Should-Reads Of The Week From Brianna Labuskes

Pleased Friday! And Pleased Valentine’s Day, the place we at KHN have compiled a few of the greatest #HealthPolicyValentines from Twitter (this appears the appropriate group for that degree of wonkiness!). Take a look at some nice ones, like this from Laura Marston:

“One vial every week
Retains me alive
Used to price $20
Now it’s $275.”

Now on to equally enjoyable issues, like budgets!

President Donald Trump launched his proposed funds this week with solely the vaguest of a well being care plan talked about. A thriller pot of $844 billion signaled deep cuts to Medicaid and subsidies below the well being legislation. Particularly, an obscure passage referred to “ending the monetary bias that presently favors able-bodied working-age adults over the really weak.” Critics have been scratching their heads how the launched funds aligned with Trump’s promise to guard individuals’s protection. “You may’t lower $1 trillion from these applications and shield probably the most weak,” stated Aviva Aron-Dine of the Heart on Finances and Coverage Priorities.

The Associated Press: Mystery $844B Pot in Trump Budget Signals Medicaid Cuts

The funds additionally requires an virtually 16% lower to the CDC (sure, the company dealing with the coronavirus outbreak). However high officers say that’s as a result of the administration needs the CDC to slim its focus to its core mission of stopping and controlling infectious illnesses and dealing with public well being crises.

The Washington Post: Trump Budget Cuts Funding for Health, Science, Environment Agencies

Trump additionally needs to chop the funds for the Nationwide Institutes of Well being by 6.5%. (Sure, that will have an effect on the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, which is engaged on a vaccine for the coronavirus.)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Proposes $4.8 Trillion Budget, With Cuts to Safety Nets

One other odd little nugget within the funds: Trump needs to strip the FDA of its authority over tobacco merchandise and create an company inside HHS solely for that function.

Stat: Trump Doesn’t Want the FDA to Regulate Tobacco

For a full breakdown of the funds’s particulars, try our roundup here.


This week, the coronavirus pressure obtained an official identify, which is — drum roll, please —COVID-19. Though the announcement most likely set off celebrations amongst scientists and researchers who’ve been pushed up a wall as a result of everybody has been merely calling it “coronavirus,” I’m right here to report {that a} day into its official designation 95% of headlines are stilling utilizing solely the generic time period.

— It’s, nevertheless, essential to notice that WHO officers have been cautious to not identify the illness after a specific area or individuals in order to keep away from additional stigmatization surrounding any outbreaks.

Time: What’s in a Name? Why WHO’s Formal Name for the New Coronavirus Disease Matters

— Because the loss of life toll climbs in China, officers have expanded their “wartime” marketing campaign to spherical up all of the individuals who could also be contaminated. However, as you possibly can think about, that isn’t going completely. Not solely is it stoking tensions amongst an indignant and scared nation whose residents aren’t pleased with how the federal government is dealing with the disaster, but in addition it’s thrusting individuals who haven’t even examined constructive for the virus into conditions the place they change into weak to an infection.

The New York Times: China Expands Chaotic Dragnet in Coronavirus Crackdown

— Readers of The Friday Breeze know I’ve been harping on the truth that our nationwide consideration has been targeted on COVID-19 despite the fact that we now have solely 15 (non-fatal) confirmed instances of it right here and the widespread flu is way extra lethal to us. Nicely, there’s a psychological foundation for why we are likely to panic over issues that statistically are unlikely to have an effect on us. Just about we may be horrible at precisely assessing threat.

The New York Times: Coronavirus ‘Hits All the Hot Buttons’ for How We Misjudge Risk

— It was a little bit of a roller-coaster week with information popping out of China. At first, it appeared the instances have been slowing down, however then the diagnostic standards have been tweaked, and abruptly we had practically 15,000 instances added in a single night time.

The New York Times: Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore.

— CDC Director Robert Redfield stated that the USA is basically making an attempt to purchase time with its containment technique, however it’s fairly possible there’ll ultimately be person-to-person transmission of the virus right here. (Which suggests individuals aside from evacuees from Wuhan will begin getting it.)

Stat: CDC Director: More Person-To-Person Coronavirus Infections in U.S. Likely

— And you’ll see how simply that would occur, given a U.S. evacuee was mistakenly launched from the hospital despite the fact that she was contaminated with the coronavirus.

