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Kaiser Health News

KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Biden Doubles Down On Obamacare

Presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a health plan intended to provide a more moderate alternative to his competitors’ “Medicare for All” plans. It would build on the Affordable Care Act but would go much further. Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times, Joanne Kenen of Politico and Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss this, plus Planned Parenthood’s very bad week, the U.S. House vote to repeal the health law’s “Cadillac tax” on generous health plans, and the reduction in deaths from opioids.

Different Takes: Lessons On The Differences, If Any, Between Biden, Sanders On Health Care; Medicaid’s Future Needs To Be Front And Center In The Ongoing Discussions

Editorial pages focus on the debate about the future of health care.

Viewpoints: Safe-Store Practices For Guns Would End Many Tragic, Unintentional Shootings; States Need To Ensure Opioid Settlements Go Toward Public Health

Opinion writers weigh in on these and other public health issues.

State Highlights: Lead Paint Suppliers Settle Decades-Long Battle With California For $305M; Lawmakers Call For Increased Scrutiny Over Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Program

Media outlets report on news from California, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona, Wisconsin and New Hampshire.

Research Roundup: E-Cigarettes; Surgical Safety; And Health Care Affordability

Each week, KHN compiles a selection of recently released health policy studies and briefs.

Dealing With The Loneliness Epidemic: ‘Tea With Strangers’ Group Is Latest Experiment To Bring People Together

To fight isolation, a health problem that a former surgeon general said can be as debilitating as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, several groups are working to create in-person connections. A group started by one former lonely heart in San Francisco invites strangers to talk over tea and has caught on in more than a dozen other cities. Public health news also focuses on: higher rates of memory loss reported among LGBTQ Americans; winners and fairness issues; sleep-tracking devices; drugs that bring on memory loss in older adults; Netflix's decision to re-edit "13 Reasons Why"; critics of "Neuralink'; coping with the heat wave; a new way to diagnose pancreatic cancer; why STI's are more common; mosquitoes; ticks in unsightly places; and more.

Mothers Separated From Children At Border To Sue Trump Administration: ‘To Have Us Separated Was An Injustice.”

Lawyers for the families are set to argue that the U.S. government intended to inflict emotional distress on them. They plan to make that assertion under a law that allows individuals to sue the U.S. government for negligence and misconduct. “The government clearly intended to inflict emotional distress,'' said Erik Walsh, a lawyer with the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Arnold & Porter. News on the border crisis also looks at: how an asylum ban could worsen overcrowding; many teens in Florida released to families; and an agent's alleged harassment of a mother, as well.

‘You Work … And You Really Pay The Price’: How Middle-Class Americans Are Bearing Brunt Of High Deductible Revolution

While wealthy Americans have been able to weather increasing costs, and the Affordable Care Act helps those on Medicaid afford coverage, the middle class is at a loss. The families have health insurance, but they can't afford care. The divide is creating ever-deepening resentment, especially toward those who receive government help.

People Keep Using Car Sticker Analogy To Argue For Drug Price Transparency. Here’s Why The Comparison Doesn’t Work.

The common comparison of having increased transparency in drug pricing to forcing car companies to add sticker prices is flawed because it overstates the usefulness of the knowledge by implying that patients have much more power to act — to shop around or negotiate — than they actually do. In other pharmaceutical news: lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill, money for a biotech firm, and a CBO projection on the Senate's drug pricing bill.

Planned Parenthood Chief’s Ouster Raises Question: In This Landscape, Can Group Really Steer Away From Abortion Wars?

Interviews with staffers suggest there were managerial problems beneath Dr. Leana Wen's tenure. But the former chief's departure also highlights an organization at a philosophical crossroads. Where Wen wanted to treat abortion less as a war and more as a health care issue, other leaders in the organization see an aggressive leader as necessary in this time of crisis. Meanwhile, cracks are appearing in the anti-abortion movement, as well, even as members rack up victories.
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