Medical Research, Drug Treatment And Mental Health Are Winners In New Budget Bill

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/03/22/596116779/medical-research-drug-treatment-and-mental-health-are-winners-in-new-budget-bill?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Issue:%202018-03-23%20Healthcare%20Dive%20%5Bissue:14589%5D&utm_term=Healthcare%20Dive

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine (center), is joined on Wednesday by Sen. Lindsey Graham (from left), R-S.C., Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. Collins was pushing for provisions in the budget bill aimed at lowering premiums for people purchasing health insurance in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. That didn’t happen.

 

The big budget deal reached this week in the House doesn’t include a long-sought-after provision to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. But the $1.3 billion plan, set to fund the government through September, has lots of new money for medical research, addiction treatment and mental health care.

Here’s the rundown of what’s included in the 2,232-page spending bill, now in the hands of a Senate vote, based on summaries released by the House and Senate appropriations committees.

  • $78 billion in overall funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, a $10 billion increase
  • $3.6 billion to fight the opioid addiction crisis
    • This more than doubles the money allocated in fiscal 2017 and boosts funding for treatment and prevention, as well as helping to find alternatives for people suffering from pain.
  • $3.2 billion for mental health care
    • This is a 17 percent boost from last year and goes to treatment, prevention and research.
  • $37 billion for the National Institutes of Health
    • This is a $3 billion increase over fiscal 2017 and boosts spending on research into Alzheimer’s disease and a universal flu vaccine, among other things.

Lawmakers could not agree on language designed to stabilize the Affordable Care Act insurance markets and lower insurance premiums that Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, have been fighting for since last fall. That bill would have reinstated the cost-sharing reduction payments, by which the government reimburses insurance companies that give the lowest-income customers a break on their copayments and deductibles.

Last year President Trump announced that the government would stop making the payments, a decision that drove the unsubsidized premiums on insurance policies higher.

Alexander says his proposal would restore those payments and cut premiums as much as 40 percent.

“Nothing is more important to Americans than health care, and nothing is more frightening than the prospect of not being able to afford health insurance, which is the case for a growing number of Americans,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

But Democrats refused to support the provision because it also included language that would have barred any insurance policy sold on the ACA marketplaces from covering abortion.

 

 

 

The surprising link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-air-pollution-alzheimers-20170131-story.html?utm_campaign=CHL%3A+Daily+Edition&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=41764605&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9DiZmgGHX54LqTpQGsAm4ohgFFyJHWy6ijRJ-3gxyi-aPS9QNViqc7K33BgIAVc43xoyt9TPB1HdtN7c-F__ONriUMMQ&_hsmi=41764605

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With environmental regulations expected to come under heavy fire from the Trump administration, new research offers powerful evidence of a link between air pollution and dementia risk.

For older women, breathing air that is heavily polluted by vehicle exhaust and other sources of fine particulates nearly doubles the likelihood of developing dementia, finds a study published Tuesday. And the cognitive effects of air pollution are dramatically more pronounced in women who carry a genetic variant, known as APOE-e4, which puts them at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In a nationwide study that tracked the cognitive health of women between the ages of 65 and 79 for 10 years, those who had the APOE-e4 variant were nearly three times more likely to develop dementia if they were exposed to high levels of air pollution than APOE-e4 carriers who were not.

Among carriers of that gene, older women exposed to heavy air pollution were close to four times likelier than those who breathed mostly clean air to develop “global cognitive decline” — a measurable loss of memory and reasoning skills short of dementia.

While scientists have long tallied the health costs of air pollution in asthma, lung disease and cardiovascular disease, the impact of air pollutants on brain health has only begun to come to light. This study gleans new insights into how, and how powerfully, a key component of urban smog scrambles the aging brain.

Published Tuesday in the journal Translational Psychiatry, the research looks at a large population of American women, at lab mice, and at brain tissue in petri dishes to establish a link between serious cognitive decline and the very fine particles of pollution emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and the burning of biomass products such as wood.

All three of these biomedical research methods suggest that exposure to high levels of fine air pollutants increases both dementia’s classic behavioral signs of disorientation and memory loss as well as its less obvious hallmarks. These include amyloid beta protein clumps in the brain and the die-off of cells in the brain’s hippocampus, a key center for memory formation.

 

Life expectancy in the US has decreased. That’s troubling

http://www.healthcaredive.com/news/life-expectancy-in-the-us-has-decreased-thats-troubling/431984/

Dive Insight:

Recent data show that a human’s lifespan is “fixed and subject to natural constraints” and that the limit of the “world’s oldest person” has not increased since the 1990s, when French woman Jeanne Calment died at age 122.

Still, the CDC’s findings paint a poor picture of the health of the U.S. population, as it shows an increase in “virtually every cause of death,” David Weir from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan was quoted in The Washington Post. In fact, the rate of deaths related to eight of the 10 leading causes of death increased from 2014 to 2015. Only one decreased. The rate for heart disease increased 0.9% while the rate for cancer decreased by 1.7% from 2014 to 2015.

For American males, life expectancy changed from 76.5 years in 2014 to 76.3 years in 2015 and American females saw a decrease from 81.3 years in 2014 to 81.2 years in 2015. Earlier this year, CDC released data that showed more Americans died in 2014 from heart disease than any other cause with 74% of American deaths attributed to the same 10 common causes of death.

Worldwide, a recent study found in 2010, nearly a third of adults had hypertension.

“We’re seeing the ramifications of the increase in obesity,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted in The Washington Post.