We start this Monday with the piece of grossly under reported news. few seem to be aware of the fact that prenatal cannabis use is linked with cognitive impairment academic under achievement in children. Both the American Academy Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise against its use because best. Many patients assume that because it is legal it is safe. Marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient THC or tetrahydrocannabinol crosses the placenta to reach the fetus. It not only affects brain development and cognition but also birth weight as well. Have you seen anything about this lately?
Planned home birth is again in the news. A new study shows that planned home birth is associated with increased risk of complications, especially in women who are having their first baby or in those 41 weeks or more. This particular study looks at the rate of neonatal death, the most severe complication. Researchers found that those who delivered with midwives at home had a neonatal death rate of 24.4 per 10,000 birth compared to 5.09 per 10,000 births delivering with a midwife in the hospital.
300,000 babies are born in United States every month. Typically 273,000 women take time off of work to care for newborn whereas 22,000 men do the same. A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health as shown that maternity and paternity leave rates in the United States have been constant over the last 20 years. This may be related to the fact that only 12% of workers in the private sector have access to pay family leave. This lags far behind other developed nations of similar socioeconomic status.
Recent work from the Pew Research Center revealed the new president's views on vaccines are not shared with the majority of Americans who overwhelmingly support requiring children to be vaccinated before attending school. 82% of Americans support children receiving the MMR vaccine before attending school.
Representatives from numerous physicians organizations have descended upon the halls of the Senate offices to lobby their respective representatives about the need to retain certain characteristics of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These organizations include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association. They have placed particular focus on the provisions for the care of women and children as these provide the foundation for lifelong medical care and wellness. They have placed particular emphasis on the need to have a replacement in place before the current plan is repealed. The same groups, representing over half a million United States physicians, sent a letter to the White House and Congressional leaders leaders asking them to ensure that women's health, including preventive prenatal and neonatal care, be protected.
A subcommittee within the House is beginning to work on replacing the ACA. They are looking at the issue of preexisting conditions, and at age ratings which determine the charges paid for insurance by age. They're also considering a shorter grace period for those who fail to pay premiums on time. The process is contentious between Democrats and Republicans, but it is also reportedly contentious between different Republican legislators as well. Republican lawmakers nowassert that they intend to “repair not repeal” the ACA.
Last week, a meeting between State Insurance Commissioner's and brokers met with the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee. They warned the Committee that more healthcare plans are likely to”defect from the Affordable Care Act marketplaces unless Congress and the Trump administration provide concrete assurances within the next two months”. They also warned that those insurers that remain are likely to increase their rates by as much as 20% if this occurs. Specifically, the insurance industry wants GOP lawmakers to ensure that they will fund ACA subsidies in 2018. They need this information so that they can make their budgets for the next year. ACA subsidies are currently the subject of court battle between Republican Representatives and the White House. Amidst all this, the Department of Health and Human Services introduced a rule, the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization”, which is meant to stabilize the health insurance market for individuals. The GOP appears to understand that it is in everyone’s best interest to stabilize the insurance markets.
Threat of repeal of the ACA continues to spur women women into seeking long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as MIrena (IUD) and Nexplanon (subderrmal insert). Month-to-month adoption of these methods is at record highs and continues to rise. Women are also stockpiling prescriptions of contraceptive and the prescriptions Some states such as New York are addressing the problem by requiring State governed insurance agencies to cover contraception with no or minimal copays. Massachusetts has developed a bill to provide free contraceptives to all of its residents.
The is busy time for women’s health and health care in general. Find out the names and contact information for your elected officials. Make your views known.
Stay tuned for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, next week on Medical Monday.