Health Beat 7.9.13
Transforming Health | 07.09.13
Health Beat is our weekly roundup of important healthcare, wellness and research news from around the web. Explore our previous roundups here.
Delay For Insurance Mandate Pleases Businesses (NPR)
The Obama administration announced that it would postpone requirement for employers with 50 plus workers to offer health coverage or risk fines. This move raises eyebrows about the administration's ability to get the health reform law up and running in an orderly fashion, and whether they’ll meet the October 1st deadline for the opening of the health insurance exchanges.
For A Year, Consumers Will Be On The Honor System For Health Law Subsidies (Kaiser Health News)
A delay in the employer mandate leads to a scale back on verification rules on enrollees' income and health status.
Test-Driving The Obamacare Software (NPR)
Many compare the health law sign-up software to travel-booking sites like Expedia or Travelocity. But, it may be closer to a TurboTax experience, in which the program guides the user through more complex requirements and choices.
How To Make Disease Prevention An Easier Sell (NPR)
The American health system is designed to fix acute problems, but dealing with chronic issues, like diabetes and obesity, proves t be a challenge. That’s’ why many are urging for more preventive measures, to reduce the risks. But prevention just hasn’t taken hold. This article is a leading medical thinker's take on why, and how to fix things.
Should Nurse Practitioners Be Able to Treat Patients Without Physician Oversight? (Wall Street Journal)
Health care is facing a worrisome shortage of primary-care physicians, especially in rural areas. Many fear that the problem will be exacerbated by an increase in patients seeking care under the Affordable Care Act. Could nurse practitioners be a solution to the shortage?
Obamacare requires most insurers to tackle obesity (USA Today)
Screening and counseling for obesity is covered under a preventive services benefit of the Affordable Care Act, but what health plans offer patients varies.
A Label Calls Attention to Obesity (NY Times)
Obesity-related health issues cost the nation over $150 billion each year. And, it’s predicted that if the obesity issue isn’t dealt with, over half of adults in America will be obese by 2040. The A.M.A. has said in effect that it is medicine’s responsibility to provide the knowledge and tools needed to curb this runaway epidemic. That’s why it has designated obesity as a disease instead of a disorder, hoping to re-focus much-needed attention on this epidemic in order to make significant change.
A Surge In Painkiller Overdoses Among Women (NPR)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that women are more likely to experience chronic pain, and will search for a doctor who will prescribe them pain pills.
Autism May Start In The Gut, Study Finds (Huffington Post)
A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, reveals that the gut bacteria of autistic children is vastly different than that of typical children. Researchers believe that if they can bring their gut bacteria into line with a typical child, they can greatly improve treatment of autistic kids.
"One of the reasons we started addressing this topic is the fact that autistic children have a lot of GI problems that can last into adulthood," study author Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, PhD, a researcher with Arizona State University, said in a statement. "Studies have shown that when we manage these problems, their behavior improves dramatically."
When Lyme Disease Lasts and Lasts (NY Times)
Often misdiagnosed and mistreated, chronic Lyme disease leaves thousands of people physically and mentally debilitated and without a medically established recourse.
Government-run websites do a better job protecting sensitive health information than commercial sites.
Who's Watching When You Look For Health Information Online? (NPR)
A brief survey published online by JAMA Internal Medicine looked at how 20 health-related websites track visitors- from the National Institutes of Health to the online health news section of The New York Times. They discovered that the government-run websites do a better job protecting sensitive health information than many news and commercial sites.
Developers creating apps to treat mental health issues (Boston Globe)
A simple, free, web game called “DepressionQuest” takes players on a deeply realistic first-person journey through making choices for the character about work, friends, and family. The game offers options for dealing with depression, such as seeking therapy or medication, or reaching out to friends.
The game developer wanted sufferers of depression to know they’re not alone and to offer an illustration about what depression is like for those who haven’t experienced depression. The developer said, “Games require a certain degree of empathy — from the nature of the interaction, immersing yourself in the experience. The world of games is changing. It’s not just Mario or Call of Duty.”
The hope is that someday, a game like this one, might be a hands-on tool used to supplement therapy sessions.
What the New USDA Rules for Healthier School Snacks Mean for Schools (TIME)
As soon as next year, schools across the country will have to provide low fat, low sodium snacks in vending machines, thanks to the USDA’s Smart Snacks in School standards.
The federal agency’s standards, required by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, limits vending machine snacks to 200 calories per item, and sodas and sports drinks sold in high schools to 60 calories or less in a 12-ounce serving.
Elementary and middle schools can sell water, 100% fruit or vegetable juice and low-fat or fat-free milk.
Pepsi Still Contains Too Much Carcinogen Found In Caramel Coloring, Group Says (Huffington Post)
An environmental group said that the caramel coloring used in Pepsi still contains a worrisome level of a carcinogen, even after the drink maker said it would change its formula after California passed a law in March mandating drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens come with a cancer warning label.
And, some recent news on pregnancy costs:
Getting Insurance to Pay for Midwives (NY Times)
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