Health News | AM1460 WIXN
  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The anticipated report from the Congressional Budget Office has shed new light on how the Republicans' American Health Care Act could affect premiums for many in the U.S.The report was released just weeks after Republicans narrowly passed a health bill through the House of Representatives. But Senate Republicans will have to pass their version of the bill and will likely face more questions about its effects after this report.The CBO analyzed the bill as currently written and found it would drastically change health care in the U.S. They estimate the law would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion oven ten years, but also leave 23 million more Americans without health insurance compared to current law.  Additionally the bill would have huge effects on premiums for older Americans and those with health conditions. Here's a break down on how premiums could change:Pre-Existing ConditionsUnder the new law, people with pre-existing conditions cannot be barred from insurance coverage. However, some states could apply for waivers that would allow insurance companies to charge higher premiums for those individuals. States that apply for the waiver would have to implement high-risk insurance pools to accommodate them. But some health care experts are skeptical that high-risk pools would have enough money to fully cover people in need.The CBO found that people with pre-existing conditions could face insurance premiums so high they would be unable to afford coverage."Community-rated premiums would rise over time, and people who are less healthy (including those with preexisting or newly acquired medical conditions) would ultimately be unable to purchase comprehensive non group health insurance at premiums comparable to those under current law, if they could purchase it at all," reads the report.The community rating provision is a way of setting premiums designed to ensure risk is spread evenly across a larger pool. This means that people are charged the same rate regardless of factors like health status. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies may charge different rates for identical plans only on the basis of age, geographic location, the number of people covered and tobacco use, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told ABC News in an earlier interview that without protection from higher premiums, people with pre-existing conditions would likely be priced out of coverage. In the 1990s, she added, people with pre-existing conditions who recently lost their jobs were supposed to be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act from losing or being prevented from obtaining insurance coverage. However, insurance companies charged far higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions."To actually protect someone with pre-existing condition ... they need full protection," Pollitz said. "Otherwise, it's like giving someone half a bulletproof vest."Older People vs. Younger PeopleThe CBO also estimated that older people could see premiums drastically increase; some could face premiums nine times higher than under the current law. This is due in part to the proposed changes to the age ratio and tax credits.Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies may charge an older person no more than three times its premium for a younger person with an identical plan. The new bill would increase the maximum allowable ratio to five to one, which could significantly increase older people's premiums for comparable plans.Additionally, tax credits to help pay for healthcare would change dramatically. While the ACA offers a scale of credits that take into account several factors, including family income, cost of insurance and age, the Trumpcare plan would offer flat tax credits per individual, according to age. The bill outlines tax credits of $2,000 to $14,000 a year for individuals who don’t get ins
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans left their last lunch meeting before a weeklong recess optimistic that they can at least start working on their own version of a health care bill, with something on paper to discuss when they return in June.“I think leadership is going to spend this recess trying to develop a product,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, said. “Now we’ll have a base of a Senate bill based on all these discussions, based on what the House did, based on the CBO score,” he continued, referring to analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which measures the budgetary impact of all legislation.While many lawmakers said there had been enough intra-conference discussions to at least launch Senate leaders and the heads of relevant committees on writing a blueprint, they also made clear there would still be plenty of wrangling among the rank-and-file before anything final emerges.“We’re negotiating. It’s too early,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said.The Republican-led Senate can only afford to lose two of its 52 members and still pass a health care bill. But there are diverse opinions and priorities among that group, and senators are well aware that the legislation must have almost universal appeal.“This exercise happens to be one that involves everybody. We know that. I mean, we don’t have any margin,” Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, a member of Senate leadership, said.He and other senators said they would be spending the Memorial Day recess reviewing the discussions that have been taking place in the Senate over the past few weeks. While all members have been invited to join the meetings, the core group includes the chairmen of the Budget, Finance, and Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees, Senate leadership and a handful of other senators that have met to discuss health care long before the House passed its version of the bill on May 4.“We’ve had a lot of discussions and now the timing is serious about the drafting process and that’ll of course take some time,” Thune said.Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, another member of Senate leadership, said members of the conference have been meeting about five hours each week.The upper chamber is focused, as were their House counterparts, on lowering insurance premiums as the ultimate goal, even if fewer people end up being covered because the new bill will have removed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.But some Republicans object to the House plan’s age-based tax credit structure, which some have argued places an undue burden on groups that can least afford it.“Unfortunately, the CBO estimates that 23 million Americans would lose insurance coverage over the next decade, and the impact would disproportionately affect older, low-income Americans,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate Republican who has been working with Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, on an entirely different plan, said of the House bill.For his part, Cassidy reiterated his call for any bill to provide coverage for anyone with a life-threatening illness even if they exceed a certain amount of costs, which he called the “Jimmy Kimmel test” after the late-night talk show host revealed his newborn son’s medical travails, making a plea for affordable health care for all.The Senate bill must appease Cassidy and Collins as well as senators like Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who object to the tax credit structure in general.Some Republicans have also expressed concerns about the House’s waiver program that would allow them to opt out of certain regulations like providing what’s known as essential health benefits, required to be covered under Obamacare, and not charging people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums.Others, especially senators who come from states that accepted the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, ob
