- Kaiser Health News Original Stories 4
- Out-Of-Pocket Costs Put HIV Prevention Drug Out Of Reach For Many At Risk
- Despite U.S. Court’s Ruling, Medicaid Work Requirements Advance In Other States
- Immigrant Families Placed In Detention Centers Face Health Care Challenges
- More Nurse Practitioners Now Pursue Residency Programs To Hone Skills
- Political Cartoon: 'What's The Catch?'
- Supreme Court 2
- Liberal Groups Gird For A Fight As Trump Begins Interviewing Supreme Court Nominees
- Collins Thinks Chief Justice Roberts Will Act As Bulwark Against Attempts To Overturn Roe V. Wade
- Health Law 1
- Despite Efforts To Chip Away At Health Law, Number Of Americans Who Began Paying For Coverage Increased
- Medicaid 1
- Kentucky Governor Cuts Coverage For 460,000 As 'Unfortunate Consequence' To Work Requirements Ruling
- Administration News 1
- CMS Wants To Experiment With Alternative Pay Model For Medicare Advantage Plans
- Opioid Crisis 1
- Trump Names Top White House Lawyer To Oversee U.S. Drug Enforcement, Focus On Opioid Epidemic
- Marketplace 1
- After Getting Leg Caught In Gap On Train Platform, Woman Begs People Not To Call Ambulance Because Of Cost
- Public Health And Education 4
- Stimulating Front Of Brain With Electricity May Cut Aggressive Urges: 'It Sounds Like Pulp Fiction' But It's Not
- Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer, And It Doesn't Matter If It's Caf, Decaf, Instant Or Brewed
- Self-Harm Spiking Among Teen Girls In Part Because Of Online Bullying, Sexual Assault
- Many Users Of DIY Genetic Testing Don't Understand The Results May Not Be Conclusive
- State Watch 2
- Calif. Hospital To Pay $550K Following Investigation Into Hundreds Of Cases Of Patient Dumping
- State Highlights: States Inadvertently Cashing In On Practices They're Trying To Ban; Calif. Health Groups Want Soda Taxes On Ballot
- Prescription Drug Watch 2
- Despite Intense Public And Congressional Scrutiny, Pfizer Raises Prices For More Than 40 Drugs
- Perspectives: Amazon's Reliability Could Make Huge Difference In Getting Patients To Actually Take Their Pills
From Kaiser Health News - Latest Stories:
It’s getting increasingly difficult for patients to afford Truvada, also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, because of the drug’s high price and insurance company efforts to restrict the use of coupons that shield patients from it. (Shefali Luthra and Anna Gorman, 7/3)
It’s not yet clear what impact the decision on Kentucky’s mandate will have on other state programs. (Phil Galewitz, 7/2)
The Trump administration plans to detain immigrant families indefinitely in facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security, an agency with little experience in handling their complex needs. (Shefali Luthra and Marisa Taylor, 7/2)
Proponents say the residencies provide help dealing with increasingly difficult cases, but some nursing groups contend that the programs are not necessary. (Michelle Andrews, 7/3)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'What's The Catch?'" by Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
PILLPACK PURCHASE WILL GIVE AMAZON ACCESS TO CONSUMERS HEALTH DATA
HIPPA or HIPAA?
Amazon will need to learn
Sooner than later!
- Ernest R. Smith
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
KHN's Morning Briefing will not be published July 4. Look for it again in your inbox on July 5.
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Summaries Of The News:
A new group is pouring millions into the fight over the Supreme Court pick. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's widely publicized list of potential nominees was a winning part of his campaign strategy, but it may now have become a liability.
The Associated Press:
Trump Talks To 4 Possible Court Nominees As Interviews Begin
President Donald Trump has interviewed four prospective Supreme Court justices and had plans to meet with a few more as his White House aggressively mobilizes to select a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Eager to build suspense, Trump wouldn't divulge whom he's talking to in advance of his big announcement, set for July 9. But he promised that "they are outstanding people. They are really incredible people in so many different ways, academically and in every other way. I had a very, very interesting morning." (7/3)
Liberal Group Launches $5 Million Push Against Trump’s SCOTUS Pick
A new group aiming to serve as a liberal counterweight to the right on judicial nominations plans to spend $5 million opposing President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick. Demand Justice will invest in radio, TV, digital and voter mobilization, an official said. The campaign will focus on Maine and Alaska, homes of moderate Senate Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, respectively, as well as Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia, where vulnerable Senate Democrats are seeking reelection. (Everett, 7/2)
The List Won Trump The White House. Now Democrats Are Using It Against Him.
It’s the list that won him the presidency. President Donald Trump’s widely publicized list of potential Supreme Court nominees brought conservative doubters — including evangelicals — to the highly unconventional Republican nominee’s side. It prevented them from fleeing as the “Access Hollywood” tape threatened to tank Trump’s campaign. And it reassured them throughout Trump’s turbulent presidency, especially when he pulled from it to ensure Justice Neil Gorsuch’s smooth ascent to the high court. (Woellert and Cadelago, 7/2)
How Amy Coney Barrett Vaulted Onto Trump’s Supreme Court Shortlist
If nominated to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett may have Sen. Dianne Feinstein to thank. A confrontation with the California senator during her confirmation hearing to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last October vaulted Barrett, 46, onto the national stage. As Feinstein pressed her on whether she would be able to render judicial rulings faithful to the law given her deeply held religious beliefs, Barrett became a hero to religious conservatives who believe liberal Democrats target them for their faith. (Johnson, 7/2)
"I think, for example, [Chief Justice] John Roberts given his respect for precedent and his cautious approach, despite what personal views he may hold, I would be very surprised if the chief justice would ever vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, just to give you an example," Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said. Collins, who has a history of supporting abortion rights, is being watched carefully as one of the crucial votes for any Supreme Court nominee.
