News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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The largest Medicare Advantage insurers in each state
Becker's Hospital Review

Here are the largest Medicare Advantage plans by number of covered lives in each state, according to a report from America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Alabama: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare, Viva Health

Alaska: Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare

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Poll: Majority Want To Keep Abortion Legal, But They Also Want Restrictions
National Public Radio

Three-quarters of Americans say they want to keep in place the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal in the United States, but a strong majority would like to see restrictions on abortion rights, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll.

What the survey found is a great deal of complexity — and sometimes contradiction among Americans — that goes well beyond the talking points of the loudest voices in the debate. In fact, there’s a high level of dissatisfaction with abortion policy overall. Almost two-thirds of people said they were either somewhat or very dissatisfied, including 66% of those who self-identify as “pro-life” and 62% of those who self-identify as “pro-choice.”

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How Measles Detectives Work To Contain An Outbreak
Kaiser Health News

On any given day, more than 4,000 people pass through the library at California State University-Los Angeles.

On April 11, one of them had measles. The building has only one entrance, which means that anyone who entered or exited the library within two hours of that person’s visit potentially was exposed to one of the most contagious diseases on Earth.

It’s the stuff of public health nightmares: Everyone at the library between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day had to be identified, warned and possibly quarantined. Measles is so contagious that up to 90% of people close to an infected person who are not protected by a vaccine or previous case of the disease will become infected. But how could the university figure out who had been in the library during that time frame? And which of those people were vulnerable to infection?

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Can You Reshape Your Brain’s Response To Pain?
National Public Radio

Jeannine, who is 37 and lives in Burbank, Calif., has endured widespread pain since she was 8. She has been examined by dozens of doctors, but none of their X-rays, MRIs or other tests have turned up any evidence of physical injury or damage. Over the years, desperate for relief, she tried changing her diet, wore belts to correct her posture and exercised to strengthen muscles. Taking lots of ibuprofen helped, she says, but doctors warned her that taking too much could cause gastric bleeding. Nothing else eased her discomfort. On a pain scale of 0 to 10, her pain ranged from “7 to 9, regularly,” she says.

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We deserve health care and education, but 2020 Democrats shouldn’t call them ‘rights’
USA Today

I’d like every American to be guaranteed health care, higher education and meaningful employment — things some Democratic candidates for president frequently refer to as “rights.” Trouble is, these are not rights, and to frame them as such is counterproductive to good causes. 

In announcing her candidacy in January, Sen. Kamala Harris of California said, ”I am running to declare education is a fundamental right, and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-K and debt-free college.” That’s an admirable goal, but it’s not a right, at least not yet. 

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Mini-Biographies Help Clinicians Connect With Patients
Kaiser Health News

Bob Hall was recovering from yet another surgery in March 2014 when a volunteer walked into his hospital room. It had been a rocky recovery since his lung transplant three months earlier at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wis.

The volunteer wasn’t there to check on his lungs or breathing. Instead, she asked Hall if he wanted to tell his life story.

Hall served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. After the war, he had a political career as a Massachusetts legislator, and then led professional associations for 30 years.

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The best medical AI research (that you probably haven’t heard of)
The Health Care Blog

I’ve been talking in recent posts about how our typical methods of testing AI systems are inadequate and potentially unsafe. In particular, I’ve complained that all of the headline-grabbing papers so far only do controlled experiments, so we don’t how the AI systems will perform on real patients.

Today I am going to highlight a piece of work that has not received much attention, but actually went “all the way” and tested an AI system in clinical practice, assessing clinical outcomes. They did an actual clinical trial!

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Student Spurs Brookline, Mass., To Offer Free Tampons And Pads In Public Buildings
National Public Radio

When you walk into a public bathroom, you expect it to be stocked with toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels or a hand dryer.

But tampons and pads?

Brookline, Mass., wants to make menstrual products as routine as those other bathroom staples, and in May voted to become what it says is the first municipality in the United States to offer free tampons and pads in all of its town-owned restrooms, in places like the town hall, libraries and the recreation center. The schools are expected to follow suit.

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