President Trump plans to sign an executive order today that would allow Americans to buy "stripped-down versions" of health insurance. The order aims to make lower-premium plans more widely available. This and other news in our latest Health News Roundup.
- Frustrated by Congress' failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (i.e. Obamacare), President Donald Trump is moving to put his own stamp on healthcare with an executive order that aims to make lower-premium plans more widely available. Administration officials say that the changes Trump hopes to bring about could take months. The proposals may not be finalized in time to affect coverage for 2019, let alone next year. The White House described the order as first steps. Experts say this action could open Trump to legal challenges from Democratic state attorneys general, who have said they will sue Trump if he tries to destroy Obamacare. The president, an avid Twitter user, expressed himself via the social platform on Tuesday tweeting, "Since Congress can't get its act together on healthcare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great healthcare to many people - FAST." Only time will tell how expedient this plays out.
- North Carolina Central University was awarded a $16.3 million grant to research health disparities. The grant, given by the National Institutes of Health, will allow researchers at the school's Biomedical Biotechnology Research Institute to further study health disparities in minority communities.
- North Carolina state lawmakers are rallying against excess spending at a mental health agency. Members of the General Assembly expressed outrage after learning more details about the NC Department of Health and Human Services' investigation into Cardinal Innovations. Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is the country’s largest specialty health plan, serving more than 850,000 individuals with complex needs. Last week, DHHS released a new report which found unusually generous salaries, bonuses and severance packages for Cardinal’s top executives.
- Childhood obesity continues to soar worldwide. According to new research there are now 124 million obese children around the globe. New data from Imperial College London, published in the Lancet medical journal, shows that in 1975 there were five million obese girls, but by last year there were 50 million. The number of obese boys has risen from six million to 74 million in the same period.
- And last, but certainly not least, Puerto Rico continues to battle dire circumstances three weeks after Hurricane Maria. Many sick people across the island remain in mortal peril. Seriously ill dialysis patients across Puerto Rico have seen their treatment hours reduced by 25 percent because the centers still lack a steady supply of diesel to run their generators. Less than half of Puerto Rico’s medical employees have reported to work in the weeks since the storm, federal health officials say. Hospitals are running low on medicine and high on patients, as they take in the infirm from medical centers where generators failed.