Collins Voices Skepticism That New Supreme Court Will Overturn Roe V. Wade
GOP Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) is voicing skepticism that the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion regardless of who is confirmed to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In an interview with "The Daily" podcast that was posted on Monday, Collins said she believes Chief Justice John Roberts could be a vote against overturning the ruling. (Carney, 7/2)
Pro-Abortion Rights Activists Sending Coat Hangers To GOP Senator: Report
Pro-abortion rights activists are reportedly sending Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) wire coat hangers in the mail in an effort to press her to vote against any Supreme Court nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade. The Cut reported Monday that advocates are sending Collins wire coat hangers as a graphic reminder of some of the steps historically taken when access to abortion has been restricted (Gstalter, 7/2)
The Associated Press:
Things To Know About Abortion And The Supreme Court
Abortion rights is emerging as a litmus test for the next Supreme Court nominee, with Democrats and at least one moderate Republican declaring they wouldn't support a nominee who opposes the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that established a woman's right to abortion. But there's less here than meets the eye. Here's why. (Flaherty, 7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Chief Justice Roberts Moves To Man In The Middle On The Supreme Court
Though John Roberts has been chief justice of the United States for 13 years, this fall’s term may see the true birth of the Roberts Court. With the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice Roberts will be the new man in the middle on the Supreme Court. He will have four steadfastly liberal justices on his left and likely four deeply conservative ones to his right, including a second justice appointed by President Donald Trump. (Kendall, 7/2)
The data shows that, even though the total number of people choosing a health plan for 2018 dipped, a higher proportion of those who picked coverage went on to make a premium payment so that they would actually be insured.
The Washington Post:
More Americans Pay For ACA Health Plans, Despite Trump Administration Moves To Undercut Law
The number of Americans who bought and began to pay for Affordable Care Act health plans grew slightly this year, despite repeated efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the insurance marketplaces created under the law, new federal figures show. As of February, a month after the start of 2018 coverage, 10.6 million people had paid premiums for ACA health insurance, about 3 percent more than the year before, according to enrollment analyses released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). (Goldstein, 7/2)
More Americans Used Subsidies To Buy Obamacare Plans Than In '14
More than 8 million people in the U.S. got subsidies to help them afford Obamacare plans last year, while 5 million bought plans without help. The report from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services counts people who buy coverage on state- and federal-run markets, as well as people who buy some individual plans outside of the program. (Armstrong, 7/2)
The New York Times:
When Health Insurance Prices Rose Last Year, Around A Million Americans Dropped Coverage
Last year, as insurance prices rose by an average of just over 20 percent around the country, people who qualified for Obamacare subsidies hung onto their insurance. But the increases appear to have been too much to bear for many customers who earned too much to qualify for financial help. According to a new government report, about a million people appear to have been priced out of the market for health insurance last year. (Sanger-Katz, 7/3)
And in news from the states —
The CT Mirror:
Access Health CT Enrollment Rose, Along With Premiums
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, said 106,475 Connecticut individuals and families enrolled in a health insurance plan through Access Health CT this year. That’s up from 92,697 in 2017. Those figures were based on enrollees who had paid at least one month of premiums. (Radelat, 7/2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Insurers Want Billions From Government For Reneging On ACA Commitments
Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative expected to receive $45 million in 2015 through a program in the Affordable Care Act to help offset the risk health insurers faced in a new market. The Wisconsin cooperative instead received $5.7 million. (Boulton, 7/2)
Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's office said the Medicaid work requirement changes had offered "a sustainable path" to provide the dental and vision benefits, but said the judge's move to block them means there's "no longer a viable method" to provide the services. Some experts say, though, that the announcement is misleading and people will continue receiving their benefits.
The Associated Press:
Kentucky Cuts Vision, Dental Care For Up To 460,000 People
Gov. Matt Bevin's administration cut dental and vision coverage for as many as 460,000 Kentuckians after his Medicaid overhaul plan was rejected in court. The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services called the cuts an "unfortunate consequence" of Friday's ruling by a federal judge. Democrats and advocates for the poor condemned the Republican governor's move as rash and possibly illegal. The cuts were announced during the weekend. (Schreiner, 7/2)
Ky. Governor Cancels Medicaid Dental, Vision Benefits After Losing Work Requirement Ruling
Democrats denounced the move and said they did not think Bevin had the legal authority to cancel the benefits. “He said he wants to take dental and vision coverage away,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), said Monday at a press conference. “We don't think that's legal either.” Under Bevin’s Medicaid proposal, along with work requirements, enrollees would have had to earn dental and vision benefits through completing activities like taking classes or searching for a job. (Sullivan, 7/2)
Questions Arise Over Kentucky's Medicaid Cuts Following Work Requirement Rejection
Critics say that announcement is misleading, and that beneficiaries will continue receiving the limited dental and vision benefits they've had all along. They say the move is part of Bevin's effort to push through his conservative changes to the state's Medicaid expansion by threatening to end it or roll it back if he doesn't get his way. A spokesman for the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services said the Bevin administration would cut those benefits in response to U.S. District Judge James Boasberg's ruling Friday invalidating the CMS' approval of Kentucky's Medicaid waiver establishing work requirements and imposing premiums on beneficiaries. (Meyer, 7/2)
Kaiser Health News:
Despite U.S. Court’s Ruling, Medicaid Work Requirements Advance In Other States
The fallout from Friday’s federal court ruling that struck down the Medicaid work requirement in Kentucky was swift. The decision by Judge James Boasberg immediately blocked Kentucky from enacting the provision in Campbell County, which had been set to start Sunday and roll out statewide later this year. (Galewitz, 7/2)
And in Missouri —
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Missouri Hospitals Fear Fallout From Changes To Medicaid
Missouri is changing the terms for how health care providers are paid after caring for certain Medicaid recipients, a move some rural hospitals warn could lead to financial losses. If providers do not come in-network with the three insurance companies contracted by the state to provide coverage to certain Medicaid recipients, providers will be paid 10 percent less than they’re used to. The change went into effect Sunday. (Liss, 7/2)
Right now, it can takes weeks to see if an anti-depressant is effective. And if it's not, the patient is stuck back at square one.
