The GOP appears to be giving up on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Those who support the patient care aspects of the ACA may cheer, but they should not breathe a sign of relief, since the funding mechanisms of this plan remain somewhat undetermined. Encouragingly, there is increasing GOP interest in crafting legislation which will make the plan more fiscally stable. The goals in this case would be to guarantee Federal subsidies to insurers, and to reduce patient premiums while keeping essential benefits.
Do you think that people realize that the more people sign up for the ACA, the more stable it will be ? Well, it's true. It's easy. Go to heathcare.gov to see if you qualify.
South Carolina has argued that a “ human being is a person at fertilization”. They have created a legal category “preborn humans” which incidentally my spell check refuses to recognize, and they propose these preborn humans be afforded due process and all protections under the law. ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, opposes the bill since it is not based on science.
A 20 week ban on abortion failed the Senate. The bill’s proponents advanced the bill on the basis of their belief that 20 week fetuses can feel pain. ACOG has gone on record saying “ the fetus does not have the physiological capacity to perceive pain until at least the 24th week of gestation.”. We as a medical culture have a great deal of experience with 24 week babies since they routinely come to any large newborn ICU. Had the bill passed, it would have been challenged under the standing Roe V. Wade.
Idaho has introduced a bill which introduces misinformation into the informed consent language for medical (pill based) abortion. The bill’s language asserts that medical abortion can be halted after the first of two pills is taken. The bill further requires providers to provide a list of other providers who can advise about “ abortion reversals”. None of the bills assertions are based in fact. A patient contemplating a medically induced abortion should not proceed if she has any doubts, since there is no evidence reversal is possible. I feel angry on behalf of distraught women who may be told this misinformation and who try to rely on it.
A group of private donors has bankrolled the provision of medical abortion services for all public universities in California. A bill is under debate which will require public universities to provide this service.
Another bill proposed in California would require larger businesses with new construction to provide space for breastfeeding. The bill stipulates these areas need to be be in place by 2019.
The Utah bill which will require the offering of IUDs through Medicaid has passed the House and is heading to the Utah Senate. Republican lawmaker Ray Ward, has proposed the measure to decrease unplanned pregnancies, teen pregnancies, and abortions.
Medicaid expansions may be able to move forward in several traditionally red states if they are paired with work requirements. What do you think ?
Researchers out of UC San Francisco have come out highlighting the adverse effect of marijuana on the unborn. Dr. Dana Gossett has cited several recent studies which indicate marijuana increases risk of still birth and adversely affects how the babies brain develops. ACOG has already come out formally warning pregnant women not to use. This could potentially turn out to be a huge generational problem if these children, as a generation, have significant delays. This research also raises the question of what is marijuana does to the brains of children and adults who use. This research also raises the issue that state policy on marijuana has been made without any reference whatsoever to available science.
Preliminary date from a Dutch population based study indicate that women with implants may be somewhat more likely to develop anaplastic large cell lymphoma. Further studies are needed to clarify the risk.
It has been well established that obese women have an increased incidence of breast cancer based on weight aone. However it is now becoming clear that even fat/skinny women are also at increased risk. This means even a woman of normal overall weight with a high body fat percentage has increased risk.
TDAP stands for tetanus diphtheria and acellular pertussis. This vaccine is given to children and to pregnant women. It turns out that that protection is afforded to the baby through the mother no matter when mother gets the vaccine in her pregnancy. Upshot: It is never too late to get a TDAP in pregnancy. Babies first vaccinations are not until 2 months, so baby needs passively acquired immunity from mom getting her shot in pregnancy.
This season’s flu is on tract to be the worst of the decade. already it has surpassed the 2009 “ swine flu” epidemic. As f this writing, flu has led to 37 pediatric deaths nationwide. You may have heard that this year’s vaccine is only partially effective. This is true, but some protection is better than none. Get you and your loved ones vaccinated. Do not go to work of you are sick. Ask sick co-workes to go home. Do not take sick children to day care. Wash you hands twitch soap when you arrive at home. Be assertive ! If you think you have been exposed to flu, call your health care provider. You may be eligible for preventive medication, and certainly are if you are pregnant or immunocompromised.
A new Zika vaccine has been fast tracked by the FDA. It is called TAK-426 and is currently being tested on 240 people between the ages of 18 and 49.
Women have autoimmune disease 9 times more often then men. I will therefore report on two news items of interest to those with autoimmunity. The first pertains to Rheumatoid Arthritis. A new study has shown that women with Rheumatoid Arthritis tend to deteriorate after menopause. This hints at a relationship between autoimmunity and reproductive hormones. Unfortunately the relationship is not yet clear. Meanwhile, those with these issues should talk to their Gynecologist about navigating through menopause in a way that minimizes difficulty and risk.
The second has to do with lupus, a condition which I have. New research indicates that a gene called “ Toll Like Receptor 7 (TLR-7) ” may be involved. Normally, only one copy (allele) a gene is active in a given individual. However, in lupus patients the second copy of TLR-7 does not deactivate as it should. The normal role of TLR-7 involves activation of type 1 interferon signaling which is critical to antiviral immunity. However too much of this powerful immune response can be damaging. Lupus nerds stay tuned with cautious optimism.
Stay tuned next week, here, for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology.