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Daily Archives: December 4, 2013

Youth suicide attempts associated with mental health problems later in life

People who attempt suicide under age 24 appear to have an increased risk of developing mental health and social problems into midlife, according to a study by Sidra Goldman-Mellor, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., and colleagues. Since the onset of the global recession, suicidal behavior has increased.

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Clinical trial tests insecticide-treated underwear to ward off body lice in shelters

Providing insecticide-treated underwear to people in homeless shelters was effective in eliminating body lice infestations, but the effect did not last and resistance to insecticide resistance increased, according to the results of a clinical trial by Samir Benkouiten, M.P.H., of Aix Marseille Université, France, and colleagues. Body lice are contagious and can be spread through body contact, shared clothing, shared bedding and overcrowded conditions.

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Brain 'wired differently' in men and women

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found striking differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired. In one brain region, women have more connections between left and right hemispheres, and men within hemispheres, while in another brain region, it is the other way around.Researchers say the differences may explain, for example, why on average men are better at learning and performing single tasks, such as cycling or navigating, while women tend to be better at multitasking and problem-solving in group situations.

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Male contraceptive pill 'possible in next 10 years'

Scientists say a new male contraceptive could be available within the next 10 years, after they have discovered a way to block sperm transportation following ejaculation. This is according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The researchers, led by Dr. Sab Ventura and Dr.

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New candy eats 'bad' bacteria in the mouth, benefitting teeth

Our mouths are a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When we clean our teeth, the aim is to knock out cavity-causing bacteria, while allowing beneficial oral bacteria to thrive. Now, researchers have developed a sugar-free candy, which contains dead bacteria that bind to bad bacteria, potentially reducing cavities.The importance of good oral health has been emphasized by doctors for years. Poor oral health has been linked to many conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease to pancreatic cancer, not to mention cardiovascular disease.

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3rd International Summit on GMP, GCP & Quality Control, September 25-26, 2014, Valencia, Spain

OMICS group take the immense pleasure in inviting you to the 3rd International Summit on GMP, GCP & Quality Control. The conference is going to be held at Valencia, Spain, from September 25-26, 2014. This year the annual conference will provide an A to Z perspective of the pharmaceutical production process from API to formulated product. The performance of the pharmaceutical production cannot be improved significantly if you do not look at it holistically. The main theme of the conference is “Manufacturing and Quality Guidelines; Training and Beyond”.

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White House Advances Health Law Defense, Urges People To Sign Up

The goal is to boost enrollment figures and reframe the debate with Republican opponents.

The Washington Post: Obama Embarks On New Health-Care Push After Web Site Fixes, Urges Americans To Sign Up
President Obama on Tuesday embarked on the difficult task of persuading Americans to reconsider his landmark health-care law after its botched launch, imploring people to sign up as part of a major push to publicize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans immediately lampooned the effort — coming more than three years after passage of the law and two months after its disastrous rollout — and conservative activists vowed to wage a counterassault publicizing the law’s downsides (Goldfarb and Eilperin, 12/3).

Politico: W.H. Kicks Off Turnaround Campaign On Obamacare
President Barack Obama, confident that HealthCare.gov is finally working, attempted Tuesday to shift the nation’s attention toward Affordable Care Act benefits that he says were overshadowed by website problems at a critical time for the law. The president’s brief speech marked the start of the White House’s latest messaging push, a three-week campaign that aims to boost anemic enrollment figures and put Republicans on the defensive after Obamacare’s embarrassing rollout (Millman and Epstein, 12/4).

Politico: White House Turns To Bully Pulpit For ACA Turnaround
The White House launched three weeks of Affordable Care Act promotion in what it promises will be one of Obama’s most extensive, consistent messaging efforts in office. The first event was low-key — a short, quiet, decidedly non-rally-like appearance in a White House complex auditorium (Dovere and Allen, 12/3).

The New York Times: Obama To Defend Health Law As Economic Benefit
President Obama leaves the White House on Wednesday for one of the capital’s most struggling neighborhoods to talk about the economy, not simply to divert attention from his troubled Affordable Care Act but to explain how that law, for all of its flaws, fits into his vision for Americans’ economic security and upward mobility (Calmes, 12/4).

The New York Times: Obama Urges Focus On Health Care Law’s Benefits
In brief remarks at the White House, the president began what aides described as a weekslong effort to move on from the negative stories of the botched HealthCare.gov rollout. Mr. Obama again conceded the problems but said critics who contended that the law had failed were wrong (Shear, 12/3).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Declares Health Care Law Is Working
Seeking to regroup from his health care law’s disastrous rollout, President Barack Obama on Tuesday insisted that the sweeping overhaul is working and warned Republican critics that he would fight any efforts to strip away its protections. “We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,” Obama said during a health care event at the White House. “If I have to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do” (12/3).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Acts To Defend Obamacare And Democrats From GOP Attacks
Two turbulent months into the launch of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace, President Obama moved to defend the law against Republican attacks Tuesday as the administration tried to deflect attention from the federal website’s botched rollout. The White House’s renewed effort to tout the law has two aims: to encourage Americans to sign up for coverage and to reassure nervous Democratic lawmakers and other allies who have watched Obama’s so-far unsuccessful efforts to contain the political damage (Hennessey and Parsons, 12/3).

Bloomberg: Obama Seeks To Salvage Health Law Support With New Focus
President Barack Obama, seeking to halt the erosion in public support for his health-care law, is using the power of his office to try to change the conversation.  After struggling for two months to fix the federal online insurance exchange at the core of the law, Obama yesterday began what aides say will be a three-week campaign to use his bully pulpit to regain momentum for his signature domestic initiative (Dorning, 12/4).

Reuters: Obama Urges Americans Not Be Discouraged By Rocky Healthcare Rollout
President Barack Obama urged Americans not to be discouraged by the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov on Tuesday and vowed to fix whatever glitches remain as he sought to restore confidence in his leadership. Obama used a speech at the White House to address criticisms of the law and accuse his Republican opponents of attempting to gain politically from the problems surrounding his central domestic policy achievement (12/3).

NBC News: Obama On Affordable Care Act: ‘We’re Not Repealing It As Long As I’m President’
President Barack Obama said his signature health care reform law is going nowhere as long as he’s in office, and he’ll spend the remainder of his presidency fighting to make it work if necessary. “Do not let the initial problems with the website discourage you, because it’s working better now, and it’s just going to keep on working better over time,” Obama said at an event at the White House intended to promote the health law and its benefits. “If I’ve got to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do,” he defiantly added later (O’Brien, 12/3).

The Washington Post: For Obama, Enrolling Under The Health-Care Law Was Inevitable
Unlike members of Congress, President Obama is not obligated to sign up for a plan under his signature health-care law. But from a political perspective, the president has little choice but to opt for either the federal or state health insurance exchange by the end of the year. The White House had announced in March 2010 that the president would enroll in an exchange in response to a political gambit by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley (Iowa), who proposed an amendment to the law that would have required Obama to buy a plan through the exchanges (Eilperin, 12/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Fight Pivots Toward Midterms
The fight between the political parties to shape public opinion of the 2010 health-care law is entering a new phase that looks beyond the problems of the enrollment website, amid signs that the law’s rocky rollout has damaged Democratic prospects for the next election. President Barack Obama, who spent weeks shouldering the blame for the troubled rollout, said Tuesday the HealthCare.gov website “is working well for the vast majority of users” and used the moment to try to hit the reset button on the administration’s effort to persuade people to sign up for insurance (Nelson, O’Connor and Hughes, 12/3).

And the GOP’s counter-offensive –

McClatchy: GOP House Leaders Rip Obamacare, Pledge ‘Patient-Driven’ System
Republicans tried to get out in front on health care Tuesday, hours before President Barack Obama was to launch a new defense of the program at the White House. House of Representatives Republican leaders ripped the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Caif., urged a “patient-driven health care system, not a government-driven health care system.” So, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was asked at a news conference, what does that mean? (Lightman, 12/3). 

Politico: New Obamacare Weapon For GOP: Doctors
Get ready for the next line of attack from the GOP on Obamacare: good luck keeping your doctor. As other controversies surrounding the law begin to fade, House Republicans are increasingly focused on President Barack Obama’s pledge that “if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor.” They’re hoping to replicate the uproar over canceled insurance plans, which has caused problems for millions of consumers nationwide and political headaches for Democrats (Kim and Haberkorn, 12/3).

In addition, the New York Times examines who in the administration might be held accountable for the troubles so far –

The New York Times: Considering Which Head Or Heads May Roll For A Troubled Website Rollout
White House officials, asserting that the HealthCare.gov website is largely fixed, are under mounting pressure from Democrats and close allies to hold senior-level people accountable for the botched rollout of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement and to determine who should be fired. For weeks, the president and his aides have said they are not interested in conducting a witch hunt in the middle of the effort to rescue the website. But in the West Wing, the desire for an explanation about how an administration that prides itself on competence bungled so badly remains an urgent mission (Shear, 12/3).

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Today's Administration Pro-Obamacare Theme To Focus On 18-35 Year Olds

Meanwhile, a new poll looks into how ‘young invincibles’ feel about buying insurance while a second measures public thoughts on paying the fine instead of getting coverage.

The Hill: Obama To Pitch Health Law To Young Activists
President Obama will address a gathering of 18-35 year old activists Wednesday at the White House Youth Summit, the latest in an intensifying push to sell his signature healthcare law. Obama has placed a particular emphasis on recruiting young, healthy consumers to purchase insurance (Sink,ಌ/3).