Companies Developing Fast-Acting Antidepressants Grapple With Trial Design
As companies race to develop fast-acting antidepressants, they are grappling with how to design clinical trials for a type of drug that doesn’t yet exist. There’s no shortage of interest in the idea: Janssen (JNJ) is testing an esketamine nasal spray, which, when combined with an oral antidepressant, has shown promise in quickly curbing symptoms of serious depression. Allergan (AGN) is developing its own experimental rapid-acting antidepressant, rapastinel, for patients with major depression and those at high risk of suicide. Both act on the brain’s NMDA receptor, which is involved in learning and memory. (Thielking, 7/3)
In other pharmaceutical news —
AbbVie And Its Partner Ordered To Pay $448 Million Over Pay-To-Delay Case
In a big win for the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge ordered AbbVie (ABBV) and another company to pay $448 million to consumers for violating antitrust laws and striking deals that delayed lower-cost generic versions of their AndroGel testosterone treatment from reaching the market. The Friday decision comes in response to a lawsuit the FTC filed nearly four years ago in which AbbVie was accused of filing “sham” patent litigation against potential generic rivals, and then entered into an allegedly illegal patent settlement in order to thwart competition. (Silverman, 7/2)
FDA Reprimands Mylan For Shoddy Quality Control At A Key Plant
Several weeks ago, Mylan (MYL) unexpectedly disclosed plans to lay off more than 400 employees at a West Virginia manufacturing plant because the facility needed to be “right-sized and less complex. ”Now we know why. Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration posted a lengthy inspection report chock-full of troubling manufacturing practices that were observed during an inspection this past March and April. (Silverman, 7/2)
The agency is also considering paying home health agencies for remote patient monitoring.
CMS To Test Medicare Advantage As Alternative Payment Model Under MACRA
The CMS wants to launch an experiment that allows doctors in Medicare Advantage plans to qualify as participating in an alternative pay model. To comply with MACRA, clinicians have two tracks to choose from: MIPS, which requires clinicians to report and meet quality goals, and advanced alternative payment models, which require clinicians to take on financial risk as part of efforts to improve care and lower costs. If goals are met under an APM they're eligible for bonuses. (Dickson, 6/29)
CMS Proposes Paying Home Health Agencies For Remote Monitoring
The CMS is considering paying home health agencies for remote patient monitoring. Remote patient monitoring involves the use of digital tools to collect health data such as vital signs, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and electrocardiograms. (Dickson, 7/2)
Uttam Dhillon also served under President George W. Bush as director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement. In other news on the national drug crisis: big gains for businesses and more lawsuits against manufacturers.
Trump Administration Names New U.S. Drug Enforcement Chief
The Trump administration on Monday named a top White House lawyer as the new head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration after the agency's prior acting administrator announced his retirement last month. Uttam Dhillon, who most recently served as deputy White House counsel, was named as the DEA's acting administrator at a time when the agency is devoting much of its attention to grappling with a national opioid epidemic. (Raymond, 7/2)
Opioid Epidemic Leads To Booming Business In Covington, Kentucky
ASAP Analytical, a family business that operates from an unassuming building on an alley named Neave Street in Covington, sells equipment that helps analysts in forensic labs figure out the content of powder and pills and bricks of suspected drugs that cops seize. ...The surge on the streets of the synthetic opiate fentanyl, in particular, tells Harris that equipment such as ASAP's will continue to grow in demand for a while. (DeMio, 7/2)
Kansas City Star:
Cities, Counties In Kansas, Missouri Sue Opioid Businesses
Cities, counties and Native American tribes across the nation are filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers in an effort to recover damages from the widespread opioid epidemic. The suits largely accuse pharmaceutical companies of aggressively pushing painkillers while falsely representing the danger of addiction, turning "patients into drug addicts for their own corporate profit," one suit said. (Ryan and Marso, 7/2)
Minnesota Becomes 26th State To Sue Opioid Maker Purdue
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced Monday that her office has filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the makers of the opioid painkiller OxyContin. The suit in Hennepin County District Court alleges that Purdue misled doctors and the public about the dangers of opioid painkillers starting in the mid-1990s. (Collins, 7/2)
“Do you know how much an ambulance costs?” the passenger said, even though she had a laceration that was so deep it was exposing bone.
A Woman Got Her Leg Caught In The Gap Of An Orange Line Train — And Then Begged For No Ambulance Because Of The Cost
When a 45-year-old woman’s leg became caught in the gap between an Orange Line train and the platform Friday afternoon, she was in agony. The cut on her leg went down to the bone. Beyond her pain, she had another fear. Shaking and crying, she begged people not to call an ambulance. “Do you know how much an ambulance costs?” she wept. Her fellow passengers rushed to her aid. One man stood behind her so she could lean on him. Another passenger placed a cold bottle of water to her leg. And at least 10 people pushed on the car together, moving it just enough for the woman to pull free, according to a video of the accident the MBTA released Monday. (Cramer and Cote, 7/2)
The experiment, which zapped certain parts of the brain, found a 54 percent reduction in aggressive intentions in the group receiving the stimulation and a 31 percent jump in their sense of moral wrongfulness about acts of aggression.
The Washington Post:
Zapping The Brain Appears To Decrease Aggressive Intentions, New Study Says
The possibility of using brain stimulation to help prevent future violence just passed a proof of concept stage, according to new research published Monday in the Journal of Neuroscience. In a double-blind, randomized controlled study, a group of volunteers who received a charge to their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain that lies directly behind the forehead and is responsible for planning, reasoning and inhibition were — were less likely to say they would consider engaging in aggressive behavior compared to a similar group that received a sham treatment. (Nutt, 7/2)
Can Zapping Brains Reduce Violence? Controversial Study Sees Potential
The day before, half of them had had the frontmost region of their brains, responsible for such high-level functions as impulse control and moral judgments, electrically stimulated; the other half had not. The people whose prefrontal cortex was stimulated reported roughly half the likelihood of committing a violent act like the ones they watched, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania reported on Monday; they said they found such physical and sexual violence more morally wrong, compared with the control group. (Begley, 7/2)
Abstainers aren't advised to start drinking coffee, but the research is great news for java lovers and supports previous studies. "It's hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad," said Tufts University nutrition expert Alice Lichtenstein.
The Associated Press:
Fresh Grounds For Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity
Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily. In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers. The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It's the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine. (7/2)
The New York Times:
Coffee Drinkers May Live Longer
It's not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage. (Bakalar, 7/2)
Multiple Cups Of Coffee — Brewed Or Instant, Caf Or Decaf — May Be Good For You, Study Finds
On the basis of this study, some people who were holding back on coffee because of lingering health concerns may want to drink a little more if they want to, professor Alice Lichstenstein says. "But," she added, "I would also suggest if someone doesn't enjoy coffee, the data are not strong enough that they should start drinking coffee." (Goldberg, 7/2)
The study looked at differences between states, finding that, out of the states involved in the survey, Idaho has the highest prevalence of self-harm among girls. In other news on children's health: lithium experiments, autism, dietary supplements, and drownings.
The New York Times:
How Many Teenage Girls Deliberately Harm Themselves? Nearly 1 In 4, Survey Finds.
