First Edition: June 29, 2016

Jun 29 2016 Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations. Kaiser Health News: Will Louisiana’s Medicaid Expansion Be A Harbinger For Georgia?Georgia Health News’ Andy Miller, in partnership with KHN, reports: “Louisiana and Georgia have many political similarities. Both states face significant health challenges affecting their populations. And until recently, both states had …

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Could Environmental Chemicals Shape Our Exercise Habits?

Photo Credit Getty Images A disquieting new study finds that mice exposed prenatally to a common chemical found in many cosmetics and personal care products are less likely than other mice to exercise as adults, adding a new wrinkle to the mystery of exercise motivation. Although mice obviously are not people, the findings at least …

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Will Louisiana’s Medicaid Expansion Be A Harbinger For Georgia?

Louisiana and Georgia have many political similarities. Both states face significant health challenges affecting their populations. And until recently, both states had identical approaches to Medicaid expansion. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, has rejected expansion since he took office in 2011, and GOP lawmakers have repeatedly backed him up. They point to concerns about the …

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Old Motels Get New Life Helping Homeless Heal

Just up the freeway from Disneyland, in the Orange County city of Buena Park, Paul Leon stood outside the beat-up remnant of a seedy motel. Above him, a faded pink sign advertised the Coral Motel, whose rooms back in its prime cost 35 bucks a night. “This particular motel was going to be taken back by …

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HHS Proposes To Streamline Medicare Appeals Process

The Department of Health and Human Services Tuesday proposed key changes in the Medicare appeals process to help reduce the backlog of more than 700,000 cases. The measures “will help us get a leg up on this problem,” said Nancy Griswold, chief law judge of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals. If there was …

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‘Digital Health’ Not Just For Well-Heeled Fitness Fiends

When we hear the phrase “digital health,” we might think about our Fitbit, the healthy eating app on our smartphone, or maybe a new way to email our doctor. But Fitbits aren’t particularly useful if you’re homeless, and the nutrition app won’t mean much to someone who struggles to pay for groceries. Same for emailing …

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Dean Karnazes Runs the Silk Road

Photo Dean Karnazes is planning a 12-day running journey following the ancient Silk Road through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.Credit One Wednesday, Dean Karnazes, an American ultramarathon runner, will begin a 12-day, 326-mile run along the Silk Road, part of an ancient trade route through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. He’s doing it as part of the …

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With Cataracts, My Own Private Light Show

Photo Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen at night.Credit April O’Hare Over the past three years I’ve been plagued by one of the common curses of aging: cataracts. During that time my vision gradually deteriorated, as the normally transparent natural lenses of my eyes became increasingly opaque, going from a gentle soft focus, to gauzy, …

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Viewpoints: GOP Health Plan Light On Care; Teaching Doctors; Vaccine Prices

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. Bloomberg: Republicans’ Health-Care Plan: Not Much Care, Not Much PlanRepublicans’ long-promised health-care plan has arrived — though it’s light on the health care and offers too little detail to tell whether it’s a realistic plan. Many aspects of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposal are …

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Views On Justices’ Decision On Abortion: ‘Major Victory’; ‘Misogyny In Action’

News outlets provided a variety of views about the Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down key provisions in a Texas abortion law. The New York Times: A Major Victory For Abortion RightsIn the most significant victory in a generation for a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, the Supreme Court on Monday …

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State Highlights: Ill. Weighs In On Aetna-Humana Merger; Allina Proposes New Terms To Minn. Nurses; Calif. Hits HIV Targets Early

Outlets report on health news from Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Wyoming and Texas. Reuters: Illinois Insurance Regulator Approves Aetna Purchase Of HumanaThe Illinois Department of Insurance has approved Aetna Inc’s proposed $34 billion acquisition of Humana Inc provided it is approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to an order dated June 23 …

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Public Health Roundup: Experts Debate Cancer ‘Moonshot;’ Best Time To Induce At 39 Weeks?

News outlets also report on developments related to end-of-life care, a family hit by the same heart ailment, excercise guidelines for kids, digital tools helping seniors cope with loneliness and the fallout from lax medical research. Stat: Health Experts Offer Their Support For — And Skepticism Of — The Cancer MoonshotThe National Cancer Moonshot Summit, …

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Prescribing Take-Home Antidote Along With Opioids Reduces ER Visits, Study Finds

Patients who legally use opioids to manage chronic pain may not realize they’re in danger of an overdose. “We’re prescribing naloxone for risky drugs, not risky patients,” said lead researcher Dr. Phillip Coffin of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. In other news, medical schools are rethinking their training on opioids, a once-a-month injection …

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Mining Prescription Data Helps Pharmacy Benefit Managers Identify Costs Savings

Companies like OptumRx, CVS Health and Express Scripts are using troves of data to help their clients control drug expenses. In other pharmaceutical news, AstraZeneca uses a rare children’s condition to argue that its best-selling anti-cholesterol medicine Crestor should be protected from generic competition. Bloomberg: Pharmacy Managers Unleash Big DataHistorically, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have …

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Hospital Bills Spike 37% For Patients With Private Insurance: Study

Average out-of-pocket costs rise to over $1,000 per hospital stay, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Los Angeles Times: Patients Pay A Higher Share Of Hospital Bills, Study FindsPatients, even those with employer-sponsored health plans, may face another condition after they are discharged from a hospital stay: acute sticker shock. Out-of-pocket hospitalization …

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With Louisiana Medicaid Expansion, Released Inmates Offered A Lifeline

Without access to health care, many inmates often ended up back in prison. But although the Medicaid expansion offers this vulnerable population hope, many questions remain as the the July 1 expansion nears. USA Today: Louisiana, The U.S. Incarceration Capital, Prepares For Expanded MedicaidHere in the state that imprisons more of its citizens per capita …

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States Offer Privacy Protections To Young Adults On Their Parents’ Health Plan

The health law opened the door for millions of young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26. But there’s a downside to remaining on the family plan. Chances are that mom or dad, as policyholder, will get a notice from the insurer every time the grown-up kid gets medical care, …

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California Drug Price Measure Fiercely Opposed By Pharmaceutical Industry

Drugmakers are waging a fierce campaign against a proposed California law that would require them to justify the costs of their treatments and disclose major price hikes. The bill has widespread support of health care providers, insurers, patients, labor and business groups. But the pharmaceutical industry is behind scathing social media messaging, warning that passage …

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Doctors Wrestle With Mixed Messages When Deciding Whether To Prescribe Painkillers

Steve Diaz, an emergency medicine doctor at Augusta’s MaineGeneral Health, says he knows what patients want when they come to him in pain. Drugs. And preferably strong ones. “The only thing they think of is, ‘Do I get a pill?’” he said. And with abuse of prescription painkillers like OxyContin, methadone and Percocet soaring, the …

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Why Thunder and Fireworks Make Dogs Anxious

Photo Allene Anderson said her foster dog, Wrigley, a golden retriever, quaked for hours after a storm.Credit NYTCREDIT: Whitten Sabbatini for The New York Times It is entirely possible that no one dreads the dog days of summer more than dogs themselves. Sodden heat gathers itself into sudden barrages of pounding thunder, crackling lightning and …

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