KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Medicare Could Go Broke Due To Mounting Costs Of Alzheimer’s Care, Report Says

Caregiving for patients with the degenerative brain disease has already cost the federal program $259 billion. And in other public health news, research links the Zika virus to heart problems. And health officials confirm that a highly contagious form of bird flu was found at a Tennessee chicken farm.

Miami Herald: Caregiving Costs Associated With Alzheimer's Could Bankrupt Medicare, According To New Report 
While Washington discusses potential cuts to Medicare, a new report says that the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients could bankrupt the national insurance program that provides healthcare to more than 55 million Americans. As the baby boomer generation enters the high-risk years for the degenerative brain disease, the cost of care has already reached $259 billion, according to the report by the Alzheimer’s Association. (Veciana-Suarez, 3/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Zika Linked To Heart Problems
The Zika virus has already been linked to severe brain damage in babies and other conditions in babies and adults. Now there is evidence it may cause heart problems too. In a study conducted at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Caracas, Venezuela, researchers identified nine patients who developed heart rhythm disorders and other serious cardiovascular complications while they had Zika. Only one had had cardiac problems previously—high blood pressure. (McKay, 3/9)

The Associated Press: Bird Flu Cases Revive Fear Of Repeat Of Major 2015 Outbreak
The detection of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu at a Tennessee chicken farm has poultry farmers stepping up security in an attempt to prevent an outbreak like the one in 2015 that required the destruction of millions of chickens and turkeys in the Midwest. The appearance of milder forms of bird flu at a Wisconsin turkey farm and another Tennessee chicken farm has heightened concern. (Karnowski, 3/9)

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