Up to 30 percent of teenage girls in some parts of the United States say they have intentionally injured themselves without aiming to commit suicide, researchers have found. About one in four adolescent girls deliberately harmed herself in the previous year, often by cutting or burning, compared to about one in 10 boys. The overall prevalence of self-harm was almost 18 percent. “These numbers are very high for both genders — that surprised me,” said Martin A. Monto, a sociologist at the University of Portland and lead author of the new research. (Baumgaertner, 7/2)
Documents Raise New Concerns About Lithium Study On Children,
Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct. (Cohen, 7/3)
The New York Times:
In Baby Teeth, Links Between Chemical Exposure In Pregnancy And Autism
If you are a parent worrying through pregnancy, or maybe trying to make sense of your child’s neurodevelopmental problems, you aren’t always glad to see another story about a new study looking at possible environmental risk factors. From pesticides in the food to phthalates in the plastics to pollutant particles in the air, so many different exposures have been linked to problems in the developing fetal brain that parents can sometimes feel both bewildered and, inevitably, at fault for failing or having failed to take all possible precautions. (Klass, 7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Do Dietary Supplements Help Or Hurt Children?
More and more children in the U.S. are taking alternative dietary supplements that have scant proven benefits and could pose health risks. According to a recent analysis, the rate of children taking alternative or herbal supplements nearly doubled, to 6.3% from 3.7%, between 2003 and 2014. The increase was fueled by melatonin, a hormone used to aid sleep, and omega-3 fatty acids, or fish-oil supplements, which often are given to children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism despite little evidence that they help. (Reddy, 7/2)
San Jose Mercury News:
Spike In County Child Drownings Prompt Calls For Safety Reminders
Since May, three children have drowned in swimming pool accidents in Santa Clara County, and there has been as many near-drownings so far this summer as all of last summer. Concerned health care providers are reminding parents and adults about safety precautions in and around water, especially during the summer. (Lam, 7/2)
More people are flocking to genetic testing, but false positives are rampant and can lead to weeks of unnecessary panic. In other public health news: sepsis, lung cancer, mental health, hogweed and food labels.
The New York Times:
The Online Gene Test Finds A Dangerous Mutation. It May Well Be Wrong.
Dr. Joshua Clayton, a 29-year-old radiology resident at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, wanted to learn about his ancestry. So he sent a sample of his saliva to 23andMe, the genetic testing company. His report was pretty mundane — no new revelations. But then he sent the profile created by 23andMe to a separate company called Promethease, which promises to do a more in-depth analysis for genetic mutations that cause disease. The news was not good. Dr. Clayton got back a report with a sinister red box at the top saying he had a mutation linked to Lynch syndrome, a frightening genetic disorder that leads to potentially deadly cancers at an early age. (Kolata, 7/2)
Sepsis Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death. Can A Blood Test Change That?
In his spare time, when he feels up to it, Ronnie Roberts walks through hospital parking lots slipping informational flyers onto every windshield.Roberts wants people to know the signs of sepsis, the body’s overwhelming response to a blood infection, which can lead to organ failure and even death. If he had known the signs and insisted that his fiancee was treated appropriately, he believes she’d still be alive. (Weintraub, 7/3)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Can The Abortion Pill Treat Advanced Lung Cancer? This Infertility Expert Wants To Find Out
Jerome Check firmly believes that mifepristone, better known as the abortion pill, can extend and improve the lives of terminally ill lung cancer patients who have run out of treatment options. He has enough circumstantial evidence of this that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave him permission to formally test the drug in 40 advanced-stage patients. (McCullough, 7/3)
The Washington Post:
From Apps To Avatars, New Tools For Taking Control Of Your Mental Health
After a friend's suicide last year, Zach Schleien sought some answers through an online discussion forum. He was riveted by the people who shared their pain, such as the 19-year-old woman who never left her room or the man with schizophrenia trying to manage the warring voices in his head. Schleien started wondering if there was something he could do to help alleviate such suffering. His solution turned out to be simpler than he expected: A Slack channel, a private online community for people in life-or-death struggles reaching out in real time to save one another. (Nutt, 7/2)
The New York Times:
Giant Hogweed: A Plant That Can Burn And Blind You. But Don’t Panic.
The nasty effects of touching a giant hogweed — its sap can scar, burn and blind if you come in contact with it — have inspired frightening headlines after the recent discovery of the first confirmed population of the plant in Virginia. The invasive plant’s nefarious reputation is amplified by its size: Giant hogweed can grow to more than 14 feet tall, with leaves five feet wide and stems between two and four inches in diameter. (Zaveri and Hauser, 7/2)
The New York Times:
The Terms On A Food Label To Ignore, And The Ones To Watch For
If your head starts spinning when trying to make healthy and budget-friendly food choices, you’re not alone. Take a look around your local grocery store and you’ll find a slew of confusing terms. Organic. Non-G.M.O. Low-sugar. Superfood. What does it all mean, and how can a normal human shopper possibly make sense of any of it? We asked registered dietitians, food marketers and members of the New York State Agricultural Society for help decoding the labels you see in the grocery store. Let’s break down how to decode the label and get past the marketing into the actual benefits of what we’re buying. (Schumer, 7/3)
The judge said that the state cannot impose any civil or criminal penalties on clinics for continuing to administer the abortion pills, but that they must continue trying to find contracting physicians as required by the law. In other women's health news: candidates focus on abortion while campaigning, and Poland offers insights on how Texas could better improve maternal health.
The Associated Press:
Judge Extends Halt To Arkansas Abortion Pills Restriction
A federal judge on Monday extended a halt she had imposed on an Arkansas law that critics say would make the state the first in the nation to effectively ban abortion pills. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker granted a preliminary injunction preventing Arkansas from enforcing the law, which says doctors who provide the pills must hold a contract with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications. (7/2)
The CT Mirror:
Lamont Gets An Endorsement, Challenges GOP On Abortion
While U.S. Rep. John B. Larson endorsed fellow Democrat Ned Lamont on Monday in the race for governor, Lamont challenged the GOP rivals to pledge to defend Connecticut’s laws supporting abortion rights. (Phaneuf, 7/2)
In Poland Midwives Play A Significant Role In Childbirth. But Not In Texas
The number of Texas mothers dying during and after childbirth generated national headlines in recent years when deaths seemed to skyrocket; since then, state officials have cast doubt on those statistics by recalculating the maternal mortality rate for 2012 — the year when deaths seemed to spike — and concluding the rate was much lower. Experts continue to debate which number is the most accurate and how to best count the deaths. (Evans, 7/3)
Dumping homeless patients -- discharging them when they have nowhere to go other than a shelter unequipped to handle their medical needs -- is a national issue that has hit California particularly hard. Meanwhile, a study looks at different teaching hospitals to break down the social dynamics within surgical teams.
