The Health News USA August 19 2017

Overview

  • Health plan officials said that South Dakota residents who buy individual health coverage are facing potential premium hikes next year that could grow if President Donald Trump stops payments that reimburse insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs.
  • According to a new US government report, after years of decline, teen deaths from drug overdoses have inched up. The overdose death rate rose to 3.7 per 100,000 teens in 2015, from 3.1 the previous year. Most of the deaths were accidental and were mainly caused by heroin, researchers found.
  • Texas measures criticized as being discriminatory for limiting transgender people’s access to bathrooms in schools and public buildings died on Tuesday, as the House adjourned and ended its special legislative session.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of August 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-dakota/articles/2017-08-16/south-dakota-insurers-urge-trump-to-make-health-law-payments

South Dakota residents who buy individual health coverage are facing potential premium hikes next year that could grow if President Donald Trump stops payments that reimburse insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs, health plan officials said this week.

Avera Health Plans has requested an average twenty percent rate hike and Sanford Health Plan has asked for an average seven point five percent rate increase for two thousand eighteen, according to HealthCare.gov. Top officials from both companies encouraged the federal government to keep making the payments, saying that premiums could jump even more without them. Avera and Sanford are the only two companies currently filed to offer individual plans in South Dakota through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, according to the state Department of Labor and Regulation. A spokeswoman said South Dakota hasn’t yet approved rates for two thousand eighteen.

Sanford Health Plan President Kirk Zimmer said the company would likely have to recalculate its rates and refile them if the payments are to stop. The two thousand eighteen open enrollment period starts November one.  At issue are the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing payments, totaling about seven billions this year, which reimburse insurers for subsidizing out-of-pocket costs such as copays and deductibles for people with modest incomes. For months, Trump has been raising the prospect of terminating payments as a way to trigger a crisis and get Democrats to negotiate on a health care bill. South Dakota GOP Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds both support continuing the payments while pursuing a health care overhaul.

https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2017-08-16/us-teen-drug-overdose-deaths-inch-up-after-years-of-decline

After years of decline, teen deaths from drug overdoses have inched up, a new U.S. government report shows. The drop in teen deaths had been a rare bright spot in the opioid epidemic that has seen adult overdose deaths surge year after year — fueled by abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and newer drugs like fentanyl.

“This is a warning sign that we need to keep paying attention to what’s happening with young people,” said Katherine Keyes, a Columbia University expert on drug abuse issues who wasn’t part of the study. It’s not clear why teen overdose deaths increased in two thousand fifteen or whether the trend will continue, said lead researcher Sally Curtin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC released the report Wednesday focusing on adolescents aged fifteen to nineteen. The overdose death rate rose to three point seven per one hundred thousand teens in two thousand fifteen, from three point one the previous year. Most of the deaths were accidental and were mainly caused by heroin, researchers found.
Another difference: Unlike adults, overdose deaths in teens have not been climbing every year.
To their surprise, CDC researchers found that teen overdose deaths actually fell after two thousand eight, and dropped as low as about three per one hundred thousand during two thousand twelve through two thousand fourteen. The drop tracks with previously reported declines in teen drug use, smoking, drinking, sex and other risky behaviors, Keyes said. Some experts believe those declines are related to more time spent on smartphones and social media.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-texas-lgbt-idUSKCN1AW038

Texas measures criticized as being discriminatory for limiting transgender people’s access to bathrooms in schools and public buildings died on Tuesday, as the House adjourned and ended its special session. Business leaders and civil rights groups had battled to defeat the bills, saying they advanced bigotry, would tarnish the state’s image and damage its economy. The measures were blocked by moderate House Republicans. Adoption by Texas, the most populous Republican-dominated state, could have fed momentum in other socially conservative states on the issue, a flashpoint in the U.S. culture wars.

Momentum for so-called bathroom bills stalled this year when North Carolina partially repealed a similar law in March. The original law prompted boycotts by athletic bodies and businesses that are estimated to have cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Texas could have lost about five point six billion dollars through two thousand twenty six if it had enacted such a measure, said the Texas Association of Business, the state’s leading employer grouping.

House Speaker Joe Straus, a pro-business Republican who controls the agenda in the chamber, said the issue was not a priority. The measure that advanced the farthest was Senate Bill three, which passed easily on a party-line vote in the Republican-controlled Senate and then died in the House.It would have required people to use restrooms, showers and locker rooms in public schools and other state and local government facilities that match the sex on their birth certificate, as opposed to their gender identity. Supporters, including Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a staunch social conservative, says that this promotes public safety and it protects vulnerable women and children.

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