What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), January 19, 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

“Obamacare didn’t get repealed — so why did the uninsured rate still go up?”

By Sarah Kliff, Vox.comThe uninsured rate went up in 2017, new Gallup data shows — the first time this has happened since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion took effect.

This works out to an estimated 3.2 million fewer Americans having health insurance last year than did in 2016.
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“Individual Mandate Now Gone, G.O.P. Targets the One for Employers”

By Robert Pear, New York TimesHaving wiped out the requirement for people to have health insurance, Republicans in Congress are taking aim at a new target: the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that employers offer coverage to employees.

And many employers are cheering the effort.
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Health and Cancer Policy

“What The Health Will Happen In 2018?”

Kaiser Health News’ What the Health? PodcastCongress is at the precipice of shutting down the government, unless lawmakers can quickly agree on another short-term spending bill. And this time, the Children’s Health Insurance Program is caught in the crosshairs. Republicans are offering six years of funding for CHIP as an enticement for Democratic votes on the spending bill, but Democrats are still balking because they want the bill to include protections for undocumented individuals brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were children.

Meanwhile, with the help of the Trump administration, states are looking at other ways to change the Medicaid program besides work requirements.
Listen to the episode »

“How To Tell Grandpa He Is Too Old For Another Colonoscopy”

By Peter Ubel, ForbesCancer screening can save lives: Mammographies reduce the chance women will die of breast cancer; and colonoscopies reduce the chance people will die of colon cancer.

But should my 93-year-old father receive a screening colonoscopy? The test is uncomfortable, carries risks, and costs money. Even more importantly, my dad probably won’t live long enough to benefit from the test. That’s why most medical experts think people like my dad—people unlikely to live another decade—should not receive cancer screening tests like colonoscopies. But how in the heck is my dad’s doctor supposed to deliver this news to him?
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“Fed Up with Drug Companies, Hospitals Decide to Start Their Own”

By Reed Abelson & Katie Thomas, New York TimesFor years, hospital executives have expressed frustration when essential drugs like heart medicines have become scarce, or when prices have skyrocketed because investors manipulated the market.

Now, some of the country’s largest hospital systems are taking an aggressive step to combat the problem: They plan to go into the drug business themselves, in a move that appears to be the first on this scale.
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“Hate Paperwork? Medicaid Recipients Will Be Drowning In It”

By Margot Sanger-Katz, New York TimesIn 2003, Washington State was facing a budget crisis and wanted to reduce spending on Medicaid. Instead of requiring people to establish their eligibility annually, the legislature began requiring them to do so twice a year, and added some paperwork. It worked: Enrollment in the health insurance program fell by more than 40,000 children in a year.

In the early 2000s, Louisiana wanted to maximize the number of eligible children who signed up for coverage, so officials simplified the sign-up process. It also worked: Enrollment surged, and the number of administrative cancellations fell by 20 percentage points.
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Coping with Cancer

“Sex After Cancer”

By Susan Gubar, New York Times Well BlogAt diagnosis, quite a few cancer patients spy Eros rushing out the door. I know I did. For some, eroticism vanishes during or after treatment. Anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, can afflict both men and women with cancer. We often get more help from one another than from the medical specialists who are beginning to address this challenge.
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