Health & Spirit

5 ways a new HHS secretary could change the course of health policy

Health / Health & Fitness /

Prospective Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, currently the chairman of the House Budget Committee, brings a distinctive to-do list to the agency. And, if confirmed by the Senate, he will have tremendous independent power to get things done.

While he will report to the president, heads of major agencies like HHS -- with a budget ...Read more

Q&A: Medicare, Medicaid head says repealing Obamacare without replacement would be 'chaos'

Health / Health & Fitness /

CHICAGO -- Andy Slavitt has been instrumental in building up Obamacare as the head of the federal agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid.

Now, he faces the prospect of an incoming Donald Trump administration that may tear much of it apart. Still, he wants to give the new administration a chance to improve health care in America -- and he ...Read more

Leading cancer group calls on GOP to slow Obamacare repeal push

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- One of the nation's leading patient advocacy organizations Thursday urged congressional Republicans not to repeal the Affordable Care Act without first offering a replacement, joining the growing list of voices urging the GOP to slow its Obamacare repeal push.

"As members of Congress consider the future of the Affordable Care Act,...Read more

Free clinics aim to fill VA's shortfalls in mental health

Health / Health & Fitness /

Elenilson Franco, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, first sought mental health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs nearly four years ago.

He is still waiting. The VA lost his original paperwork and hasn't yet approved a new application, he said.

"It's frustrating," lamented Franco, 46, who served...Read more

Damage estimate: Repeal of Obamacare would leave 30 million without coverage

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act through a budget reconciliation bill could cause nearly 30 million Americans to lose health insurance and 9.3 million to lose government subsidies to help them purchase marketplace coverage, according to a new analysis.

The additional 29.8 million uninsured -- 22.5 million from the ...Read more

Signed out of prison but not signed up for insurance, inmates fall prey to ills

Health / Health & Fitness /

INDIANAPOLIS -- Before he went to prison, Ernest killed his 2-year-old daughter in the grip of a psychotic delusion. When the Indiana Department of Correction released him in 2015, he was terrified something awful might happen again.

He had to see a doctor. He had only a month's worth of pills to control his delusions and mania. He was ...Read more

Replacing Obamacare will be easier said than done

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Campaigning to repeal and replace Obamacare was the easy part. Now comes the hard slog of legislative reality.

With some Republicans talking publicly and privately about a phase-out period of two years or more, and others expressing a desire to keep parts of the 2010 health care reform, the first order of business for Congress in ...Read more

In House majority leader's district, many depend on health law he wants to scrap

Health / Health & Fitness /

U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act first and replace it sometime later. That doesn't sit well with Victoria Barton, who lives in McCarthy's rural California district.

"It's like they dangled the carrot and now they're taking it away," said Barton, 38, of Bakersfield, an unpaid photographer and stay...Read more

Big Republican states could have a lot to lose from Obamacare repeal

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- The Republican drive to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law just as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office already has hit snags, and new state-by-state data help show why.

Of the five states whose residents receive the most in subsidies to help them buy insurance, four -- Florida, Texas, North Carolina and ...Read more

Congress passes environmental health laws after states force its hand

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- For much of the last two years, Democratic state Sen. David Zuckerman of Vermont thought he was victorious. For more than a decade, the organic farmer had tried to force companies that sell food in his state to label products that include genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

His legislative colleagues finally agreed to his ...Read more

Obama's health care law is behind 2nd straight year of faster rise in medical spending

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Public and private spending for U.S. health care increased to $3.2 trillion in 2015 or nearly $10,000 per person, according to a government report released Friday.

The 5.8 percent spending increase last year is up from a 5.3 percent hike in 2014. Both increases followed five straight years of historically slower growth from 2009 ...Read more

As more Americans gained health coverage, nation's health care tab ticked up in 2015

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Health spending in the U.S. picked up again in 2015, but the growth was driven largely by millions of Americans getting coverage through the Affordable Care Act, rather than price increases for care, according to a new government report that tracks the nation's overall health care tab.

The 5.8 percent increase -- which pushed ...Read more

4 things depression-symptom checklists don't tell you

Health / Health & Fitness /

Let's just get this out of the way up top: I have depression.

That doesn't mean that I'm weeping inconsolably as I write this. Or that I need an emergency visit from Clarence Odbody, AS2. And it doesn't mean that I'm just a sad guy.

It means that I have a diagnosable illness recognized by the medical profession and the National Institute of ...Read more

Health law's test kitchen for payment reforms could offer tool for GOP ideas

Health / Health & Fitness /

Joint replacements. Cardiac care. Chemotherapy.

What do those things have to do with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act?

Economists and policymakers think the U.S. may be overpaying for such services, which helps drive up health care expenses for everyone. And the health law has a program that includes testing new ways to pay for care -- ...Read more

Women's wellness: screening tool for dense breasts

Health / Health & Fitness /

A breast cancer screening tool developed at Mayo Clinic may benefit women with dense breasts. It's called molecular breast imaging (MBI), and research shows the technology detects more breast cancers in this group of women than mammography. Up to half of women have dense breast tissue.

MBI is a test that uses a radioactive tracer and special ...Read more

Need pricey drugs from an Obamacare plan? You'll shoulder more of the cost

Health / Health & Fitness /

Substantially more health plans on the federal insurance marketplaces require consumers next year to pay a hefty portion of the cost of the most expensive drugs, changes that analysts say are intended to deter persistently ill patients from choosing their policies.

The class of medicines known as specialty drugs often treat chronic illnesses ...Read more

Poll finds Obamacare has widespread support

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Despite sharp partisan differences over the Affordable Care Act, Democrats and Republicans, including voters who backed President-elect Donald Trump, strongly support most of the law's key provisions, a new national poll indicates.

And although most Trump voters still favor repealing the law, often called Obamacare, an increasing ...Read more

Trump choice for HHS secretary could repeal free birth control without act of Congress

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services would be able to repeal one of President Barack Obama's most controversial initiatives: free birth control for women under the Affordable Care Act.

If confirmed, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., a legislator with a 100 percent anti-abortion voting record, would be ...Read more

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: risks, symptoms and prevention

Health / Health & Fitness /

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a collection of serious lung diseases that obstructs airflow from the lungs and causes breathing issues. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the conditions that most commonly contribute to COPD.

According to the American Lung Association, more than 11 million people in the U.S. have been ...Read more

Flu shots only for children this year

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: I've always been told FluMist is just as effective as the flu shot for kids, so why isn't the mist available this year? Does that mean the shot is not likely to be very effective either?

A: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for all children 6 months and older. Mayo Clinic strongly ...Read more