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Latest Morning Briefing Stories

How Scientists Decide When A Vaccine’s Risks Outweigh The Number Of People It Will Help

KHN Morning Briefing

While the debate is theoretical, scientists can weigh possible risks versus the lives they know the vaccine will save. But a recent example of a controversial drug is throwing the issue into the global spotlight in a very real way. In other public health news: clinical trials and ethics; decoding a baby’s DNA; home health care workers and infection rates; a new type of self-harm in teenagers; and more.

Declining Opioid Prescription Rates Show That Drumbeat Of Alarm Over Crisis Is Producing Results

KHN Morning Briefing

But some advocates are now worried that patients with chronic pain are being undertreated. Meanwhile, NIH wants to conduct research on fentanyl, but the nationwide law-enforcement crackdown on opioid abuse means scientists are having a hard time getting permission to get samples of the illegal products they need to study. And the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on improving Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that cope with the effects of substance abuse.

Drugmakers Were Set To Team Up With NIH On Massive Opioid Study But Officials Are Pumping The Brakes

KHN Morning Briefing

In an abrupt shift, the National Institutes of Health said it won’t take money from the pharmaceutical industry, and will instead fund the study exclusively through taxpayer dollars. In other news on the crisis: a look at the U.S. Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps, a 6,500-strong group of health experts fighting the epidemic; how the surgeon general’s advice for Americans to carry naloxone will play out; more states are taking the fight against drugmakers to the courts; and more.

More Consumers Rolling Dice And Going With Bare Bones Plans As Substitute For ACA Coverage

KHN Morning Briefing

Most people who are going with the fixed indemnity plans — which aren’t considered true insurance under the health law — are healthy and willing to bet they won’t be hit with high medical bills anytime soon. Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill have introduced a public option plan that, though it has almost no chance of passing at the moment, reinforces the party’s push toward more universal coverage.