Los Angeles Times: Obama To Urge ‘Young Invincibles’ To Buy Health Insurance
Wednesday’s youth summit at the White House — and the evening Google chat with White House advisors David Simas and Kal Penn to reach a wider audience — will offer Obama a chance to reengage young people, a White House official said, and the president will make brief remarks. … So far, the picture has been mixed. Polls show demand for health insurance among younger adults is strong, but federal officials have not released demographic data showing what percentage of sign-ups fell within the 18 to 34 age group (Reston, 12/3).

CBS News: 40 Percent Of People Under 30 Would Move For Better Health Insurance
More than 40 percent of Americans under the age of 30 say they would consider relocating if it meant access to better and/or less-expensive health insurance, according to a new study. While teens and Ǵ-somethings are the age group usually most willing to move in general, the survey by Bankrate.com also found that 28 percent of all Americans, no matter the age, would consider moving to a new state or county if it improved their coverage or made it less expensive (Von Hoffman, 12/3).

Politico: Poll: 28% Would Rather Pay Fine
More than a quarter of uninsured Americans say they are more likely to pay the fine than sign up for Obamacare before the deadline, a new poll shows. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed say they will likely pay the fine, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday’s number that has remained consistent despite the approaching enrollment deadline in March (McCalmont, 12/4).

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Viewpoints: Why Can't Health Website Be Like Amazon?; Debunking GOP's Resistance To Medicaid

The Wall Street Journal: Obama And The ‘Amazon Experience’
For an “Amazon-like” experience, it isn’t enough to have a website that functions on the front end, the back end and in between. … You also need an Amazon-like culture, which is the product of other Amazon-like realities. Such as: Jeff Bezos as the boss, demanding results and innovation from his employees, providing results and satisfaction for his customers and shareholders. So how does Barack Obama’s management style measure up to Mr. Bezos’s? Let’s compare (Bret Stephens, 12/2).

The New York Times: The Conscience Of A Liberal: Unacceptable Realities
On both the healthcare and inflation fronts, what you have to conclude is that there are a large number of people who find reality — the reality that governments are actually pretty good at providing health insurance, that fiat money can be a useful tool of economic management rather than the road to socialist disaster — just unacceptable. I think that in both cases it has to do with the underlying desire to see market outcomes as moral imperatives (Paul Krugman, 12/3).

The Wall Street Journal: Low-Information Leadership
Everyone understands in their own rough way that ObamaCare is a big mess. And that it’s not the website, it’s the law itself. … It’s a leader’s job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that’s a conservative leader’s job. It is a liberal leader’s job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful. And this president wasn’t (Peggy Noonan, 12/3).

The New York Times: The Real Health Care Distraction?
In the last few weeks it’s been trendy, in Republican circles, to claim that anything Democrats do or say unrelated to the Affordable Care Act is a ploy to “distract” attention away from the problematic HealthCare.gov rollout. (Really, anything: filibuster reform or a diplomatic breakthrough with Iran.) In his speech today defending the law, President Obama seemed to try to take back that narrative, suggesting that all the attention paid to the glitchy rollout is the real distraction — from the fact that the law’s working, the status quo ante was terrible, and that his political opponents have never offered a viable alternative (Juliet Lapidos, 12/3).

Los Angeles Times: Debunking The Anti-Obamacare Camp’s Attack On Medicaid
If Congress were really concerned about the “indignity” of Americans on Medicaid, nothing’s stopping lawmakers from upgrading the reimbursement rate or even shifting all those people to the subsidies available to other lower-income Americans on the ACA. … It’s also worth noting that of the 25 state governments that have refused to expand Medicaid to cover more of their citizens (all Republicans), not a single one has claimed to be doing so because they don’t think Medicaid is good enough — their chosen alternative is no health insurance at all for people living at 138% of the poverty line or below (Michael Hiltzik, 12/3).

Los Angeles Times: For Obama, It’s All About Obamacare
President Obama’s speech Tuesday announced the relaunch of his healthcare program’s website. But he was also aiming to relaunch his entire second term, which has careened from high ambition to near-catastrophe in less thanಋ months. Until his signature healthcare program is running smoothly, Obama stands little chance of focusing Congress on any of the other goals of his once-ambitious second-term agenda, including immigration reform and addressing the nation’s infrastructure needs (Doyle McManus, 12/4).

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Cannot Rely On Ire At Obama To Last
For the GOP, continuing glitches in the online delivery system for the new national healthcare market reinforce the argument that the Obama administration has tried to do too much, too fast without really understanding the enormity of the job. That is the upside for Republicans. The downside is that there is obviously a demand for the product Obamacare is trying to deliver and, by the time the election rolls around, millions of voters may have forgotten the website bugs. Instead, they may be pleased that healthcare coverage is no longer out of reach for them and they will not want to see it taken away by a Republican Congress (David Horsey, 12/3).

