Under the ACA, the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance providers were required to cover the full range or reproductive health services including birth control and abortion. However, a suit filed by two Christian has succeeded in blocking the part of the mandate that pertains to coverage of the abortion pill. DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services ) will no longer be able to enforce this portion of the mandate against them.
The US provides health care aid to many countries. In those health care systems, birth control and abortion services are provided. However the US Gag rule has prevented funds from continuing to go to countries which provide abortion services. . The Trump administration has created auspices under which exceptions to the gag rule may be obtained. This is because there are some such countries whose national law requires health care providers to include information about such services. Such countries may continue to receive US aid under what is being called the “ affirmative duty defense”. Theater loophole, the “passive duty” exception, the US may continue to supply funding if abortion is legal in that country.
Texas continues to rally. Texas comes in at 47th in vaccination rates. A new group called the Texas HPV coalition aims to increase this rate to 80% before 2026, stemming a tide of HPV related diseases including cancer.
As previously reported, Texas had shot itself in the foot by defunding and otherwise weakening primary health care for the poor, and reproductive health care in general. It has also been early in the race to defund Planned Parenthood and teen pregnancy prevention programs. Now its teen pregnancy rates, and more worryingly, the material morbidity and mortality rates are skyrocketing. Texans are now are trying to circle the wagons. In particular, the Dallas City Council has by itself resolved to spend $300,000 on a program to curb teen pregnancy rates.
Nationally the same logic is at work. This coming week the Senate will vote on a bill which will create “Maternal Mortality Review Committees” that track and investigate maternal mortality.
Physician leadership is again voicing its defense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A recent article in Forbes has highlighted the uniform positions of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Psychiatric Association. How can this not give the administration pause ?
An Oregon county has sued the Trump administration for their new guideline which give preferential funding to health care programs that promote abstinence. If they prevail, it could block these guidelines nationwide.
Because contraception has now somewhat unexpectedly become such a controversial topic, the medical community is lobbying harder and harder for drug companies and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration to make birth control an over the counter medication. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have long advocated for this regard the oral contraceptive pill. Now the American Medical Association was set to consider a resolution to this effect.
Vitamin D is increasingly in the spotlight. This time, new study has shown that adequate levels of vitamin D protect against miscarriage. Women at high latitudes in areas with little sunlight and little seafood are more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
A new study out of Duke indicates that young women’s exercise rates drop off after high school. Additionally they drop off more quickly than do mens. More research is needed to understand and correct this phenomenon.
Remember the Zika virus epidemic ? A new study shows that over half of Floridians took no precautions whatsoever against the virus. The report has shown that much more education is needed.
Here is a sad commentary on out profession and on our relatively affluent population: Less than10 percent of our population get the recommended screening and counseling pertaining to preventive health care. This pertained to basics like measurements of vital signs and blood tests, but also to imaging studies like mammograms and colonoscopies for colon cancer screenings. Preventive health screening should also include counseling on weight, tobacco and alcohol use, screening for depression and currency on vaccinations.
Alcohol is harder on women than it is on men. This may be related mainly to weight. A new study indicates that young women who drink regularly and heavily ( 4-5 alcoholic drinks) are probably destined for low bone density such as osteoporosis. Women have little androgen (male hormone) compared to men, and androgen protect bone. Estrogen does too, but its production ceases after menopause, when osteoporosis is at its highest risk. Young women need to realize they are likely olive considerably longer than their mother and grandmothers. To do so in comfort and wellness, they need to take really good care of themselves.
Stay tuned for more news from the fascinating world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here, next week on Medical Monday.