Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed
Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week’s selections include stories on aging, do-it-yourself health care, HIV and more.
Major Health Firms Invest In Fund To Drive Black-Founded Health Companies
Jumpstart Nova is the first U.S. fund to exclusively target black-founded health care companies, and it has secured input from Eli Lilly, HCA and more. In other news, Medicare payment advisers approved a rise in hospital payments by 2% for 2023, but chose to keep the physician fee schedule static.
California Plans To Permanently Ban Sex-Offending Doctors From Practice
In other news, a wave of fraudulent claims has caused a freeze in claims for disability insurance which the San Francisco Chronicle warns could impact genuine claimants. Meanwhile, Texas is suing to get over $10 million Medicaid payments given to Planned Parenthood to aid poorer patients.
Puerto Rico Mandates Boosters For All Students Over 12
The U.S. territory is suffering a surge driven by the omicron variant, with a positivity rate spiking above 36%, Axios reports. At the same time across the globe, an article in Bloomberg says, the World Health Organization is warning Africa’s weekly covid shot rate needs to rise six-fold to reach the target of 70% vaccination by mid-2022.
Research Links Epstein-Barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis
In a fascinating breakthrough, Harvard researchers have found that the common Epstein-Barr virus (a common herpes virus) may cause multiple sclerosis. In other news, UCLA scientists have made a step forward in combating HIV by targeting dormant antiretrovirals found in cells.
Biogen Pushes Back Against Medicare Decision Over Alzheimer’s Drug
The decision to strongly limit the circumstances in which Biogen’s controversial drug can be used has caused the drugmaker to urge patients and doctors to “show their disapproval,” Bloomberg reports. Other news outlets cover the fallout from the Medicare decision, including confusion over costs.
Pig Heart Recipient Has Violent Past — Should That Matter? Doctors Say No
News reports have unearthed that patient David Bennett Sr., 57, repeatedly stabbed a young man 34 years ago. The victim, Edward Shumaker, spent two decades in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the waist down, and died in 2007 at age 40, his sister said. But Bennett’s doctors say a person’s past has no bearing on the medical care they receive.
Senate Panel Advances Califf’s FDA Nomination
In 13-8 vote, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee moved forward Robert Califf’s nomination to lead the Food and Drug Administration. Other news from Capitol Hill reports on the “Fauci Act” as well as upcoming fiscal battles that will impact federal health spending.
New Mexico Considers Using National Guard At Short-Staffed Schools
If New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, carries out her plan it could be a first in the U.S. Educational staffing shortages also prompted a school district in Texas to ask parents to serve as substitute teachers. Meanwhile, covid is surging among school-age kids.
More Big Cities See Glint Of Hope That Omicron’s Tide Might Be Turning
Cleveland, Newark, New York City, Chicago and Washington, D.C., have reported that cases appear to be leveling off or declining. Still, the CDC projects that more than 62,000 people could die from covid in the next four weeks.
Nurses Strike Over Working Conditions As More Health Workers Get Covid
News outlets cover the ongoing effect of the pandemic on health care workers across the country, including Chicago nurses joining strikes over working conditions, the way some nurses are treated if they test positive, the number of workers catching covid and how it strains hospital systems.
A Gene May Make You More Susceptible To Severe Covid
Scientists in Poland have identified a gene linked to severe illness and death from covid. Other research shows unvaccinated pregnant people are at higher risk of complications from covid than unvaxxed people, and infections led to less mobility for some patients over 50, even for mild cases.
White House To Provide Free ‘High-Quality’ N95 Masks To The Public
The goal is to help beat the spread of omicron. Other efforts to distribute KN95 and N95 masks are also happening, driven by private individuals and at the state level. Also: How to store and reuse these types of masks, and how to avoid counterfeit versions.
Biden Disappointed By Court’s Decision, Urges Employers To Require Covid Shot
President Joe Biden lamented the Supreme Court’s private workplace decision, which is a blow to his efforts to control the covid pandemic. “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law,” he said in a statement, while also calling on private businesses to “do the right thing” and require vaccinations.
Biden Doubles At-Home Test Buy; Requests For Billion Free Kits Kick Off Next Week
President Joe Biden says Thursday that the federal government is acquiring an additional 500 million at-home rapid covid tests — doubling the initial purchase last month. The website by which Americans will be able to request free tests will launch next week, the president also announced, though it’s unknown when deliveries will start.
ACA Sign-Ups Exceed 14 Million As Saturday Enrollment Deadline Nears
January 15 is the last day for Americans to enroll on healthcare.gov and most state exchanges. A week before that deadline, a record 14.2 million had signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act program.
Supreme Court Strikes Down Vaccine Rule For Private Employees, Allows Mandate For Health Workers
A 6-3 majority said that OSHA likely does not have the power to set a vaccinate-or-test requirement for private businesses — one that would have impacted an estimated 84 million workers. In the other case, the Supreme Court did allow CMS’ rule to proceed that mandates the covid vaccine for the 10 million health professionals who work at a medical facility that gets federal funding.
First Edition: Jan. 14, 2022
Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.
With No End in Sight to Pandemic Life, Parents Find Disruption Is the New Normal
Amid covid-related staffing shortages and testing requirements, school systems are stretched thin. And so are parents’ nerves.