This week, and maybe from here forward, policy is becoming more State based. A few blog posts ago, I highlighted the fact that the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is run differently in different States. Some States run it entirely themselves, with money coming from the Fed, while others have the Fed run it. Other States use a hybrid model. Many States are looking at potentially rising health insurance premium rates, which will be necessary to keep programs funded, and are beginning to add State based funds to defray the severity of the increases. In other words, they are providing their own insurance subsidies to their citizens who use the ACA for their health insurance.
Many States are turning to work requirements for Medicaid Recipients. I believe the idea there is to incentive work and the earning of money , with which ACA or better insurance can be purchased. It is both to reduce the burden of Medicaid patients on a State by causing fewer people to actually need Medicaid, either in the short run or the long run.
There are currently work requirement proposals in ten States, which could potentially impact 1.7 million. As an Obstetrician Gynecologist, I would advocate for separate work requirement algorithms for pregnant women versus others.
The judicial branch of our government is starting to weigh in on the Trump administration’s changes on the way health care is being delivered in this country. An Ohio law blocked funding to 28 Planned Parenthood clinics. However, a Federal court has blocked this law, saying that while the State may prefer “ childbirth to abortion” defunding planned Parenthood has little to do with that question since this particular money is not used for the support or performance of abortion. In barring this law, many primary care health services will be safeguarded.
There are several lawsuit against this administration’s defunding of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program. A Federal Judge in Washington DC has declared the termination of the program unlawful and ordered the DHHS, Department of Health and Human Services to move forward again with the application of four such applicants within the program.
If a pregnant woman is a risk for gestational diabetes, her physician may ask her to improve her diet and be more active. It turns out that those who made the changes have better glucose regulation even one year after baby is born.
Coming from the other direction, we have the following report from the esteemed Journal Lancet. It seems that the environmentally determined health of both mother and father play greatly into the ongoing health of future not-yet-conceived babies. Each parent’s condition, whether well nourished, stressed, obese or fit, has influence on the cells and the DNA from which future children will be made. This us believed to take place through a process called epigenetics in in which an indivudual’s present day physiologic circumstances feed make and alter the expression of their genes and the genes of their germ cell lines (eggs and sperm). The article goes on to conclude that it points to a whole new level of preconceptual counseling which we must do.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) usually related to smoking, now kills more women than men in this country. The days of “Virginia Slims” a TV ad brazenly directed toward women, are coming back to haunt us. I try to to remind patients that tobacco related poisons are much harder on women than men, and that smaller people in general get a higher relative dose.
Many breast cancer patients lose their hair, if not from chemotherapy, then more mild so from anti cancer hormone medications like tamoxifen. New research says Minoxidil can help reverse that.
Newsflash: the USPSTF - the US Preventive Service Task Force feels there is now enough evidence to recommend exercise to prevent falls in those over 65. And while I jest at the commonsensical nature of this announcement, falls are a major concern for most people over 65 and can lead to serious and life threatening injuries. No matter what age you are now, consult with your caregiver to see how you can attain optimal health and fitness for the present and the future. Whatever it is, whether seated stretching or training for an Ironman, start now. You will not be getting any younger. That is, unless you get more fit.
A recently reported study shows IUD (Intrauterine Device) use has increased in recent years through 2013. This is believed to have been related to dropping out of pocket prices. I suspect newer studies will show use has increased even further with many women chasing long acting methods for fear of losing affordable birth control coverage.
US maternal mortality has been increasingly in the news. Despite all the press, maternal mortality continues to rise through the present, and is concentrated in certain areas of the country, most notably Texas. Many correlate the most severe statistics with poverty and discrimination. Of late, many also finger the defunding of primary care clinics, particularly those like Planned Parenthood, which served more real and lower income populations. There are, at present two Bipartisan pills stuck in Committees which would support the formation of state committees to track and prevent the phenomenon.
Stay tuned for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here, next week, on Medical Monday.