The Health News USA January 25 2018

  • A new study shows that poor families have benefited the most from Obamacare, spending less on both out-of-pocket care and health insurance premiums. On the other hand, higher-income families have seen their out-of-pocket costs decline but their premiums increase, the researchers found. But provisions that help curb insurance costs phase out as income increases, leaving higher-income families with no help in the face of rising premiums. It all depends on where your family’s income lands in relation to the Federal Poverty Limit (FPL).
  • Vermont became the 9th U.S. state and 3rd in the Northeast to legalize recreational marijuana use on Monday when Republican Governor Phil Scott signed a bill passed by the legislature earlier this month. The law legalizes possession of up to 1 ounce of the drug, two mature plants and up to four immature plants by people 21 and older beginning on July 1. It does not legalize trade in the drug.
  • Musician Tom Petty died of an accidental drug overdose of several medications, a statement from his family, posted on tompetty.com, and a news release from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner said.The family statement, which also was posted on Facebook, said Petty, 66, had suffered several ailments before his October 2 death. The medical examiner’s news release said the autopsy found these drugs in Petty’s system: fentanyl, oxycodone, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, which are opioids; temazepam and alprazolam, which are sedatives; and citalopram, an antidepressant.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th of January 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2018-01-22/obamacare-helping-poor-families-the-most

A new study shows that poor families have benefited the most from Obamacare, spending less on both out-of-pocket care and health insurance premiums. On the other hand, higher-income families have seen their out-of-pocket costs decline but their premiums increase, the researchers found. Lead researcher Doctor Anna Goldman, a clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School said that the results show that the Affordable Care Act’s provisions reduced health care expenses for the poorest Americans.

But provisions that help curb insurance costs phase out as income increases, leaving higher-income families with no help in the face of rising premiums. It all depends on where your family’s income lands in relation to the Federal Poverty Limit (or FPL). Those families earning one hundred thirty eight percent or less of the FPL got the most benefit, while those making more than four hundred percent of the FPL saw their health expenses rise the most.

A family of four earning thirty two thousand seven hundred eighteen dollars a year is at one hundred thirty eight percent of the FPL, while the same family earning ninety eight thousand four hundred is at four hundred percent of the FPL.
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The difference in Obamacare’s impact on family finances can be seen when out-of-pocket and premium spending is combined and compared across income levels. The researchers found that low-income families paid an estimated one hundred fifty eight dollars less annually for health care, a decrease of sixteen percent. At the same time, the higher-income families paid two hundred eighty dollars more a year for health care, an increase of about eight percent.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vermont-marijuana/vermont-becomes-ninth-u-s-state-to-legalize-marijuana-idUSKBN1FB2VU

Vermont became the ninth U.S. state and third in the Northeast to legalize recreational marijuana use on Monday when Republican Governor Phil Scott signed a bill passed by the legislature earlier this month. The law legalizes possession of up to one ounce of the drug, two mature plants and up to four immature plants by people twenty one and older beginning on July one. It does not legalize trade in the drug.
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Scott noted that he had vetoed an earlier version of the bill that would have opened up sales of the drug, saying that a state commission would have time for further study before allowing a retail trade in recreational pot. Neighboring Massachusetts, nearby Maine and six other states have legalized marijuana use as a result of voter initiatives.
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Vermont is the first state to take this step by an act of the legislature, rather than as a ballot initiative. While it is one of the most politically liberal states, it is also one of twenty three in the nation that do not allow ballot initiatives.

Possession of small amounts of the drug had already been a civil, rather than criminal, violation in Vermont.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/19/health/tom-petty-cause-of-death/index.html

Musician Tom Petty died of an accidental drug overdose of several medications, a statement from his family, posted on tompetty.com, and a news release from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner said.The family statement, which also was posted on Facebook, said Petty, age sixty six, had suffered several ailments before his October two death.

….
The medical examiner’s news release said the autopsy found these drugs in Petty’s system: fentanyl, oxycodone, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, which are opioids; temazepam and alprazolam, which are sedatives; and citalopram, an antidepressant. It said that the cause of death was “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity” and the manner of death was “accident,” the medical examiner’s news release said.

Acetyl fentanyl has not been approved for medical use in the United States and there are no published studies on safety for human use. It is classified as a schedule one drug. Fentanyl, a powerful prescription painkiller, has created a national health crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that of the more than sixty four thousand US overdose deaths in two thousand sixteen from all drugs, more than twenty thousand were attributed to synthetic opioids, many of them related to fentanyl and its variations. Fentanyl has previously struck the music world. Prince died of an overdose of the drug at his home in two thousand sixteen.

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