KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Longer Looks: How To Reduce End-Of-Life Costs; Fighting Cancer With Aspirin

Every week, reporter Marissa Evans selects interesting reading from around the Web.

The Atlantic:  Even As A Doctor With Decent Insurance, I Had Difficulty Entering The Healthcare System
I know how lucky I am to be a patient who happens to also work in the healthcare system. ... Initially, I had to use antibiotic drops every hour. But my insurance would only cover one three-milliliter bottle every three weeks. Each bottle not covered by insurance cost me $130. ... My own experience makes me fear that for many Americans, health insurance may not necessarily equal health care. Access and cost will still remain barriers—and can be difficult to surmount for many (Dr. Helen Ouyang, 2/24). 

The Wall Street Journal: The Experts: How Can We Reduce End-Of-Life Health Care Costs?
A handful of policy and industry experts offer their thoughts (Rita Redberg, Gurpreet Dhaliwal, Elliot Fisher, Helen Darling, Peter Pronovost, Leah Binder, Robert Wachter, and Atul Grover, 2/25).

The Texas Observer: Texas' New Abortion Law Is Driving Women To Extremes
A few days before Christmas, the Gulers went to the obstetrician's office for the 19-week ultrasound. They wanted to know whether to hang a pink or a blue stocking by the fireplace. But they never did find out the gender. Instead they learned that their miracle child had a brain defect so severe that the doctor described it as incompatible with life. ... When Sarah asked when the doctor could schedule an induction to abort the fetus, he shook his head. "We don't do that here." Instead, he gave her a list of abortion clinics and told her that she had only seven days to get an abortion. "You have to hurry because there's a ban," the doctor told them. "You're already at 19 weeks. By next Friday, it will be too late" (Carolyn Jones, 2/25). 

Forbes: Crowdfunding Health Innovation: Disruptive Companies And Funders Meet To Change Health Delivery
Two of the most significant pieces of legislation in decades, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Jumpstart Our BusinessStartups (JOBS) Act, are poised to transform the entire spectrum of healthcare. The ACA regulates everything from health insurance requirements to tax collection. The JOBS Act regulates businesses that fund their ventures online. In tandem, these two bills have created a new world for health care innovators and investors. Ironically though, it is the innovators and investors who are joining forces to do what the ACA is unable to do: reduce costs and increase access (Nicole Fisher, 2/24).  

The New York Times: Progress Against Hepatitis C, A Sneaky Virus
Forty years ago, a beloved neighbor was bedridden for weeks at a time with a mysterious ailment. She knew only that it involved her liver and that she must never drink alcohol, which would make things worse. It was decades before the cause of these debilitating flare-ups was discovered: a viral infection at first called non-A, non-B hepatitis, then properly identified in 1989 as hepatitis C. The apparent source of her infection was a blood transfusion she had received decades earlier. ... with two newly approved drugs and a few more in the pipeline, a new era in treatment of hepatitis C is at hand (Jane E. Brody, 2/24).

The Boston Globe: Can Aspirin Fight Cancer?
Aspirin, a medicine cabinet staple for fighting heart attacks and headaches, is also a powerful weapon against cancer, a growing body of research shows. "As mundane as it is, it's really an incredible drug," said Dr. John Baron, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, who studies aspirin and cancer prevention. "My general opinion is that aspirin is probably good for a large majority of the adult population." The groups most likely to benefit from aspirin's anti-cancer powers, research suggests, are those at extra risk for colon cancer, and people between ages 50 and 75, said Dr. Andrew Chan, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital (Karen Weintraub, 2/24).

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