White House spokesman Judd Deere said President Donald Trump will meet Friday with public health advocates and vaping industry representatives as the administration considers a possible ban on flavored vaping products. "The policy making process is not stalled -- it continues to move forward," Deere noted.
Tennessee is seeking the Trump administration's approval to transform its Medicaid program into the nation's first block grant program. Under the proposal, the state would receive almost $7.9 billion from the federal government, a figure that is based on estimated Medicaid costs, but the amount could increase based on enrollment changes and inflation.
Twenty-one percent of adolescents ages 12 to 17 and 32.2% of young adults ages 18 to 25 reported using prescription opioids in the past year, with opioid use higher among females than males, according to a study in PLOS Medicine. Researchers reviewed 2015-2016 data involving 56,070 teens and young adults from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and found that 55.7% of those who reported opioid misuse obtained the drug from relatives or friends, while health care was the source for 25.4% of them.
An analysis of heart disease mortality among adults ages 25 to 64 showed counties with worsening economic conditions such as lack of affordable housing, high jobless rates and lower median incomes saw their heart disease death rates climb from 122 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010 to 127.6 per 100,000 in 2015, while rates remained stable in counties with the least economic distress. The findings, presented at the American Heart Association's annual meeting, show that "large economic trends -- whether it's a significant reduction in employment or a recession -- have a real impact on communities and on the cardiovascular health of people living in those communities," lead author Dr. Sameed Khatana said.
Baltimore-based insurer CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said it will be awarding $2.15 million in grants over two years to organizations working to improve maternal and pediatric health outcomes in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Over 10,000 underinsured and low-income people are expected to benefit from the grants.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has partnered with Minneapolis-based Learn to Live to offer digital behavioral therapy tools to help members suffering from insomnia, depression, anxiety and stress. The programs are accessible to web and mobile users through the insurer's large employer clients.
The FDA has approved Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' Givlaari, or givosiran, an RNA interference drug, as the first treatment for acute hepatic porphyria. The injection will be priced at $575,000 per year and will be available at $442,000 per year after discounts.
The discussion of health care issues and Medicare for All was fairly brief in the fifth Democratic debate as presidential candidates brought ideas such as marijuana decriminalization and paid family leave into the conversation. The sixth debate is scheduled for Dec. 19.
Dental and medical insurance arose at different times and took separate evolutionary paths, and while dental plans cover care up to a certain financial limit, medical plans don't usually begin to cover most care until deductibles are met, says health care economist Adam Powell. Dentists might not be able to meet demand if all Americans had full dental benefits; on the other hand, not everyone who has dental insurance now visits their dentist enough to reach their plan's coverage limit.
Establishing a midlevel dental care provider license, expanding Medicaid coverage of dental care for adults, establishing advanced certification for dental assistants and offering incentives for dentists to practice in rural areas were among the ideas discussed at a recent summit about expanding access to dental care in Florida. State lawmakers have considered proposals to establish regulations for dental therapists, and a bill that would do so is active in the state Senate.
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