CNN: First US Evacuee Infected With Coronavirus Was Mistakenly Released From Hospital

— In an replace from the cruise from h-e-double-hockey-sticks: Tensions proceed to rise together with COVID-19 instances among the many passengers and crew of a ship quarantined off the coast of Japan. As one well being official stated this week: Bear in mind, quarantines are to maintain these outdoors of its boundaries protected, not these inside.

The New York Times: Quarantined Cruise Passengers Have Many Questions. Japan Has Few Answers.

— WHO has been heaping reward on China for its response to the disaster. And whereas different specialists acknowledge the group is within the tenuous place of not desirous to anger China sufficient that they break off relations, critics say the extreme compliments are setting a nasty precedent about what a superb pandemic response appears to be like like.

The Wall Street Journal: The World Health Organization Draws Flak for Coronavirus Response

— In the meantime, the coronavirus analysis filed is kind of small. That’s as a result of, regardless of the excitement these sorts of outbreaks create, ultimately the world’s consideration can be caught by a distinct shiny object and each the funding and curiosity in researching the virus will fade.

Stat: Fluctuating Funding and Flagging Interest Hurt Coronavirus Research


Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) obtained their wrists slapped by a strong Nevada union this week for “viciously attacking” members and their households on-line. On the coronary heart of the matter: The union had launched data crucial of Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan. The conflict put Sanders — who denounced any harassment as “unacceptable” — in an ungainly spot simply earlier than the Nevada caucuses subsequent week.

Politico: Nevada Culinary Union Lays Into Sanders Supporters After Health Care Backlash


A brand new survey discovered that even when sufferers plan forward, many are nonetheless hit with shock medical payments, particularly in the event that they obtain anesthesia throughout a process. With well being care spending rising once more (pushed by high costs like the out-of-pocket price tag for an emergency room visit), the report is a reminder that the difficulty is more likely to be high of thoughts with voters come November.

In the meantime, lawmakers effectively conscious of that truth are transferring ahead with laws that will favor an arbitration technique for coping with the shock prices. This technique is favored by hospitals and suppliers, and never embraced by insurers.

Reuters: Surprise Surgery Bills Happen Even When Patients Plan Ahead

Modern Healthcare: House Committee Advances Provider-Friendly Surprise Billing Fix


In somewhat little bit of breaking information, a federal appellate courtroom simply shut down CMS’ approval of Arkansas’ Medicaid work requirement. The panel upheld a lower-court ruling that discovered the necessities arbitrary and capricious.

Modern Healthcare: D.C. Circuit Nixes Arkansas Medicaid Work Requirement


Juul has vowed again and again that it hasn’t marketed its merchandise to youngsters. However new revelations from a Massachusetts lawsuit that the vaping firm purchased adverts on Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Community are difficult these guarantees.

The New York Times: Juul Bought Ads Appearing on Cartoon Network and Other Youth Sites, Suit Claims


The VA isn’t any stranger to controversy, however the newest bout comes at a nasty time for the company. The abrupt firing of the company’s well-liked undersecretary together with allegations that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie sought to dig up dust on a girl after she stated she was sexually assaulted at a VA facility have shaken the company simply as it’s getting ready to launch an formidable well being plan.

The New York Times: Veterans Affairs, a Trump Signature Issue, Is Facing Turmoil Again

In the meantime, Trump continued to downplay mind accidents sustained by troops from an Iran missile strike even because the variety of instances jumped previous 100.

The New York Times: More Than 100 Troops Have Brain Injuries From Iran Missile Strike, Pentagon Says


Within the miscellaneous file for the week:

— It’s notoriously arduous to get any gun measures handed … besides these advocates appear to be having some success. Their technique? Go hyper-local.

NBC News: How Moms Are Quietly Passing Gun Safety Policy Through School Boards

— What’s occurring with the Equal Rights Modification and why has it change into a combat over abortion? Politico takes a deep dive into its historical past about how the battle across the modification has shifted within the practically 40 years because it was launched.

Politico: How the Debate Over the ERA Became a Fight Over Abortion

— New dad and mom keen to raised steadiness household and work life in the one industrialized nation on the planet and not using a paid household go away coverage have began bringing their infants to their workplaces.

Stateline: You Can Bring Your Baby to Work (But Wouldn’t You Rather Be at Home?)

— In one other crushing disappointment, an Alzheimer’s drug that had sparked excessive hopes was the newest to fail to stay as much as expectations.

The Associated Press: Drugs Fail to Slow Decline in Inherited Alzheimer’s Disease


That’s it from me. And bear in mind, in case you ever really feel like flexing your poetic muscle tissues outdoors of Valentine’s Day, we settle for haiku submissions year-round. Have a terrific weekend!

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