health

NPR

Nicotine will now be at the center of the Food and Drug Administration’s effort to regulate tobacco, the agency said, announcing that it will aim to lower the amount of nicotine in cigarettes to a level that will help curb addiction.

It would be the first time in the agency’s history that it has sought to regulate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes.

“The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes – the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Friday. “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear says he’s “thrilled’ that three Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted against the latest attempt to repeal elements of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrats and three Republican senators — John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski — voted against the “skinny repeal” bill, dramatically preventing supporters from securing the 50 votes needed to pass it.

Beshear called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for leading the charge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Betting that thin is in — and might be the only way forward — Senate Republicans are eyeing a "skinny repeal" that would roll back an unpopular portion of the federal health law. But health policy analysts warn that the idea has been tried before, and with little success.

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., returned to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday after a brain cancer diagnosis to help Republican leadership begin debate on health care. But after casting his vote in favor of debate, McCain took the floor and said he would not vote for the current health bill, the latest product of a controversial and contentious process in which Republicans have been at odds with one another as well as with Democrats.

NPR

With Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, the U.S. Senate voted by a hair Tuesday to start debating Republican legislation to tear down much of the Affordable Care Act.

The vote gives President Donald Trump and GOP leaders a crucial initial victory but launches a weeklong debate promising an uncertain final outcome.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said after the vote that the Senate will now begin considering amendments from both parties.

Healthy Debate: What The Republican Health Bill Taught Us About Medicaid

Jul 24, 2017
Mary Meehan

It’s hard to find a spot on the map where the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have a bigger effect than in the Ohio Valley. By one measure, for example, the proposal could mean West Virginia’s rate of people who lack health insurance would climb by nearly 300 percent -- the biggest such change in the country. The projected declines in Kentucky and Ohio are also more than twice the national average. This is largely due to proposed changes in Medicaid.

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Owensboro Health is beginning a new partnership with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. It will focus on sharing research and resources for clinical trials.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, cancer patients being treated at Owensboro Health's Mitchell Center won’t have to travel to participate in clinical trials. Eligible patients will now have access to new treatments in Owensboro.

President Trump did not do much to sell the Senate health care bill before its failure. But he gave the sale a shot Wednesday in the White House before cameras and a captive audience of nearly all the Republican senators. His comments were at times confusing, and in some cases, outright incorrect.

It shows the challenge for a president who doesn't dive deeply into policy to sell his agenda.

Crumbling Health Bill Dents McConnell Image as Top Tactician

Jul 19, 2017
NPR

When the banner Republican effort to scuttle and rewrite President Barack Obama's health care law crumbled this week, the falling debris popped a hefty dent into Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's image as a dauntless legislative tactician three chess moves ahead of everyone else.

His two attempts to craft legislation replacing Obama's law have collapsed for lack of GOP support. Republican opposition seems likely to doom a vote next week on his Plan C, a bill simply repealing much of Obama's statute.

President Trump has summoned all Senate Republicans to the White House on Wednesday for a debrief on the state of health care legislation effort in their chamber. Based on the week so far, the meeting may be more like a post mortem.

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Medicaid advocates, family members and policy experts gathered in Frankfort Monday to weigh in on proposed changes to the state-run insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Kentucky’s Medicaid program was expanded by former Gov. Steve Beshear under the Affordable Care Act. But current Gov. Matt Bevin has said the costs associated with the program aren’t sustainable, and is asking the federal government to approve a plan to scale it back.

Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET

The defeat of the GOP Senate health care bill is a major blow to all Republicans involved.

President Trump, whose approval rating is lower than any recent president this early in his term, is now staring at an agenda imperiled. Despite his boasts, he has achieved little of significance through Congress. That failure is compounded by the fact that his party controls both chambers.

The Senate will postpone its consideration of the GOP bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act until Sen. John McCain returns to Washington.

The Republican senator from Arizona is recovering from brain surgery performed Friday to remove a nearly 2-inch blood clot from above his left eye. The surgery was described as a "minimally invasive craniotomy with an eyebrow incision."

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The first of two public hearings seeking input on Governor Bevin’s Medicaid waiver was held Friday in Somerset.

Governor Bevin wants to overhaul the Medicaid program, in hopes of moving more people to private insurance coverage. Bevin said Kentucky can’t afford to pay for everyone that gained coverage when Medicaid was expanded.

 

The new plan calls for Medicaid recipients to pay premiums of up to $15 a month. Beneficiaries would be required to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to keep their benefits. Those requirements don’t apply to everyone.

Study Sheds Light On Antidepressants And Pregnancy

Jul 14, 2017
John Ted Dagatano

For a lot of pregnant woman, there are difficult choices to make as they weigh their own health and well-being against that of their unborn child. There’s been conflicting information about whether commonly-prescribed medications like antidepressants, which many people rely upon, can cause harm to the fetus.

Now, a new study says pregnant women who take antidepressants during pregnancy are not putting their child at risk for intellectual disability. The study, which was published today in JAMA Psychiatry, looked at more than 179,000 children, half of whom had mothers who had taken antidepressants while they were pregnant. And the researchers didn’t find any connections between the child’s future mental challenges and the mother’s medication use.

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