What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), January 12, 2018
What Caught Our Eye is our week-in-review blog series, where we recap the cancer policy articles, studies, and stories that caught our attention.

Affordable Care Act

“Trump’s secret plan to scrap Obamacare”

By Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico.comEarly last year as an Obamacare repeal bill was flailing in the House, top Trump administration officials showed select House conservatives a secret road map of how they planned to gut the health law using executive authority. The March 23 document, which had not been public until now, reveals that while the effort to scrap Obamacare often looked chaotic, top officials had actually developed an elaborate plan to undermine the law — regardless of whether Congress repealed it.
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Coping With Cancer

“Resolutions of a Cancer Doctor”

By Mikkael A. Sekeres, MD, New York Times WellMy mom was given a diagnosis of lung cancer this past year. And whether I liked it or not, almost midway through my career, it put me squarely in the position of being re-educated about cancer from the other end of the biopsy needle. It also gave me the opportunity to approach my patients with a new resolve in the coming year.
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“Two Dying Memoirists Wrote Bestsellers About their Final Days. Then their Spouses Fell in Love”

By Nora Krug, Washington Post“When Breath Becomes Air,” Paul Kalanithi’s memoir of his final years as he faced lung cancer at age 37 was published posthumously, in 2016, to critical acclaim and commercial success. “The Bright Hour,” Nina Rigg’s memoir of her final years as she faced breast cancer at age 39, was published posthumously, in 2017 to critical acclaim and commercial success. The two books were mentioned together in numerous reviews, lists and conversations.

Perhaps less inevitable was that the late authors’ spouses would end up together, too. “I’m still surprised,” said Lucy Kalanithi of her relationship with Nina Riggs’s widower, John Duberstein. “I’m surprised by how ridiculous it is and how natural it is at the same time.”
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Health Care News

“Trump administration opens door to states imposing Medicaid work requirements”

By Amy Goldstein, Washington PostThe Trump administration issued guidance to states on Thursday that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this fundamental piece of the nation’s social safety net.
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“The price of extending CHIP is now so low it saves the government money”

By Sarah Kliff, Vox.comExtending the Children’s Health Insurance Program’s budget for an additional decade would save the federal government $6 billion, according to new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. CHIP’s funding expired 103 days ago, on September 30. For months now, negotiations in Congress have stalled over how to pay for the program that covers 9 million low- and middle-income children. Republicans proposed a series of deeply partisan spending cuts to cover the costs of extending CHIP, such as slashing Obamacare programs and Medicare.
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Cancer News

“BRCA mutations don’t hurt breast cancer survival”

By Maggie Fox, NBC NewsWomen who have BRCA mutations do just as well after treatment for breast cancer as other patients, British researchers reported Thursday. It’s good news for people with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that raise their risk of cancer. If they get cancer and have standard treatment, they live as long as breast cancer patients without the mutation.
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“The Cancer Death Rate has Dropped Again. Here’s Why.”

By Laurie McGinley, Washington PostThe nation’s overall cancer death rate declined 1.7 percent in 2015, the latest indication of steady, long-term progress against the disease, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society. Over nearly a quarter-century, the mortality rate has fallen 26 percent, resulting in almost 2.4 million fewer deaths than if peak rates had continued.
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“Too Many Older Patients Get Screenings”

By Liz Szabo, New York Times…Such screening – and the resulting ‘overdiagnosis’ of cancers in people who are unlikely to benefit – is epidemic in the United States, a result of medical culture, aggressive awareness campaigns and financial incentives to doctors.
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