The Associated Press:
LA Hospital To Pay $550K In Homeless Patient Dumping Case
A Los Angeles hospital suspected of discharging hundreds of homeless patients and dumping them at bus and train stations instead of shelters or other facilities agreed to pay a $550,000 legal settlement, prosecutors announced Monday. Silver Lake Medical Center, which operates a 118-bed psychiatric facility, agreed to stop the practice and put policies in place to make sure homeless patients are delivered to facilities that can care for them, City Attorney Mike Feuer said. (7/2)
Study Find Hierarchies, Gender Dynamics Driving Conflict On Surgical Teams
A team of researchers at Emory University and Kaiser Permanente sat in on 200 surgeries at three different teaching hospitals, and logged each and every social exchange between clinical team members. What they discovered were complicated subcultures in which well-understood hierarchies and gender dynamics contributed to conflict — or helped alleviate it. ... [Laura] Jones and her colleagues found that the gender composition of teams was strongly associated with its level of cooperation. If the attending surgeon was of the opposite gender as that of most other personnel in the OR, cooperation was more common. (Farber, 7/2)
And in other hospital news —
Georgia Health News:
Feds: Hospitals Were Not ‘Double Paid,’ But Are Still On The Hook
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated last week that hospitals were essentially paid twice for the same patient services. A CMS spokeswoman said Monday that the double-payment assertion was not correct, but that the payments were improper because they were made by the wrong entity. (Miller, 7/2)
The Star Tribune:
In Marked Turnaround, Anoka Mental Hospital Restores Federal Compliance
Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center, a state psychiatric hospital that two years ago was in jeopardy of losing federal funding over serious violations of health and safety standards, has received a clean bill of health from regulators. The 110-bed hospital, which treats many of the state's most complex psychiatric patients, received notice that it is in full compliance with federal rules for patient safety and hospital operations, following two unannounced visits early this year by inspectors from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), according to a letter from the agency made public last week. (Serres, 7/2)
Media outlets report on news from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon.
How Private Equity Keeps States Invested In Medical Billing Practices They've Banned
Several states have barred medical providers from shocking patients with surprise bills for thousands of dollars, but pensions in those same states are poised to profit from the practice. Public-employee retirement funds in California, New York, Oregon and other states have heavily invested with a private-equity firm, KKR & Co., that’s been buying up companies known for demanding steep payouts for emergency medical treatment and hospital stays that may not have been entirely covered by a person’s health plan. (Tozzi, 7/3)
Los Angeles Times:
Healthcare Groups Want California Voters To Tax Soda
Soda companies got a respite last week from battling local taxes on sugary beverages, after California lawmakers grudgingly passed a 12-year ban on cities and counties imposing the levies. That reprieve might be short-lived. Major healthcare groups announced Monday that they will pursue a statewide soda tax initiative on the 2020 ballot to pay for public health programs. And in another jab at the beverage industry, the initiative would enshrine in the California Constitution the right of local governments to impose soda taxes. (Mason, 7/2)
The CT Mirror:
Multiple Investigations Follow Pregnant Teen's Death At State Psychiatric Hospital
With the autopsy still pending of a pregnant teenager who died in an apparent suicide at Connecticut’s psychiatric hospital for children, the Department of Public Health, along with an intersection of state agencies, has begun an investigation into the death. The 16-year-old’s suicide, which occurred late last Thursday night at the South Campus of the Albert J. Solnit Children’s Center in Middletown, has prompted inquiries from child advocates, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Public Health, and the state police. (Hurlbut, 7/2)
Mass. Is One Of Just 2 States That Hasn’t Passed A Budget For This Fiscal Year
The Democratic-controlled Massachusetts House and Senate have both passed their own versions of a $41 billion state budget. But, so far, they haven’t been able to reconcile the two spending plans. Besides setting appropriations for specific areas — the state’s Medicaid program, the State Police, housing for homeless families, for example — each budget also includes policy sections that would change state law. (Miller, 7/2)
California Law Introduces New Data Concerns For Healthcare Organizations
California legislators are giving companies dealing in personal data—including some health information—yet another set of restrictions to contend with thanks to a new broad privacy law passed last week. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 gives consumers more control over the personal data that businesses collect. Companies have to tell people what data they've collected, what they're using the data for, and which third parties they've given access to the data, among other requirements. (Arndt, 7/2)
Portland-Area Measles Case Leads To 500 People Notified Of Potential Exposure
Upward of 500 people might have been exposed to the measles after someone with the virus entered a Gresham child care center, Multnomah County health officials said Monday. The measles infection was confirmed Wednesday after an emergency room visit. County health officials, Adventist Health Portland and the child care center have since issued notifications to anyone who might have come into contact with the patient. (Harbarger, 7/2)
Air District Explains Why Smoke Advisory From Wildfires To The North Came Late
Local air regulators issued a smoke advisory Sunday afternoon, hours after many people in the Bay Area woke up to an orange sky, ash falling to the ground and the smell of smoke in the air. Winds had pushed smoke and debris from the massive County Fire burning in Yolo and Napa counties into the central Bay Area, causing a flurry of photos on social media and alerts from some local agencies and elected officials. (Goldberg, 7/2)
Cannabis Testing Labs Feel Squeeze From Mass. Communities
A lack of independent testing laboratories is being blamed in part for the slow roll-out of adult-use, or recreational, marijuana in Massachusetts. But the founder of one of the labs that has been providing testing for the state's medical marijuana market pushed back Monday against the criticism. (Brown, 7/2)
Sacramento Homeless: City Council Will Consider New Bathroom
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday will consider opening more restrooms for homeless people in the downtown area, following months of researching ways to reduce human waste and address public health concerns. The city manager's office is recommending that the council allow homeless people to use restrooms in an existing building at North A and 14th streets in the River District, and contract with the county to help connect bathroom users with housing and medical and social services. (Hubert, 7/3)
News outlets report on stories related to pharmaceutical pricing.
