Health Highlights: June 7, 201306/07/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Obama Touts Health Care Exchanges
A targeted, localized strategy to convince young people to
enroll in the new health care exchanges was highlighted by
President Barack Obama on Friday during a visit to California.
"Competition and choice are pushing down costs in the individual market, just like the law is designed to do," Obama said at a stop in San Jose, USA Todayreported.
The exchanges are online marketplaces where people can buy
health insurance. Enrollment lasts from Oct. 1 2013 through March
2014. Coverage through the exchanges begins in January 2014.
California, Texas and Florida are the focus of Department of
Health and Human Service efforts to encourage people -- especially
young adults -- to sign up when enrollment in the health exchanges
begins. About one-third of expected enrollees live in those three
About 6 million people in California are eligible, and 2.6
million are entitled to receive help paying for their plans. In
that state, the federal government is promoting the health
exchanges through partnerships with Spanish-language media and The
California Endowment, and by providing grants to Community Health
"Quality, affordable care is not some earned privilege. It's a right," Obama said in his San Jose remarks. He made a similar pitch last month in Texas, USA Todayreported.
The government is looking to enroll a total of 30 million people
in the exchanges, but is aiming for 7 million in the first
In an op-ed article in the San Jose
Mercury Newspublished to coincide with Obama's visit,
Republicans said the new health care plan will wind up hurting most
Americans by increasing their health costs,
New, More Accurate Test for Down Syndrome
A new test is more accurate than current methods of determining
whether a fetus has Down syndrome, according to U.K.
Their study of 1,000 pregnancies showed that the test of fetal
DNA in a mother's blood reveals if there is either a more than 99
percent chance, or a less than one in 10,000 likelihood, that a
baby has Down syndrome,
The test can also be given earlier in pregnancy than other tests
and could help women decide if they require further, invasive
tests, the King's College London team said.
The research appears in the journal
Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Judge Suspends Age Rule for Another Child Needing Lung
The judge who ordered that a dying 10-year-old girl be placed on
the adult waiting list for a lung transplant has made a similar
ruling for an 11-year-old boy.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ordered that a
12-and-over age requirement be suspended for Sarah Murnaghan, who
has end-stage cystic fibrosis. He then made a similar ruling
Thursday for Javier Acosta, who also has cystic fibrosis, the
Acosta's mother filed a lawsuit Thursday after Baylson made his
ruling in Murnaghan's case. An expert questioned the court rulings,
which apply only to these two children, on medical and ethical
"When a judge steps in and says, 'I don't like these rules, I think they're arbitrary,' they better be very arbitrary or he's undermining the authority of the whole system," Dr. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University Langone Medical Center, told the AP.
New Rules Would Require Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized
Labels on beef would have to disclose whether the meat was
mechanically tenderized, under proposed new rules announced
Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
About a quarter of the beef sold in the U.S. is mechanically
tenderized, an unlabelled process which uses needles or blades and
regulators say contributes to contamination with E. coli and other
Consumer groups have campaigned for labeling of mechanically
tenderized meat, pointing to studies that show the needles can push
E. coli from the surface deep inside the meat where it is harder to
kill through cooking. Mechanically tenderized beef looks no
different than non-tenderized beef.
The labels disclosing the use of mechanical tenderizing will
also have to include cooking instructions to help protect
consumers. The new rules could take effect as soon as next year,
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.