The Washington Post: The GOP’s Toxic Messaging
As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying — and its weapons are of superior grade. The bunker buster is positive messaging and a return to hope and change (Kathleen Parker, 12/3).

The Washington Post’s The Plum Line: Medicaid Expansion Becomes Weapon Against GOP Governors
It’s widely accepted as an article of faith that Obamacare will be uniformly bad politics for Dems in 2014. After all, the rollout is a disaster and majorities disapprove of the law, so how could it possibly be any other way, right? Here’s something that counter-programs that narrative a bit: Democrats are currently using a major pillar of the health law — the Medicaid expansion — as a weapon against Republican Governors in multiple 2014 races (Greg Sargent, 12/3).

The Washington Post’s Post Partisan: Health Care Reemerges As A Normal Issue
For years now, we’ve thought about Obamacare in terms of whether it would pass, and then whether or not it would actually be implemented. That fight is over. … That doesn’t mean that health care won’t be an issue. Expect, for example, Republicans to eventually fight over subsidy levels (and, perhaps, both parties to try to refashion subsidies to avoid perverse incentives on earnings). Expect, too, Republicans to eventually try to reduce ACA-connected taxes (Jonathan Bernstein, 12/3).

Bloomberg: Nobody Should Get Rich Off Obamacare
For an industry that’s supposed to be burdened by the launch of Obamacare, the health-care business is doing pretty well. Stocks of health-care companies are up almost 40 percent this year, the strongest performance of any sector in the S&P 500. This is despite, for insurers, new regulations on the “medical loss ratio” which require them to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on health care — in practice, capping their profits and administrative expenses such as advertising at 20 percent (Evan Soltas, 12/3).

And on other issues —

Los Angeles Times: ACLU Sues Catholic Bishops Over View That Abortion Is Evil
Everyone knows that Catholic hospitals don’t perform elective abortions. Incomprehensibly, Catholic hospitals even fall afoul of the church if they perform an abortion to save a mother’s life. But are they negligent if they fail to merely inform a pregnant woman that abortion is the safest option when her health is in danger and her fetus faces certain death? And that if she wants an abortion, she should seek help elsewhere? (Robin Abcarian, 12/3).

The Washington Post: Eradicating AIDS
On March 24, 1987, the activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) gathered in front of Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City for its first ever demonstration. … When ACT UP took to the streets three decades ago, AIDS was a death sentence. … Today, that is no longer the case. We have cutting-edge drugs that keep people alive. We have evidence-based models for prevention. We have global awareness of the epidemic. What we lack is the political will and compassion to reach out to the most marginalized among us and make sure that they have equal access to prevention and care. Ending AIDS is no longer a matter of science — it’s a matter of justice (Katrina vanden Heuvel, 12/3).

USA Today: Obama’s Disappointing Surgeon General
In all the talk about the relaunch of HealthCare.gov, Americans might have missed President Obama’s nomination of Vivek Hallegere Murthy to be our next surgeon general. With the nomination of the self-described “passionate entrepreneur” — a 36-year-old part-time physician and full-time businessman — to be “America’s Doctor,” Obama has upendeded the tradition of promoting those who have focused their careers on healing, teaching and research (Dr. Bruce L. Davidson,ಌ/3).

Bloomberg: Cloudy, With a Chance of Flu 
Researchers, at last, have come up with a flu-forecasting system that works like the weather report. If used well, the information could mobilize health measures when and where they are needed. Many lives are at stake: Flu kills from 3,000 to 49,000 people in the U.S. every year. … The next step is for public health authorities to use the information. Ensuring sufficient stocks of vaccines and anti-flu treatments would prevent the kind of shortages that hit some communities last year (12/3). 

Bloomberg: The Failed Promise of 23andMe
Genetics is more complex than scientists imagined. … This hasn’t prevented companies such as 23andMe Inc. from selling direct-to-consumer genetic testing, with claims that it offers beneficial health information. Debates about the information these companies are providing boiled over last week after the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring that medications, medical devices and tests are safe and effective, sent a letter to 23andMe, demanding that the company stop selling its $99 genetic test kit…. Given the stakes involved, the FDA should take stronger action to protect consumers from the risks associated with direct-to-consumer testing (Robert Klitzman, 12Ǚ). 

 

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Political Cartoon: 'Disappoint & Click?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with “Disappoint & Click?” by Steve Kelley.

Here’s today’s health policy haiku:  

WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER?

The Fighting Irish
want health law to take a hike.
A Hail Mary pass?
-Anonymous 

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please send it to us at http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/ContactUs.aspx and let us know if you want to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story. 

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