Space Coast Daily Healthcare Headlines of the Week

By  //  November 6, 2014

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Topics Include: New GOP-Controlled Congress To Target Obamacare; Thousands Of Doctors Opting Out Of Obamacare; Gluten Free: Cure Or Fad? — and More.

OBAMACARE PRIME TARGET FOR NEW GOP-CONTROLLED CONGRESS

Tuesday’s midterm elections proved to be a resounding testimonial against the progressive, far left policies of the Obama administration, the signature legislation of which is, of course, the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare).

The Huffington Post reports that while Republicans have been “chomping at the bit to repeal Obamacare” since it was signed into law in 2010, even a GOP-controlled Congress is unlikely to undo the law.

GOP takes senateHowever, it is highly likely that Republicans will force at least one vote on repeal.

President Obama would then veto it, but not before Democratic senators, the vast majority of whom have been in lock-step with the president’s policies and actions, were forced to cast a vote very directly in support of Obamacare, which remains unpopular.

Several provisions of the ACA, such as the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and the medical device tax will almost certainly be targets for Republican lawmakers, who are likely to strategically pick the law apart if total repeal is not successful.

Some Senate Democrats would likely join them in eliminating or amending some of these measures. (Young, Huffington Post, 11/5)

NEW STUDY: DEMOGRAPHICS OF PERSISTENT PAIN AMONG AMERICANS

A new study out of Washington State University (WSU) published in the Journal of Pain found that nearly 2 percent of adult Americans experience persistent pain, with women and older Americans especially susceptible.

shutterstock_174201023WSU researchers analyzed a special supplement to the 2010 National Health Interview Survey, where 7,000 respondents completed a survey on their quality of life.

The results showed about 19 percent of adults experience pain “most days” or “every day,” and 37 percent of respondents experienced it “some days.”

About 30 percent of adults aged 60 to 69 reported suffering from persistent pain, versus just 8 percent of adults ages 18 to 29 who reported persistent pain.

The researchers noted that people with pre-existing health conditions, like obesity, were more likely to report suffering from pain, and persistent pain was linked with higher rates of fatigue, anxiety and depression. (Beck, The Atlantic, 10/29)

OVER 214,000 DOCTORS OPT OUT OF OBAMACARE EXCHANGES

For a myriad of reasons, including plans that force doctors to take on burdensome costs and administrative tasks, a growing number of physicians are refusing to participate on provider panels of Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) exchange health plans, or are limiting how many new patients they take with these policies.Male doctor giving thumbs down

Though some insurance contracts require physicians to accept their exchange-plan patients along with those on commercial plans, the lower rates are making some doctors reluctant to sign on to the plans in the first place.

CNSNews reports on a new survey by Medical Group Management Association that shows an estimated 214,524 physicians won’t be participating in new plans under the ACA, which translates to 1 in 4 of active U.S. physicians. (Boland, CNSNews, 10/28)

AGAINST THE GRAIN: SHOULD YOU GO GLUTEN-FREE?

Humans have been eating wheat and the gluten it contains for at least ten thousand years.

gfl-magazineAbout one percent of the population has a condition called celiac disease, which triggers an immune reaction that can damage the surface of the small intestine with the briefest exposure to gluten. They should, of course, make every effort to eat a gluten-free diet.

Until about ten years ago, the other 99 percent of Americans rarely seemed to give gluten much thought.

However, today 20 million people claim that they regularly experience distress after eating products that contain gluten, and one third of American adults say that they are trying to eliminate it from their diets.

In this article from the New Yorker, Michael Specter explores why gluten has become a “culinary villain,” why for many people avoiding gluten has become a cultural as well as a dietary choice, and the downsides of a gluten-free diet. (Specter, The New Yorker, 11/3)

FLORIDA SAYS ‘NO’ TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA; OREGON, ALASKA AND D.C. OK RECREATIONAL POT

Although over 57 percent of Florida voters supported the medical marijuana referendum, Amendment 2, in Tuesday’s election, it failed to get the mandatory 60 percent needed to pass.

alaska_mj-520x393It was a different story in two other states, Oregon and Alaska, and the District of Columbia, where residents voted to legalize marijuana in key victories that occurred amid recent shifts in American opinions on marijuana that have energized efforts to legalize recreational cannabis usage.

Reuters reports on the reaction of both proponents and opponents of the approved referendums, which includes redoubled efforts on the part of anti-legalization groups to especially limit access to children and place strict regulations on the sale and distribution of “a drug that remains illegal under federal law even as Colorado and Washington state have been given the go-ahead to experiment with legalization.”


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