President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may have stolen a bit of the spotlight from health care this week, but there’s still plenty of news to go around in our corner of the world. Here’s what you may have missed.
Republicans are cringing at the administration’s decision not to defend the health law’s preexisting condition provision. The move is likely to serve as a tailor-made soundbite for Democrats as lawmakers hit the campaign trail for the midterms. In fact, Dems are already going after the decision as “a sick joke,” while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is doing damage control. “Everybody I know in the Senate — everybody — is in favor of maintaining coverage for preexisting conditions,” McConnell told reporters in the Capitol. “There is no difference in opinion about that whatsoever.”
Insurers are less than pleased with a court’s decision that they are not owed billions of dollars from the government under the health law’s risk corridors program. The program was designed to entice insurers into the marketplace with promises of covering their financial risk. But the panel said the government doesn’t have to pay insurers the money because Congress had taken action — after the health law’s passage — requiring the program to be budget neutral year after year. Insurers complain the rug was pulled out from under them.
The big dogs in the insurance industry are slowly inching toward a model where they could deny emergency room claims — and hospitals, doctors and lawmakers are all livid imagining a world where patients worry about whether their visits are going to be covered before seeking emergency care. The companies, though, argue that unnecessary ER visits are a huge factor in driving up medical costs. They’re not wrong, but the subject has always been taboo before.
CRISPR is so hot right now it even spawned a (canceled) TV show. But a report that found genes edited by the technology could essentially be cancer “ticking time bombs” sent stocks spiraling this week.
Lawmakers are gearing up to consider a whopping 57 measures in an opioid package that is sure to win both Democrats and Republicans political points — conveniently just before the midterms. But advocates say the bills may still fall short of what’s needed to battle the country’s epidemic.
And in the miscellaneous file this week: A report confirms that sexual harassment is rampant in the academic sciences (“Most of that harassment is not the Harvey Weinstein harassment. It’s the everyday put-downs, and exclusions and belittlings,” said one woman); an ALS scientist who was diagnosed with the disease after he started researching it says he finds reason to live by helping others fight the condition that has ravaged his body; a nationwide survey reports that the kids are not all right, with sadness and hopelessness on the rise in teens (they’re also drinking less milk for what it’s worth); and how being black in America can deeply affect your health.
As you’re planning your weekend, you should probably know the oft-touted Mediterranean diet report has been retracted as flawed. But if you’re a fish, olive oil and nuts person, don’t worry, experts still think the diet is beneficial to heart health. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here worrying about my DNA’s digital footprint.KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.
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