The Wall Street Journal:
Pfizer Raises Prices For Dozens Of Drugs
Pfizer Inc. raised the list prices for more than 40 of its prescription drugs this week, marking a second round of increases this year despite mounting public scrutiny. The increases apply to widely used drugs including lung-cancer treatment Xalkori, Norvasc blood-pressure pills and Lyrica pain capsules, according to drug-pricing data from RELX PLC’s Elsevier information business. Many lift the list prices by 9.4% and by double-digit percentages for the year overall. (Rockoff, 7/2)
The New York Times:
Why Amazon’s Push Into Prescription Drugs Isn’t A Guaranteed Success
When Amazon announced last week that it was buying the online pharmacy PillPack, it sent stocks of drugstore companies like Walgreens and Rite Aid tumbling, as investors worried that the retail behemoth would soon upend the pharmacy market. But even though Amazon has transformed the way Americans buy products as different as books and diapers, it may not have such an easy time with prescription drugs. That’s because to succeed, it will have to do business with powerful entrenched companies who are not necessarily wishing Amazon well. (Thomas and Ballentine, 7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Why July Is A Risky Month For Drug Price Backlash
Less than two months after its unveiling, President Donald Trump’s plan to lower prescription drug prices is up for a big test. Investors aren’t particularly worried since it stopped short of calling for Medicare to directly negotiate prices with individual drug companies. What is more, the Trump administration has been rolling the plan out at a deliberate pace. (Grant, 7/3)
Anatomy Of A 97,000% Drug Price Hike: One Family's Fight To Save Their Son
Trevor Foltz splashes in the pool in his grandparents' backyard. His brother and sister join in the fun, as does their father. Their mother, Danielle, watches from a nearby lawn chair. She's like a hawk, keeping a close eye on Trevor and the rest of her brood. It was 10 years ago in this backyard when a similar moment of revelry was shattered. Trevor, then a toddler, was running around, having the time of his life, his mom keeping steady watch. (Drash, 6/29)
Two Years Of Duterte: A Mixed Picture Of Drug War, Economic Boom
President Rodrigo Duterte’s two years in office in the Philippines have been marred by controversy, but with one big success: a booming economy. The jury is still out if that’s because, or in spite, of him. The brash, 73-year-old leader -- nicknamed The Punisher when he was a crime-busting town mayor for two decades -- has led an anti-drug war that’s killed thousands of people, been labeled a misogynist, angered Catholics with his blasphemous statements and sidelined some of his enemies. (Calonzo and Lopez, 7/1)
Kaiser Health News:
Out-Of-Pocket Costs Put HIV Prevention Drug Out Of Reach For Many At Risk
Public health officials are expanding efforts to get the HIV prevention pill into the hands of those at risk, in a nationwide effort to curb infections. But the officials are hitting roadblocks — the drug’s price tag, which has surged in recent years, and changes in insurance coverage that put a heftier financial burden on patients. Since brand-name Truvada was approved for HIV prevention six years ago, its average wholesale price has increased by about 45 percent. Now, the drug — which rakes in billions of dollars in annual global revenue for its manufacturer, Gilead Sciences — carries a list price of close to $2,000 for a 30-day supply. (Luthra and Gorman, 7/3)
Medicare Spent $500 Million On A Drug After Mallinckrodt Paid Doctors
As doctors received more money from the company that sells an expensive drug known as Acthar Gel, the number of prescriptions written climbed and Medicare spending rose substantially, suggesting the payments swayed medical practice and cost taxpayers a bundle, according to a new analysis. Specifically, for every $10,000 that Mallinckrodt (MNK) paid physicians in 2015, Medicare spending rose by 7.9 percent, or $53,000, for the drug, which is used to treat infantile spasms but often prescribed for more than a dozen other maladies as well. All totaled, Medicare spent more than $500 million on the drug that year. The analysis, which appeared in the JAMA Network Open, examined payments to three types of specialists: nephrologists, neurologists, and rheumatologists. (Silverman, 6/29)
Capitol Insider: Why Is Ohio Medicaid Defending Pharmacy Middlemen?
Seldom have public officials been lit up during a legislative hearing quite like a pair of Ohio Medicaid executives were last week. Criticism rained down from both their fellow Republicans and from Democrats — from urban, suburban and rural representatives, and lawmakers black and white. (Rowland, 7/1)
The Wall Street Journal:
Novartis Injects Itself Into Planned Rollout Of EpiPen Competitor
Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. said it agreed to sell the U.S. commercial rights for Symjepi, an epinephrine injector for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions, to Novartis AG unit Sandoz Inc.Under the exclusive agreement, Sandoz will pay an upfront fee and make potential performance-based milestone payments for the rights, Adamis said late Sunday in a news release. Net profits generated from U.S. sales of Symjepi—a potential rival to Mylan NV’s EpiPen—will be shared equally by Adamis and the subsidiary of Switzerland-based Novartis, Adamis said. (7/2)
Hair-Loss And ED Drugs Startup Hims Raises Another $50 Million
Hims, a startup selling erectile-dysfunction, hair-loss and skin-care medication to men over the internet, raised $50 million to expand into more prescription-drug categories. Institutional Venture Partners led the round, which also included Forerunner Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital. The $50 million brings Hims’ total funding to $97 million. A spokeswoman declined to comment on valuation, but Wired reported in March that the company was worth $200 million. (de Vynck, 6/28)
AbbVie, AndroGel Partner Owe $448 Million In Antitrust Case: U.S. Judge
A U.S. judge on Friday found that pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc used sham litigation to illegally prevent generic versions of testosterone replacement drug AndroGel from getting to market and ordered the drugmaker and its partner to pay $448 million. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle in Philadelphia came in an antitrust lawsuit filed in 2014 by the Federal Trade Commission against AbbVie and its partner Besins Healthcare Inc. (Raymond, 6/29)
Ex-Millennium Chief Deborah Dunsire Looks For Pipeline Growth As Lundbeck's CEO
Neuroscience specialist Lundbeck has been running without a permanent CEO since last November when then-helmsman Kåre Schultz left for Teva’s top job. Now, it has found one in Deborah Dunsire, M.D., an industry veteran whose background is primarily in oncology. Dunsire, who takes over Sept. 1, is probably most widely known as the former CEO of Millennium. During her tenure from 2005 to 2013, Dunsire transformed Millennium into an oncology biotech leader with top-selling drugs like Velcade before it was sold to Takeda to become a centerpiece of its U.S. operation. Prior to that, she had overseen Novartis’ North American oncology business for about 10 years. (Liu, 7/2)
Read recent commentaries about drug-cost issues.