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The rate of deaths related to Alzheimer's disease jumped by 54.5 percent over 15 years, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.There were 93,541 deaths related to Alzheimer's disease in 2014, a rate of 25.4 deaths per 100,000 population, up from 44,536 deaths in 1999, a rate of 16.5 death per 100,000 people, according to the report.The disease currently affects an estimated 5.5 million people in the U.S. but that number is expected to rise dramatically in people over the age of 65 to 13.8 million in 2050. The researchers examined death certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System to reach their findings.Keith Fargo, director of the scientific program at the Alzheimer's Association, said that the study highlights the need for support and research into therapies to treat Alzheimer's disease."It's the only cause of death in the top 10 that does not have a way to prevent it or stop it," Fargo told ABC News.CDC researchers did not study why there was in an increase but reported one likely factor is that more people were surviving to old age. They found from 1999 to 2005 the greatest increase in mortality rate related to Alzheimer's disease was in people over the age of 85.Fargo said he was dismayed to see in the report that 24.9 percent of people with Alzheimer's disease were dying at home rather than in a medical facility."Before you die people become completely bed bound," said Fargo. "It requires and intense level of caregiving to the end."Fargo said the fact that more people were dying at home indicated that people did not have the resources to get appropriate help at long-term care facilities like nursing homes. Fargo said providing that level of care can take a severe toll emotionally and physically. The CDC estimates caregivers provided 18.2 billion hours of unpaid care to dementia patients in 2015."The caregivers for Alzheimer's disease have $9 billion more in Medicare claims of their own," in addition to the claims of their loved ones Fargo said. Caregiving is "so stressful it takes a physical toll on the bodies."The CDC researchers point out that increasing rates of Alzheimer's disease will mean more people need support to care and treat these patients."Until Alzheimer’s can be prevented, slowed, or stopped, caregiving for persons with advanced Alzheimer’s will remain a demanding task," the authors wrote. "An increasing number of Alzheimer’s deaths coupled with an increasing number of patients dying at home suggests that there is an increasing number of caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s. It is likely that these caregivers might benefit from interventions such as education, respite care, and case management that can lessen the potential burden of caregiving." Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- These eight moms are all celebrating their little “miracles” that came out of destruction.They each got pregnant around the time of Hurricane Matthew, which hit South Carolina’s Lowcountry region last October. Residents either evacuated or sheltered in place while trees, homes and property were destroyed.Cassie Clayshulte, the official newborn photographer for Coastal Carolina Hospital in Hardeeville, said she knew there would be a surge of pregnancies after the storm.“About nine months from a big storm or a big power outage, even nine months from Valentine’s Day or the holidays, I’ll always see a surge in births at the hospital. We were all sequestered in places with no power or evacuated for a week or longer and so I thought I might have a surge in business,” Clayshulte told ABC News. “I got this vision of all these moms lined up celebrating these little miracles that may not have happened if it weren’t for the hurricane.”She posted the idea for the creative photo shoot on her Facebook page, explaining she was “looking for moms who made babies during the hurricane and are willing to talk about it.”“I wanted to show everyone that the storm gave some Bluffton, Beaufort, and Hilton Head couples a special miracle,” said Clayshulte. “If it weren’t for Matthew, these eight couples wouldn’t be expecting these little miracles. Some of these couples had trouble conceiving, experienced difficult previous pregnancies, and even had to undergo several rounds of fertility treatments to become pregnant. This storm destroyed trees and property and our area’s tourism industry took a big hit, but the storm helped these couples create something even more beautiful and these stunning mommies-to-be are living proof.”One of the moms, Lindsey Gullett, said the military forced her to evacuate her Beaufort home.“We chose to go to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for six nights,” she said. “Our apartment complex was completely under water.”Another mom, Molly Spears of Bluffton said her family was very fortunate to not have any damage to their home.“We lost power for about 72 hours and the worst to come of that was I lost my entire freezer stash of breast milk,” said Spears. “We evacuated to Cashiers, North Carolina, and stayed at my sister-in-law’s mountain cabin for the week.“We decided to go ahead and try for another great kid. I call our first Hurricane Porter, so it will be interesting to see if little sister is just as wild, especially since she was conceived during an actual hurricane!” she quipped.These moms are thrilled for their new bundles of joy whom they refer to as their “little miracles.”“I feel babies always come at a time when they are most needed,” said mom Danielle Lewis of Bluffton. “When he is born, I feel he will fill a hole in our lives we didn't even know was missing. I'm so eager and excited to meet him.”
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Sunday night is the worst night of the week for sleeping, according to a recent survey of nearly 4,280 Americas published by the app Calm.com. Since your presumably lousy Mondays are presumably caused by being tired, this is important. And you're not alone: nearly half of those surveyed say they have the worst trouble sleeping Sunday compared to other days of the week."Many people go to bed later on Friday and Saturday nights and then sleep in later on Saturday and Sunday mornings," says Steve Orma, clinical psychologist and insomnia specialist. "So, when they go to bed on Sunday night, they’re often just not tired. And then when they can’t sleep, they start to think about why they’re not sleeping, which only makes things worse."While sleep deprivation has been linked to all manner of health issues, from obesity to heart disease, take comfort in one thing as you drift off tonight: Thursdays are the best nights for sleep, the survey reveals. Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...
  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Diseases of the blood vessels supplying the heart and brain tissues are leading causes of death among Americans.And while researchers have known that things like metabolic syndrome -- high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and/or triglycerides, high body mass index and high blood sugar -- and poor sleep increase the risk of these diseases, the true impact of these other factors has remained poorly understood so far.Researchers at Stanford University examined these metabolic risk measures, along with sleep duration, in more than 1,300 individuals using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's death records and the National Death Index.They then tracked their survival about 16 years later. Stanford researchers found that individuals who had three or more metabolic risk factors and slept less than six hours nightly were twice as likely to have died compared with those with similar risks but who slept more than six hours a night.Most importantly, high blood pressure and blood sugar issues were most strongly tied to this increased risk. Click here for more information on the article in the Journal of the American Heart Association.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
    Read more...