JAMA: Unproven Technologies In Maternal-Fetal Medicine And The High Cost Of US Health Care
Preterm birth is one of the leading health indicators among nations, as it is the most frequent cause of neonatal death and the second most frequent cause of death in children younger than 5 years worldwide. In the United States alone, complications related to preterm birth account for approximately two-thirds of all infant deaths. Infants born preterm who do survive have significantly higher risks of long-term morbidity, including serious neurologic and developmental disabilities. In 2005, the Institute of Medicine estimated that the annual societal cost of preterm birth in the United States was $26 billion. (Steven L. Bloom and Kenneth J. Leveno, 3/ 14)

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