What An Amazon Pharmacy Could Solve, And What It Won’t
If Amazon’s move to disrupt health care is going to make Americans any healthier, the improvement is most likely to take place in the business of getting prescription drugs to patients more reliably. For one thing, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Failure to take prescription drugs kills about 125,000 Americans a year, according to a recent review in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and this form of noncompliance costs the health care system $100 billion to $289 billion a year. PillPack — the online pharmacy service that Amazon.com Inc. bought this week — already simplifies health care for its customers by pre-sorting multiple prescriptions. Amazon could do even more by cutting down on the 20 to 30 percent of prescriptions that are reportedly never filled, easing communications between doctors and patients, and helping the medical community collect useful data on side effects and customer satisfaction. (Faye Flam, 6/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
Amazon The Rx Disrupter
Amazon has remade retail by adopting Apple founder Steve Jobs’s dictum of showing consumers what they want before they know they want it—and then getting it to them fast. CEO Jeff Bezos is now betting he can use this strategy to disrupt the pharmacy business, which could use the competition. This week Amazon announced it is paying $1 billion for online pharmacy PillPack. The five-year-old startup sorts prescriptions by dose and provides labels and directions for patients with a picture of each pill. This is a godsend for patients with chronic conditions who have difficulty following a regimen. Think of the 85-year-old with high cholesterol, anemia and arthritis. (6/29)
PillPack Aside, Amazon's Far From Catching CVS And Walgreens
Despite investor enthusiasm for Amazon’s purchase of the online pharmacy PillPack, the giant online retailer needs to do more deals to catch CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart if it’s to compete in the U.S. prescription business. Most Americans get healthcare coverage through health insurance companies that control where the prescription is picked up or how it's delivered. PillPack is in several health insurance and Medicare Part D drug plan networks, which is important as CVS, Walgreens and Walmart are forming closer ties with health insurers to lock up their customers in insurer networks. (Bruce Japsen, 7/2)
Pharmacists Can Help Manage Drug Costs If State And Federal Laws Just Let Them
For decades, our government has attempted to address one of the most pressing health care problems in our country — skyrocketing drug prices — to little avail. This week, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar testified before the Senate Finance Committee addressing the challenges of prescription drug affordability for millions of Americans. But there is another high cost of prescription drugs often overlooked: The most expensive drug may be the one not taken, or not taken as recommended by physicians and pharmacists. The good news for patients is that they are not alone when dealing with medication challenges. Pharmacists are in a good position to assist, if state and federal laws would allow. (Lucinda Maine, 6/29)
Dallas Morning News:
Doctors Should Know The Cost Of The Drugs They Prescribe, But Most Don't
On July 1, more than 30,000 new doctors will begin medical residency and have the honor of serving patients across the spectrum of health care. I am one of them. And I'm concerned that we will contribute to the $750 billion epidemic of excessive health care spending, according to a 2012 Institute of Medicine report, and risk financially hurting our patients if we do not know the cost of what we prescribe. Most patients are in a black box about the specific cost of health care services. A national poll from the West Health Institute and the University of Chicago shows that 4 in 10 Americans skip medical tests or treatment because they are too expensive, and, according to an Ipsos survey, 85 percent of Americans are concerned with the cost of health care. (Hussain Lalani, 6/29)
High Drug Prices Caused By US Patent System, Not 'Foreign Freeloaders'
Americans continue to suffer the highest prescription drug costs of anyone in the world. One in four are unable to fill prescriptions due to high prices, according to a recent poll. And even though drug prices tripled over the last decade, analysts predict they will double again in the next ten years. We have a runaway problem on our hands, and while new proposals from Congress and the president seek to improve the drug pricing system, we will fail to reach lasting solutions unless we address a root factor in this national crisis: patents. (Tahir Amin, 6/27)
Sticker Shock: The Real Cost Of America's 10 Most Expensive Drugs
The high price of pharmaceuticals has become a constant topic of conversation in the U.S. As medical costs rise, consumers face greater financial uncertainty. And day after day, both the White House and Congress make promises that they will lower prescription costs to alleviate constituent concerns, but few changes have backed up their words. That said, time and again we are reminded that despite the rising costs of pharma, the medical industry is exceptionally complex and very rarely do patients see the real price tag of their drugs. And that lack of information – not to mention the number of third-party entities that get involved – creates a confusing and frustrating, and often bloated, price structure. (Nicole Fisher, 6/26)
The Trump Plan To Reduce Drug Prices — Are American Patients First?
Cancer drug prices continue to increase by 10 to 12 percent every year. Spending on cancer drugs doubled in the past five years, and will double again by 2022. All cancer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2017 were priced above $160,000 per year. Patients are additionally burdened with crushing out-of-pocket prescription expenses. Effective solutions to lower cancer drug prices were outlined in many commentaries, and became part of the 2016 presidential campaign agendas. (Hagop Kantarjian and Vivian Ho, 7/1)
Editorial pages focus on the potentially crucial role the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy will have on health issues.
The New York Times:
Chuck Schumer: Our Rights Hang In The Balance
Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement has created the most important vacancy on the Supreme Court in our lifetimes. Whoever fills Justice Kennedy’s seat will join an evenly divided court with the ability to affect the laws of the United States and the rights of its citizens for generations. Enormously important issues hang in the balance: the right of workers to organize, the pernicious influence of dark money in politics, the right of Americans to marry who they love, the right to vote.Perhaps the most consequential issues at stake in this Supreme Court vacancy are affordable health care and a woman’s freedom to make the most sensitive medical decisions about her body. The views of President Trump’s next court nominee on these issues could well determine whether the Senate approves or rejects them. (Sen. Chuck Schumer, 7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Abortion Scare Campaign
Some things in politics are predictable—a New Jersey tax increase, a “no” vote by Senator Rand Paul, and an abortion-rights scare campaign every time a Republican President makes a Supreme Court nomination. And sure enough, the predictions of doom for abortion and gay rights began within minutes of Anthony Kennedy’s resignation last week. These predictions are almost certainly wrong. (7/2)
The Washington Post:
Will The Supreme Court Really Lurch Rightward With Trump’s Next Appointment?
