With Eye On High-Stakes Mid-Terms, Republicans Decide To Rein In Ambitious Entitlement Agenda
After a weekend retreat with President Donald Trump, Republicans seem to have narrowed their focus for the year down to the basics. Although House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has previously announced that he'd like to tackle safety-net programs, others in the party have no interest in pursuing such issues during a campaign year.
The Wall Street Journal:
Republicans Scale Down Agenda For Safety-Net Programs, Health Law
Republicans are scaling back their ambitions to overhaul safety-net programs and dismantle the Affordable Care Act following President Donald Trump’s weekend retreat with GOP leaders, due to concerns they can’t muster enough support ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Instead, Republican lawmakers are likely to embrace a slimmed-down agenda focused on the basics, including funding the government, raising the government debt limit and striking a deal on immigration, according to GOP lawmakers and aides. (Peterson and Armour, 1/9)
In other national health care news —
Profit Outlook Brightens For ObamaCare Insurers
The ObamaCare doomsday scenario that many Republicans and Democrats predicted for 2018 is unlikely to come to pass, with insurers having adapted to the uncertainty that marked President Trump’s first year in office. Insurers who decided to stick with ObamaCare after a tumultuous 2017 are likely to have a relatively profitable year, analysts and experts predict, for reasons including higher-than-expected enrollment. (Hellmann, 1/9)
In States That Didn't Expand Medicaid, Hospital Closures Have Spiked
In recent years Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion has created a financial fault line in American health care. Hospitals in states that enacted the expansion got a wave of newly insured patients, while those in states that rejected it were left with large numbers of uninsured individuals. A new study released Monday reports a crucial consequence of that divide: Nonexpansion states have suffered a significant increase in hospital closures. States that expanded benefits, on the other hand, saw their rate of closures decline. (Ross,1/8)
Los Angeles Times:
Why The United States Is 'The Most Dangerous Of Wealthy Nations For A Child To Be Born Into'
It's no surprise that the United States ranks absolutely last in child mortality among the world's wealthiest countries — that's been true for years. A new study examines how this sad situation came to be. According to data from the World Health Organization and the global Human Mortality Database, the problems go all the way back to the 1960s. It was during that decade that the U.S. infant mortality rate (for babies less than a year old) and the U.S. childhood mortality rate (for those between the ages of 1 and 19) began to exceed the combined rates for the other 19 richest nations. (Kaplan, 1/8)
Los Angeles Times:
Banning Seven Words At The CDC Would Have At Least Seven Serious Consequences For Public Health
"It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words," George Orwell writes in the fifth chapter of his dystopian novel, "1984." Four public health experts from Emory University in Atlanta, just a stone's throw from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, beg to differ. In an editorial published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, they said it would be "damning, immoral and unacceptable" for CDC officials to act on reported admonitions from the Trump administration to avoid the use of seven words and phrases in the agency's official budget documents. (Healy, 1/8)
Kaiser Health News:
Her Sister’s Keeper: Caring For A Sibling With Mental Illness
When sisters Jean and Ruby were growing up in Harlem, they invented a game of make-believe called “Eartha.” The little girls would put on their prettiest dresses and shiniest shoes and sit down to tea as grown-up ladies. They discussed details of their hoped-for husbands and children, and all the exciting things they would do together. But 45 years later, the sisters’ lives are nothing like they imagined. Ruby Wilson, 54, has paranoid schizophrenia and lives in an assisted living facility in North Carolina. Her sister Jean Moore, 57, is her legal guardian. (Gold, 1/9)
Dry January: What Are The Benefits? And Is It Worth It?
With the booze-filled December behind us, many Americans will try to make up for their eggnogs, wines and other holiday spirits with Dry January, a 31-day break from all alcohol. The practice gained popularity after a British nonprofit promoted it in 2013, becoming a government-backed public health campaign the next year aimed at improving health, trimming waistlines and fattening wallets. But will putting down the bottles for a month make up for the recent weeks' revelry? Yes and no, according to a smattering of data and experts on the subject. It might depend on your goal. (Hafner, 1/8)