ICYMI - a group of Republicans in the Senate aren't giving up on making changes to the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare. This and lots of other news in our latest Health News Roundup.
- Up until now, Republicans in the Senate have failed to come to an agreement on a new healthcare bill to repeal and replace the ACA. Now they're opting to work with Democrats to bring a bipartisan healthcare bill with modest adjustments to fruition. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held its first of four hearings with the goal of passing a modest bill to help stabilize the Obamacare health insurance markets for 2018. The window is tight, as insurance companies have until September 27 to sign contracts committing them to offering health plans on the ACA exchanges next year and setting their prices.
- Forbes reported that the healthcare industry is asking for a two-year commitment of funds from the Senate’s health committee as the bipartisan group of legislators begins its hearings. Lobbies for health insurance companies, doctors and big business are asking the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to provide more stability than the Trump administration is currently providing, which pays for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) on a month-to-month basis.
- The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is still rampant. Tyler Frank, a 14-year-old girl with sickle cell anemia, used Siri on her iPhone to call the coast guard to rescue her in the nick of time. Several residents like Tyler who suffer from health issues are at a higher risk since medical attention and medicine is hard to come by in Houston due to the storm.
- Scientists have developed a new medical camera that can see through the human body. The device will help doctors track medical tools without the use of costly scans.
- Hospital executives announced last week that the state’s largest hospital system, Carolinas Healthcare, would combine with UNC Health. They called the nearly $14 billion move “a marriage, not a merger.” Hospital leadership claims the decision will better position them to serve patients, especially in rural areas. But the giant union raises questions about the system’s ability to negotiate prices from insurance companies – costs that would likely be passed along to patients.
- Speaking of North Carolina, a recent study revealed that nearly 32 percent of North Carolinians are obese. This is an upward turn after the adult obesity rate has remained relatively unchanged for the past seven years.
- Like many hospitals across the state, emergency departments in the Triangle continue to deal with large numbers of patients who are involuntarily committed and have no place else to go. More than 100 such involuntary commitment patients showed up on a recent Monday at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh. The deluge of mental health patients resulted in WakeMed putting itself on “diversion,” where the emergency department closes for all-comers.
- And lastly, the Zika virus is being used to treat brain cancer. Research shows the virus can selectively infect and kill hard-to-treat cancerous cells in adult brains.
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