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s announced retirement has led many to speculate about how Trump’s second appointment to the Supreme Court will affect national politics. Most think the court will lurch right. But is that really certain? (Michael Bailey, 7/2)
Why We Live In Anthony Kennedy’s America, Not Robert Bork’s
Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Picking his successor will be highly consequential, and one need only rewind history to the vacant seat that ultimately became Kennedy’s 30 years ago to see the real-world stakes for millions of Americans. During his Supreme Court tenure, Justice Kennedy cast critical votes in landmark decisions upholding individual dignity and autonomy. He voted to preserve the core holding of Roe v. Wade in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and reaffirmed the Court’s commitment to reproductive rights again two years ago in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. He also authored a number of decisions protecting the rights of gay people, including the decision guaranteeing same-sex couples the right to marry. (Joel Dodge, 7/2)
Save Us, Sens. Collins And Murkowski
Until last Wednesday, Anthony Kennedy was arguably the most powerful person in the country. Now, two people can claim that mantle: Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. A historic battle over replacing Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court is about to unfold, and as swing-vote moderate Republican senators, Collins or Murkowski can, with a little help, shape the court for a generation. They can either allow it to swing far right or they can insist that it be right of center but in the mainstream. Their decision could determine whether abortion remains legal, whether gay people will lose some of their hard-earned equality and whether there will be any checks on corporations’ power. (7/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
Abortion, Roe—And Trump
Whenever a Supreme Court seat opens up during a Republican administration, headlines start warning that American women will soon be in for a new Dark Ages if Roe v. Wade—the landmark 1973 decision legalizing abortion across all 50 states—is overturned. This time around, with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, the fifth vote to overturn Roe has just become a numerical possibility. Unfortunately, what ought to occasion a healthy debate over a contentious issue once again looks to be clouded by a handful of dubious orthodoxies. In rough order, they are as follows: First, that Roe is the settled law of the land. Second, that litmus tests are bad and unhelpful. Finally, that an individual’s stand on abortion determines where he stands on Roe. (William McGurn, 7/2)
Los Angeles Times:
No, Trump Should Not Abandon His Supreme Court List
Presumably, as you read this, the White House is setting up its war room for the Supreme Court confirmation battle to come. The interns are stocking the mini fridges and hanging the musk-masking air fresheners that are de rigueur for any top-flight political bunker. But before the administration goes to the mattresses, it first must pick a nominee. And that is why I hope White House counsel Don McGahn is hanging a sign for all to see: “It’s the list, stupid.” Over the next week, the White House will come under incredible pressure from the news media, the Democrats and some Republicans (pro-choice and abortion-squeamish) to abandon the list of potential Supreme Court nominees President Trump campaigned on (and later expanded slightly). On Sunday, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told ABC’s “This Week” that the president “should not feel bound” by the list. (Jonah Goldberg, 7/3)
Roe V. Wade: Does Donald Trump Want The Next Justice To Outlaw Abortion?
President Trump has vowed not to ask prospective members of the Supreme Court about their views on Roe v. Wade, the basis for legal abortion nationwide since 1973 and the most widely discussed legal case in American in the last half century. President Trump also made a rather different promise to voters in 2016 in his third televised debate with Hillary Clinton. He said Roe would be overturned if he got to change the balance on the court. (Ron Elving, 7/3)
Opinion writers weigh in on health topics.
The New York Times:
This Tweet Captures The State Of Health Care In America Today
A nightmarish accident on a Boston subway platform on Friday — described in gory detail by a local reporter, Maria Cramer, as it unfolded and quickly retweeted by thousands — is one you might expect to see in an impoverished country. (7/2)
Detention Centers Are Toxic To Developing Minds And Bodies
Amid all the confusion about zero tolerance and executive orders over the crisis at the border, one thing is clear. At least 2,000 children are still detained away from their parents in shelters across the country. Many — no one knows exactly how many — are under age 5 housed in “tender age” shelters in South Texas. Government officials claim they are safe and well cared for, but nothing could be further from the truth. Years of research shows us that group care, is harmful to children of all ages and especially toxic for infants and young children. (Charles H. Zeanah and Carole Shauffer, 7/3)
Chickenpox Shows How Unprepared We Are At The Border
It’s been more than a week since a detainee at Victorville — a prison complex in California being used by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) — was diagnosed with chickenpox. About 1,000 immigrants were moved here as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers; authorities claim that they were medically screened on entry to the prison. The diagnosis of chickenpox — highly contagious, passed by touching or breathing virus particles — came days after protesting prison workers there — who considered the situation dangerous - urged the federal government to add more staff to the medical unit. (Jonathan Fielding, 7/2)
Emergency Departments Shouldn't Be Keeping U.S. Health Care Afloat
The evolution of emergency care in the United States is a fascinating story. Sadly, what became a hugely successful solution to an important problem in health care is now being eroded by its misapplication to another problem. The modern U.S. health care system began with so much promise. After World War II, the economy was booming and employers were quick to provide health care for their workers. The addition of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 further fueled a dramatic expansion in the quality and availability of health care services. Throughout this time, emergency care was still in its dark days. (Paul Seward, 7/3)
Gov. Baker Just Signed A Tax Increase. But He Doesn't Want You To Call It That
Baker just signed into law a 0.63 percent payroll tax that funds a brand-new entitlement: 12 weeks of paid family leave and 20 weeks of medical leave. (Tom Keane, 7/3)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Philly City Council Wants To Snuff Out Big Tobacco. Why Did Harrisburg Get In The Way?
If people in other parts of Pennsylvania want to sacrifice their children to support Big Tobacco’s profits, shame on them. But if they want to offer up our kids, that’s another story altogether. Because we can’t afford to lose another life to tobacco here in Philadelphia. (Colleen McCauley, 7/3)
San Antonio Press-Express:
Some Suggestions For Bettering Health Care In Texas
The Texas Medical Board is tasked with regulating the practice of medicine across the state, but even more so, with protecting and enhancing the public’s safety, health and wellness, and maintaining the standards of excellence for more than 80,000 Texas physicians through education, discipline and licensure. As a family practice physician in San Antonio for 36 years, I believe we must deliver quality care to every patient, every time. (Manuel Quiñones, 7/2)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
What We Are Doing To Treat Trauma In Milwaukee
Education about the nature and effects of complex trauma encourages compassionate responses to trauma-affected individuals, families and communities. Moreover, specific information about how to engage trauma-affected individuals or groups and how to support their resilience improves the practices and culture of local organizations. (James Topitzes, 7/2)