Health & Spirit

UnitedHealth Group targeted by whistleblower lawsuit

Health / Health & Fitness /

MINNEAPOLIS -- A whistleblower lawsuit alleges that UnitedHealth Group and health plans that hire a subsidiary of the insurer have overbilled the federal Medicare program by submitting risk adjustment claims in ways that wrongly boost payment rates.

If true, the scheme could have caused hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in ...Read more

Alzheimer's disease drug fails in trial

Health / Health & Fitness /

Merck is halting a trial of verubecestat, an Alzheimer's disease medication. The pharmaceuticals company concluded the drug has "virtually no chance of finding a positive clinical effect."

The trial, called the EPOCH study, tested the efficacy and safety of the drug when taken orally in people with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. While ...Read more

Repeal of health care law could mean return to 'high-risk pools'

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- By the time Lance Rice was 4 years old, in the mid-1990s, treating his hemophilia and hepatitis C had become so costly his parents had exceeded their insurer's $1 million lifetime cap on payouts. When the Rice family sought coverage from other insurers, they were turned away.

Luckily, the family's home state of Indiana was one of ...Read more

They hate doctors. They don't exercise enough. But they want to live forever.

Health / Health & Fitness /

Being middle-aged, sandwiched between the much-lauded millennials and the much-attacked baby boomers, is far from an ideal place on the demographic scale.

Now a new report says that Generation Xers , those between the ages of 36 and 51, don't do enough to keep healthy, even as they claim they want to live to a ripe old age.

According to an ...Read more

GOP lawmakers get details on Ryan Obamacare repeal plan and advice on how to sell it

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans, anticipating confrontations with angry Affordable Care Act supporters during the upcoming February recess, have been given talking points by party leaders to counter and deflect the growing public rancor.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Thursday provided an outline of the ACA repeal legislation that ...Read more

Ted Cruz wants to repeal Obamacare now, then work out replacement details

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Even no with no consensus replacement for Obamacare in sight, Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing for action on the repeal long promised by Republicans.

"What I think is critical at the outset is that we honor the promise we've made to voters for six years running now to repeal Obamacare. We've had three elections -- 2010, 2014 and 2016 -- ...Read more

Emerging GOP plan would replace parts of Obamacare as it's repealed

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WASHINGTON -- Developing House Republican legislation to repeal the 2010 health care law would also include replacement provisions that are controversial among GOP rank and file, like a refundable tax credit to help individuals purchase insurance and a plan for dealing with Medicaid expansion.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Energy and Commerce Chairman ...Read more

Health advocates blast new Trump proposals to stabilize Obamacare marketplace

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration and new Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are under fire over new proposed rules introduced Wednesday to help stabilize the troubled individual insurance market.

Health care advocates and congressional Democrats claim the proposals are a wish-list-come-true for the insurance industry and would ...Read more

Conservatives give fresh prod to Republican leadership on Obamacare repeal

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- To the warnings from conservative groups that they need to move faster on dismantling Obamacare, add one more prod, this one from within.

A group of conservative House members Wednesday endorsed a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act in hopes of pressuring the chamber to move faster on a vote to repeal the 2010 law.

"The ...Read more

While Congress struggles on Obamacare, administration moves on its own

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- With congressional Republicans struggling to develop an Obamacare alternative, the Trump administration is taking steps on its own to loosen government regulation of the nation's health insurance markets, a longtime conservative goal.

Administration officials said the moves -- which were detailed in proposed regulations released ...Read more

Aetna CEO: Obamacare in a 'death spiral' heading into 2018

Health / Health & Fitness /

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Aetna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said Wednesday the Affordable Care Act is fatally flawed and that he believes more insurers will follow Humana Inc. and quit public health exchanges entirely.

"It is in a death spiral," he said of Obamacare in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Bertolini has long ...Read more

Myofascial release therapy for pain

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: What can you tell me about myofascial release therapy? Is it an effective treatment for muscle pain or tension?

A: Myofascial release often is used in physical therapy and massage practices. The technique focuses on pain believed to arise from myofascial tissues -- the body's muscle (myo) and the tough connective tissue (...Read more

Amid uncertainty, insurance giant Humana plans to leave marketplaces in 2018

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Humana Inc., one of the nation's largest health insurers, will stop selling Obamacare health plans next year, the company announced Tuesday. The move threatens to rattle jittery insurance markets and further complicate Republicans' push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The company attributed its action to mounting ...Read more

Obamacare is more popular than ever, so now Democrats get around to hitting GOP on it

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Now that it's on the chopping block, Obamacare has never been more popular. And with Republican attempts at a rapid repeal sputtering, Democrats are hoping to exploit a legislative lull.

Ahead of a congressional recess next week, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are asking their members to host rallies, visit hospitals ...Read more

US uninsured rate hit record low last year

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- The nation's uninsured rate tumbled further last year, hitting the lowest rate on record, according to new government data that underscored what is at stake in the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

In the first nine months of 2016, just 8.8 percent of Americans lacked health coverage, survey data from the ...Read more

Health care adjusts to a more diverse America

Health / Health & Fitness /

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- On any given day at the Salud Clinic, Lucrecia Maas might see 22 patients. They come to the community health center tucked away in an office park here needing cavities filled, prescriptions renewed and babies vaccinated. When they start to speak, it's rarely in English. Sometimes it's Hindi. Or Dari. Or Hmong. Or ...Read more

Infectious diseases A-Z: Vaccines prevent diseases

Health / Health & Fitness /

"Vaccinations prevent infections before they occur," says Dr. Vandana Bhide, a pediatrician and internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic.

"Childhood diseases, once thought to have been eradicated, such as measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, are making a resurgence in the U.S." from waning immunity or lack of immunizations," she says....Read more

Republicans' struggles to replace Obamacare have feel of deja vu

Health / Health & Fitness /

WASHINGTON -- Republicans in Congress are hitting roadblocks as they try to devise a plan to replace Obamacare, stuck over issues like how to structure tax breaks they want to give people to buy insurance.

The party stalemated on many of the same obstacles in 2014 during its most extensive effort to devise an alternative, according to lawmakers...Read more

Study shows poor children face higher rates of asthma and ADHD

Health / Health & Fitness /

PITTSBURGH -- Poverty takes a toll on human health and especially on children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Britain's Child Poverty Action Group, among various groups and scientific studies, long have documented the higher risk of illness, chronic disease and disability among impoverished children, along with lower birth weights and ...Read more

Flaxseed, a nutritional powerhouse

Health / Health & Fitness /

Dear Mayo Clinic: I have heard that adding flaxseed to my diet could improve my health, but I know nothing about it. What's the best way to take it?

A: Flaxseed is a nutritional powerhouse. Its health benefits come from the fact that it's high in fiber and is a rich source of a plant-based type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid....Read more