Latest Morning Briefing Stories

U.S. Coronavirus Count Has Ticked Up To 5, But Experts Say You Really Shouldn’t Be Panicking

KHN Morning Briefing

The total number of confirmed cases in the United States now sits at five. But experts say it’s unlikely Americans are in any real danger right now. “Don’t panic unless you’re paid to panic,” said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist. “Public health workers should be on the lookout. The government should be ready to provide resources. … But for everyone else: Breathe.”

On Same Day As March For Life, Trump Threatens California Over Requirement That Private Insurers Cover Abortion

KHN Morning Briefing

President Donald Trump cemented his relationship with the anti-abortion movement when he became the first sitting president to speak in person at the annual March for Life last week. On the same day, his administration announced that it would give California 30 days to lift a requirement that insurers cover abortion or that federal funds would be cut off from the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom dismissed the threat.

Insys Founder Sentenced To 5.5 Years In Prison For Scheme That Involved Bribing Doctors To Prescribe Opioids

KHN Morning Briefing

Federal prosecutors have said that Insys, based in Arizona, embarked on an intensive marketing plan — including paying doctors for sham educational talks and luring others with lap dances — to sell its under-the-tongue fentanyl spray, Subsys, which was federally approved to treat patients with cancer. Meanwhile, McKesson has reached a settlement with its investors over allegations it missed suspicious opioid shipments.

EPA Chips Away At Protections That Could Affect Drinking Water For Millions Of Americans

KHN Morning Briefing

The new rules would remove millions of miles of streams and roughly half the country’s wetlands from federal protection in a win for agriculture, homebuilding, mining, and oil and gas industries. The EPA’s own science advisers cautioned against the regulations. Clean water regulations are “essentially about how you provide drinking water,” said Gina McCarthy, president of the nonpartisan Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is a big-deal issue.”

Study Reveals Long-Lasting, Wide-Ranging Negative Health Effects Of Those Who Have Been In Foster System

KHN Morning Briefing

The analysis is “the latest in a long, long line of studies showing the harm done to children when they are consigned to the chaos of foster care,” said Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. In other public health news: smoking, chronic loneliness, tech and wildfire safety, ancient DNA, a fly’s brain, hospice care, and more.

Wave Of State-Level Bills Restricting Medical Care For Transgender Teens Reignites Polarizing Debate On Issue

KHN Morning Briefing

More than half a dozen states are considering legislation that would penalize doctors for performing certain treatments for transgender patients. The speed and number of state bills has mobilized activists, suicide prevention groups and civil rights organizations. In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a policy statement that recommended giving youths “access to comprehensive gender-affirming and developmentally appropriate health care,” while noting the benefits and risks of using hormones that delay puberty.