The Health News USA September 12 2017

Overview

  • Congress’s failed effort to undo Obamacare this year revealed an important political shift in the United States. Americans are no longer content to let people go without health insurance.
  • The number of heroin users in the United States jumped from 404,000 in 2002 to 948,000 in 2016, a 135% increase.
  • Texas battles post-Harvey health issues. Physician volunteers have been sleeping on the clinic floors as they tend to as many as 90 patients a day. No single entity has authority over health matters in Texas, which has a history of turning away federal funding and has limited Medicaid program.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-09-08/the-ground-has-shifted-on-u-s-health-care

Congress’s failed effort to undo Obamacare this year revealed a very important political shift in the United States. Americans are no longer content to let people go without health insurance. As the Affordable Care Act has taken root, most have come to believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure everyone is covered.Republicans should take note: Another stab at destroying Obamacare is not what voters want. Instead, both parties should dedicate themselves to building on it — and, to that end, work is needed by the end of this month, when insurers are due to sign contracts to sell policies on the state exchanges next year. To be sure, merely shoring up Obamacare won’t bring universal coverage. The law has cut the number of uninsured by half, but twenty six million people remain without coverage, and that number is expected to rise. To eliminate this gap, big new initiatives are needed: automatic enrollment of the uninsured into subsidized, no-frills plans, for example, or state programs that let people buy Medicaid policies.

For the moment, however, it’s essential to keep the ACA functioning. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have argued for dumping Obamacare and starting over, but the most sensible path toward universal coverage is to build on the progress already made toward that goal. The immediate danger is that individual policies sold through state exchanges may be priced out of the market. This threat stems directly from the Trump administration’s efforts to destabilize that market. Each month, the president holds out the possibility that he might refuse to reimburse insurers for lowering some policy holders’ out-of-pocket costs, as the ACA provides. And this is driving insurers to either push up premiums or leave the market altogether.
Congress could counteract the sabotage by expressly appropriating the subsidies, at least through two thousand eighteen.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/08/health/heroin-deaths-samhsa-report/index.html

According to the most recent government data, the number of heroin users in the United States jumped from four hundred four thousand in two thousand two to nine hundred forty eight thousand in two thousand sixteen, a one hundred thirty five percent increase. But even more striking: The number of people who had fatal overdoses related to heroin has skyrocketed from two thousand eighty nine in two thousand two to an estimated thirteen thousand two hundred nineteen in two thousand sixteen — a five hundred thirty three percent jump.

Health and Human Services Secretary Doctor Tom Price said more American lives are lost to drugs than were lost in Vietnam. The US military saw fifty eight thousand casualties during Vietnam; this year, drug overdose deaths are expected to reach an all-time high of seventy one thousand six hundred. “This is unacceptable,” said Price, who was part of a panel that released the latest findings from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s two thousand sixteen National Survey on Drug Use and Health on Thursday.The report wasn’t entirely bad news: The number of people who misused and abused opioids has remained relatively stable since last year. Opioids can include both prescription drugs such as oxycodone as well as illegal drugs like heroin or street fentanyl. The new report states that approximately eleven point eight million Americans misused an opioid in two thousand sixteen. Of those, just eight percent used heroin. The majority misused prescription painkillers, and the main reason wasn’t to get high but to get pain relief.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in America, killing more people than guns or car accidents.
It’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be reversing course.

The CDC is also seeing a trend in overdose deaths related to cocaine, which have increased steadily from over four thousand in two thousand nine to over six thousand seven hundred in two thousand fifteen.

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-harvey/mosquitoes-medicine-mold-texas-battles-post-harvey-health-issues-n799951

Devastated by Harvey’s winds and floodwaters, physician volunteers have been cramming into a trailer and sleeping on the clinic floors as they tend to as many as ninety patients a day. Lara Hamilton describes a similar scene at Christ Clinic in Katy, west of Houston. “We typically see about two hundred patients a week. In the first week we saw triple that,” said Hamilton, a registered nurse who is executive director for the clinic. Volunteer doctors from as far afield as Vermont, Minnesota and Oregon have brought cots and are camped out in the clinic and at other nearby facilities, offering their services as needed.No one single entity has authority over health matters in Texas, which has a history of turning away federal funding and oversight and which has a limited Medicaid program. County health authorities like the one in Harris County take care of issues like mosquitoes, clean water, inspecting restaurants and some vaccinations, but free and charity clinics like Christ Clinic and for-profit operations like Code three struggle in the best of times to fill in the gaps. Now, post-Harvey, they are overwhelmed.

The Harris County Health Department had to debunked rumors that plague was being spread by flood waters. In the day since Harvey hit Texas, the rumor mill hasn’t stopped churning. Officials went on the offensive Monday, debunking several rumors that have been circulating over the weekend.They include masses of mosquitoes, respiratory infections and a dramatic worsening of the day-to-day ills that people could cope with in normal times, but that get out of control in a crisis. Aerial spraying for mosquitoes started this week, said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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