RealClearHealth Morning Scan -- 01/08/2016

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Ill. Court Rules Against Hospital Tax Breaks
Lisa Schencker, MH
An Illinois appeals court has ruled that a law defining what not-for-profit hospitals have to do to get tax breaks is unconstitutional. The ruling is yet another setback for not-for-profit hospitals, which have come under increased scrutiny in recent years over their tax exemptions.

2016 Health Law Enrollment Tops 11.3M
Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News
More than 11.3 million people have enrolled in private health insurance for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act, surpassing last year’s mark and the 10.5 million goal that the Obama administration set for the year, federal officials said Thursday.

Administration Optimistic About Health Plan Goal
Robert Pear, NYT
About 8.6 million people have signed up or been automatically re-enrolled in the 38 states that use, the website for the federal insurance marketplace, federal officials said. In states running their own exchanges, 2.7 million people have signed up.

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Young Adult Sign-Ups Disappoint
Stephanie Armour, Wall Street Journal
The Obama administration so far is making little progress in getting more young adults to sign up for health policies on the federal insurance exchange, according to figures released Thursday.

GOP Lacks a Clear Obamacare Replacement Plan
Sarah Ferris, The Hill
The GOP has failed to put forward a full Obamacare replacement plan, a significant political liability in an election year that stands to permanently cement the law.

House Likely to Avoid Votes on Big Issues
Sherman & Bresnahan, Politico
Senior House Republican aides and lawmakers say they do not plan to hold votes on many of the agenda items the party plans to unveil — such as a health care plan to replace Obamacare, or tax reform — because of a tight legislative calendar over the next few months and the reality that none of the bills would be signed by the president, anyway.

Not Enough Proof That Cancer Screening Works
Alice Park, Time
In an analysis published in the BMJ, researchers say that there has never been the proper, solid scientific evidence to prove that screening for most common cancers, including breast and prostate cancers, can save lives.

Controversy Over Opioid Prescribing Guidelines
Judy Foreman, WBUR
The CDC recently come out with controversial proposed guidelines for opioid prescribing through a process that critics say may harm pain patients, has been shrouded in secrecy and has been controlled by a group of physician-activists called PROP, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.

Dental Group Defends Mercury Fillings
Greg Gordon, McClatchy
For decades, the American Dental Association has resolutely defended the safety of mercury fillings in the teeth of more than 100 million Americans, even muzzling dentists who dared to warn patients that such fillings might make them sick.

Donations of Organs Set Records in Some Areas
Joe Smydo, Pitt. P-G
Parts of the country had record levels of organ donation last year, raising hope that a national transplant system with growing waiting lists is moving beyond the stagnant donation levels of the past decade.

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