Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Is Surgery For Prostate Cancer Necessary? It Depends On How Advanced It Is, Study Finds

KHN Morning Briefing

Prostate cancer is the No. 2 cause of cancer death in men. Removing the prostate can add 3 years to the life of a man who has a tumor that is lethal, the research says, but active surveillance might be a better option for less aggressive cancer and spares men the consequences of surgery. Other news on cancer focuses on obesity, co-existing conditions and the safety of robot-assisted surgeries.

For Therapeutic Clowns, Silliness Is Serious Business

KHN Morning Briefing

A quest to find out if therapeutic clowns were really helping disabled children who could not respond to their antics leads to an exploration of those kids’ silent worlds. In other public health news: gene-editing, eczema and suicide, Zika, dirty air, tampons, salmonella, diabetes, and more.

Gottlieb’s Idea To Help Lower Insulin Prices By Encouraging Competition Doesn’t Impress Industry Experts

KHN Morning Briefing

“The starting point is very different for insulin,” said Andrew Mulcahy, a policy researcher. “Will more competitors help bring down prices further? Yes, but it’s starting off from a place where there is already some of that price competition.” Meanwhile, lawmakers in Minnesota, where some diabetics say they are rationing insulin, consider price controls due to the high costs.

Quietly Simmering Feud Over Fetal Tissue Research Is Reaching Its Boiling Point

KHN Morning Briefing

The Trump administration back in September launched an audit over all government-funded fetal tissue research, citing “serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations.” The decision recently affected a lab that has played a key role in testing antiviral drugs to treat HIV infection, highlighting the far-reaching ramifications of the debate.

Industry Wants The Delay Of Health Law Taxes To Be Tucked Into Year-End Funding Deal, But Dems Are Resistant

KHN Morning Briefing

“You always want to take advantage of the moment, and I think we’re in the moment,” said Scott Whitaker, CEO of AdvaMed, a lobbying group for medical device companies. Meanwhile, Republican governors are joining the push to get Congress to delay the three taxes — medical device tax, health insurance tax, and tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health plans — as well.

McDonald’s Moves To Cut Back On Antibiotics In Beef By 2020

KHN Morning Briefing

Health experts hailed the announcement as an attempt to help reduce antibiotic resistance in humans, a public health issue that has lead McDonald’s and other fast food providers to eliminate the use of antibiotic-fed chickens. In other food safety news, Jimmy Dean sausage is recalled in 21 states.

New $125 Million Immunology Research Unit Sprang From Personal Quest Of Paul Allen

KHN Morning Briefing

The Allen Institute announced the new unit Wednesday, three months after Paul Allen died of septic shock stemming from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other public health news focuses on Islam and organ donations; reactions to the CRIPR babies; vitamin treatments for sepsis; the continuing short supply of Shingrix; and the high costs of animal attacks.

Investigators Uncover Trove Of Photos Of Unclothed Women In Former USC Gynecologist’s Storage Unit

KHN Morning Briefing

The police have been investigating Dr. George Tyndall as part of what is believed to be the largest sex crimes investigation involving an individual in LAPD history. Hundreds of current and former USC students have made allegations against Tyndall’s behavior while performing medical examinations. In October, USC agreed to settle a federal class-action suit on behalf of Tyndall’s patients for $215 million.

For Those Who Have Had Dramatic Overdose Videos And Photos Aired To Public, Life Will Never Be The Same

KHN Morning Briefing

One trend that’s emerged in the opioid epidemic is both the public and police departments releasing footage or photos of people who are experiencing some of the bleakest moments in their lives. The views on such videos can total in the millions, and some argue it’s beneficial, but for those in the videos it can change their lives forever–not necessarily for the better. Meanwhile, experts wonder if fentanyl could become a weapon of mass destruction to be used against the United States, and the maker of an anti-overdose drug overs a generic of a fraction of the price.

Hospitals, Insurers And Other Health Groups Find Common Ground Criticizing Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Policy

KHN Morning Briefing

Hundreds of thousands of public opinions poured in about the policy during the open comment period, which closed Monday. The “public charge” rule would allow federal immigration officials to consider legal immigrants’ use of Medicaid, nutrition, housing and other programs as a strongly negative factor in their applications for legal permanent residency. Many health groups wrote in to say the policy would take both a financial and public health toll on vulnerable populations.

On Capitol Hill: Medicare For All; Lowering Health Care Costs; Maternal Mortality Rates; And More

KHN Morning Briefing

Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the expected incoming House Ways and Means chairman, signaled his willingness to hold hearings on “Medicare for all,” a popular priority for many progressive lawmakers in the party. Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, health care costs are in the spotlight, as well as a bill aimed at reversing the country’s maternal mortality rates.

Millions Of Americans Are Eligible For Free Coverage Through Health Law Plans, Study Finds

KHN Morning Briefing

Part of the reason so many people are eligible for plans under which they would pay $0 in premiums is because President Donald Trump eliminated key health law payments last year. This had the unintended effect of increasing financial assistance to many Americans. Meanwhile, although the enrollment numbers have been dragging this year, the federal health law site did experience a surge after former President Barack Obama encouraged people to sign up.

Baby Boomers Are Aging Alone More Than Any Generation In U.S. History, And It’s Creating A Looming Public Health Crisis

KHN Morning Briefing

Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive. In other aging news: exercise, strengthening your brain, and poverty.