Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ The State Of The (Health) Union

In his first State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump told the American public that “one of my greatest priorities is to reduce the price of prescription drugs.” But that message could barely begin to sink in before other health news developed: The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was forced to resign Wednesday after conflict-of-interest reports.

Meanwhile, outside the federal government, Idaho is proposing to allow the sale of individual insurance policies that specifically violate portions of the Affordable Care Act. And three mega-companies — Amazon, Berkshire-Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase — say they will partner to try to control costs and improve quality for their employees’ health care.

As Marijuana Laws Relax, Doctors Say Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Partake

Two-year-old Maverick Hawkins sits on a red, plastic car in his grandmother’s living room in the picturesque town of Nevada City, Calif., in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. His playpal Delilah Smith, a fellow 2-year-old, snacks on hummus and cashews and delights over the sounds of her Princess Peppa Pig stuffie.

It’s playtime for the kids of the provocatively named Facebook group “Pot smoking moms who cuss sometimes.”

U.S. public health chief quits over financial conflicts

(Reuters) – The head of the leading U.S. public health agency has resigned because of financial conflicts of interest that documents showed included purchases of tobacco and healthcare stocks while in office.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald held “certain complex financial interests” that she could not sell in time, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, forcing her to recuse herself from many duties as head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fitzgerald, a physician and former commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, is the second high-profile health official in the year-old Trump administration to leave over financial and ethical questions.

North Korea threats spur U.S. search for new radiation therapies

(Reuters) – The escalating threat of a potential nuclear war between North Korea and the United States has led the Department of Defense to join hands with a clutch of companies in developing more effective medical treatments for acute radiation syndrome.

The hostility between the two nations reached a new height last November after Pyongyang fired an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Health officials in Washington say they have adequate stocks in the event of a nuclear attack and subsequent mass radiation poisonings.

Researchers discover link between rheumatoid arthritis and bacteria in milk

January 30, 2018

A strain of bacteria commonly found in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida.

A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers has discovered a link between rheumatoid arthritis and Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, known as MAP, a bacteria found in about half the cows in the United States. The bacteria can be spread to humans through the consumption of infected milk, beef and produce fertilized by cow manure.

After Polyps Are Detected, Patients May No Longer Qualify For Free Colonoscopies

Insurance coverage of colonoscopies to screen for colorectal cancer is a frequent source of frustration for consumers, including a reader who asks about his situation. In addition to his query, this week I also address questions about Medicare premiums and delays in determining Medicaid eligibility.

No Car, No Care? Medicaid Transportation At Risk In Some States

EVERETT, Wash. — Unable to walk or talk, barely able to see or hear, 5-year-old Maddie Holt waits in her wheelchair for a ride to the hospital.

The 27-pound girl is dressed in polka-dot pants and a flowered shirt for the trip, plus a red headband with a sparkly bow, two wispy blond ponytails poking out on top.

Vape shops sue to block U.S. regulation covering e-cigarettes

(Reuters) – A group of vape shops in five U.S. states on Tuesday announced a trio of lawsuits challenging a rule adopted by the Food and Drug Administration that allows the regulator to treat e-cigarettes and similar devices like cigarettes.

The vape shops, represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation conservative legal group, in lawsuits filed in federal courts in Texas, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., argued the 2016 rule was unconstitutional.

The shops located in California, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas argue that the so-called “Deeming Rule” that deems e-cigarettes to be tobacco products was not legally adopted because it was issued by a career FDA employee, rather than an officer appointed by the president.

Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan partner to cut healthcare costs

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co will form a healthcare company aimed at cutting costs for their U.S. employees, they said on Tuesday, sending shares in the broad healthcare sector sharply lower.

The company will not aim to make a profit and initially focus on technology to provide what they called “simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare” for their more than 500,000 U.S. employees.

“The ballooning costs of healthcare act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy,” said Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett. “Our group does not come to this problem with answers. But we also do not accept it as inevitable.”