More than one organization is working hard on vaccines against the Zika Virus. Currently trials are with inactivated vaccine. These take longer to develop than vaccines, with live virus. However live virus vaccine trials are more risky, and it might be difficult to find volunteers for such a trial. And that is all the Zika news for this week.
Leading the news is the ACA, the Affordable Care act and it’s fate.
More information is coming in about how the ACA affected us. For one, it’s institution seems to have been associated with increased mammography utilization among older women. Unfortunately the same increase in utilization was not seen with colonoscopy screening for colon cancer. In practice, this is indeed a harder sell, but the truth is, it saves lives, and is not that bothersome of a procedure.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has stated that the ACA will be “ replaced rapidly after repealing it”, though he provided no details. He did admit that “ There ought not to be a great gap between the first step and the second.” Many GOP leaders estimate that it will take 2-3 years to devise a replacement.
Hospitals are continuing to voice their concerns that repealing the ACA could cause a major crisis in health care. Increasing numbers of GOP lawmakers are voicing concerns about a lack of replacement for the ACA. They fear the financial consequences to their states and their constituents, as well as allegations of being reckless and the political consequences that that entails. At the same time President elect Trump has demanded an immediate repeal and replacement. . On January 12th, GOP Senators voted 51-48 on a non-binding measure approving a budget blueprint to repeal the ACA. Personally, I think it is still worthwhile to contact your elected representatives and tell them how you feel about this.
Enrollment in the ACA continues to outpace that of last year. As of December 24th, more than 11.5 million people have enrolled. Twenty million Americans altogether have their health care through the ACA.
Oddly, Mr. Trump made certain campaign promises regarding 6 weeks of paid maternity leave and reductions in child care costs. Last week he held meetings about these issues while urging his party to gut health care.
Speaking of women’s health care, contraception is currently covered by the ACA. it’s repeal would of course threaten this benefit. However, states have the ability to require insurance companies to cover it entirely. Not surprisingly, many states are moving to establish laws that will resemble the ACA in their coverage of contraception.
In medical news, the flu is clinically worse this year than in other years. But, good news ! The vaccine this year is a good match, and is very helpful. There is still time to get one.
In other vaccine news, there is a herpes vaccine under development. It is showing promise to decrease frequency and severity of outbreaks.
Breastfeeding moms need to take prenatal vitamins, Calcium and Vitamin D. Many people including pregnant women and nursing mothers are low in Vitamin D. All breastfeeding moms should be supplementing their breastfed babies with vitamin D drops. This message is not getting out as well as it should. Consult your Pediatrician.
Stay tuned for more news from the exciting world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, next week, on Medical Monday.