The Health News USA November 17 2017

  • More than 800,000 people signed up for Obamacare individual health insurance plans in the second week of open enrollment, U.S. government health officials said on Wednesday, bringing the total number of sign-ups to nearly 1.5 million so far. The Congressional Budget Office has forecast that 11 million people will buy plans in 2018, 1 million more than were enrolled in 2017.
  • A study shows that suicide rates among teenagers have risen along with their ownership of smartphones and use of social media, suggesting a disturbing link between technology and teen self-harm. Citing federal data and two nationally representative surveys of more than 500,000 adolescents, researchers found a strong correlation between the time teens began using smartphones a decade ago and a sharp rise in reports of serious mental health issues.
  • According to a new report, Medicare, the crown jewel of the U.S. healthcare system, looks pretty tarnished when compared to what other countries offer seniors.  Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund interviewed nearly 23,000 people 65 and older in eleven countries to see what kind of medical care they get. The survey indicates that Medicare might not improve much on what Americans already have – expensive health care that works well for people who need clear-cut medical procedures, but not so well for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, asthma or heart disease.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 17th of November 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-healthcare-enrollment/nearly-1-5-million-people-signed-up-for-obamacare-plans-so-far-officials-idUSKBN1DF27A

More than eight hundred thousand people signed up for Obamacare individual health insurance plans in the second week of open enrollment, U.S. government health officials said on Wednesday, bringing the total number of sign-ups to nearly one point five million so far.
There is particular scrutiny of how Affordable Care Act programs are faring after a year in which President Donald Trump has sought to undermine Obamacare, especially after his fellow Republicans in Congress failed to pass legislation to repeal and replace the law.

More people have signed up for Obamacare plans in the first two weeks of two thousand eighteen open enrollment than in the same time period last year, and the sign-ups include about three hundred fifty five thousand new consumers, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But the Trump administration halved the two thousand eighteen open enrollment period to six weeks, slashed the Obamacare advertising budget by ninety percent and cut funding for groups that help people enroll in Obamacare insurance, so it is still unclear whether there will be the same level of participation as in years past. The Congressional Budget Office has forecast that eleven million people will buy plans in two thousand eighteen, one million more than were enrolled in two thousand seventeen.
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Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan have said they will try again next year to repeal the law, which has extended health insurance coverage to twenty million more Americans but which has long been seen by Republicans as costly government overreach. The Senate this week added a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance or else pay a penalty, to its version of an overhaul of the U.S. tax code that is working its way through Congress.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/nov/14/teen-suicides-rise-with-smartphone-social-media-us/

A study shows that suicide rates among teenagers have risen along with their ownership of smartphones and use of social media, suggesting a disturbing link between technology and teen self-harm. Citing federal data and two nationally representative surveys of more than five hundred thousand adolescents, researchers found a strong correlation between the time teens began using smartphones a decade ago and a sharp rise in reports of serious mental health issues. From two thousand ten to two thousand fifteen, a record number of teenagers were reporting depressive symptoms and overloading mental health clinics, while suicide rates climbed for the first time in decades, said psychologist Jean Twenge, lead author of the study, which was published Tuesday in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.

Miss Twenge, who teaches psychology at San Diego State University, said the most striking finding was the correlation between the large amount of time teenagers spend on smartphones and their depressive thoughts and suicidal actions.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/medicare-s-great-u-s-standards-compared-others-not-so-n821226

According to a new report, Medicare, the crown jewel of the U.S. healthcare system, looks pretty tarnished when compared to what other countries offer seniors.  Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund interviewed nearly twenty three thousand people sixty five and older in eleven countries to see what kind of medical care they get. Robin Osborn, vice president of the Commonwealth Fund said: “Overall, U.S. seniors are worse off than their counterparts in the other ten nations. In the Netherlands, ninety percent of doctors make house calls to the elderly.”

The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation, does regular research comparing the U.S. healthcare system to those in other countries and routinely finds people in the U.S. pay far more per person for care, while being sicker on average – and are more unhappy about it.
The team decided to look at Medicare, which is overwhelmingly popular among voters and which is the main source of health insurance for fifty five million people sixty five and over.

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It all sounds familiar to Doctor Peter Lipson, an internal medicine specialist in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Many Americans may not understand that Medicare is not free, Lipson added. Its many different offerings are difficult to navigate. Some experts and politicians have pressed for a “Medicare for all” program to repair the U.S. healthcare system, which is currently a mishmash of private health insurance, public insurance like Medicare and Medicaid, and out-of-pocket payments.

The survey indicates that Medicare might not improve much on what Americans already have – expensive health care that works well for people who need clear-cut medical procedures, but not so well for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, asthma or heart disease.
The U.S. has the sickest patients, the Commonwealth team reported in the journal Health Affairs. The survey found forty three percent of Americans on Medicare are “high needs”, compared to twenty four percent in Norway, New Zealand and Sweden, thirty three percent in Canada and thirty nine percent in Australia. Nearly a third of the sickest U.S. seniors said they skipped care because of costs, compared to only two percent in Sweden. Healthier seniors also passed on medical care.

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