KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Viewpoints: Expanding Abortion Restrictions; Lift The Ban On Gay Blood Donors; Medicare’s Price Schedules

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Women's Health At Stake In 2014
What's going on in Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa ought to be a wake-up call to Minnesotans who prefer that physicians, not politicians, guide an individual's medical care. Minnesota's neighbors have moved with alarming alacrity to cripple women's access to a safe and legal medical procedure — abortion (7/18).

NBC News: Ease US Blood Supply Shortage By Lifting Gay Donor Ban
The United States is facing a health care crisis. Our supply of blood is dangerously low. The American Red Cross reports that across the nation blood donations were down an estimated 10 percent in June -- about 50,000 fewer donations than in May. In the face of a blood supply shortage that is bad and likely to get worse, there is a group of people -- gay men -- who might ease the situation, if only they were allowed to help (Art Caplan, 7/17).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: As Whooping Cough Returns, Trust Science, Not Opinion
People who listen to bogus science and deny facts from legitimate scientific studies are pushing an agenda that a wise parent should back away from. In fact, backing away is too slow. Turn and run. ... It comes down to this: Who would you rather get medical advice from — Jenny McCarthy, former nude model turned childhood development expert, or the Journal of Pediatrics? Ms. McCarthy is convinced that her son’s autism is linked to childhood vaccinations. But in April, pediatric researchers published a study that looked at nearly 1,000 children and concluded that exposure to vaccines during the first two years of life was not associated with an increased risk of developing autism (7/19).

Forbes: Why Medicare Is A Crummy Business Partner
Medicare unveiled a series of regulations this month that make annual adjustments to various price schedules that set out what the program pays providers. The proposals confirm why the agency makes for such a crummy business partner. The new rates will hit some healthcare businesses with cuts of as much as 25%. If the reductions stand, it will throw some providers over a proverbial cliff, disrupting their businesses and ultimately impacting patient care (Scott Gottlieb, 7/18).

Los Angeles Times: Genetic Screening: Every Newborn A Patient
This year marks the 50th anniversary of routine newborn screening in the United States. Since 1963, tens of millions of babies have had blood drawn from their heels to be tested for rare diseases. The program has unquestionably prevented tragedies. ... But routine screening is now being expanded in ways that demand scrutiny (Stefan Timmermans, 7/19).

Los Angeles Times: New York Mayor Bloomberg May Also Cure Dementia
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his latest health initiative this week: He's banning elevators! OK, not really. But he did say he was planning to introduce legislation that would inspire New Yorkers to take the stairs by making staircases in buildings more accessible. As with all of Bloomberg’s noble health-conscious initiatives, which have included banning trans-fats and trying to curb super-sized, nutrition-less sodas, the announcement was met with a contingent of eye-rolls (Alexandra Le Tellier, 7/18).

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