Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:29 am
Drugs that help women become pregnant have replaced in vitro fertilization as the main culprit behind high-risk multiple births, according to a study looking at births of triplets and higher-order multiples.
"IVF, which is usually the one we tend to point fingers at, was not the leading culprit," says Eli Adashi, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Brown University who was senior author of the study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It's lunchtime at Oakland High School in Oakland, Calif., and that means fence hoppers. Several kids wear mischievous grins as they speedily scale a 12-foot-high metal perimeter.
In theory, anyway, Oakland High is a "closed campus." That's done in the interest of safety and security and to cut down on school-skipping. It means kids can't leave during school hours without parental consent, especially at lunchtime. But it doesn't stop several students from breaking out.
The University of California, Santa Barbara is experiencing a meningitis outbreak a lot like the one that hit Princeton earlier this year. The California university confirmed a fourth case of meningococcal disease on Monday.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 3:41 pm
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires health plans that offer benefits for mental health and substance use to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical and surgical care.
Among other things, the law prohibits treatment limits and copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan's medical coverage.
The Obama administration is renewing its sales push for the president's signature health care law. On Wednesday, officials host a "youth summit" at the White House, where young people will be encouraged to sign up for insurance coverage. Their participation is crucial to help balance out the cost of insuring older, sicker people.
Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 11:02 am
A newer form of mammogram may do a better job of finding cancer, a study finds. But the technology is still too untested to know if it's going to be useful for most women or even to know for sure who might benefit.
It's called breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography. Since being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2011, the new type of scan has been touted by radiologists.
With HealthCare.gov able to handle an increasing number of users, the Obama administration finally went on the offensive to urge Americans to sign up for new health insurance. The administration had planned a massive advertising and social media campaign to support the Affordable Care Act back in October, but the push was delayed for two months after the health insurance exchange website failed in its debut. The effort comes as the deadline for people to sign up for coverage starting next year looms.
While conceding that "more problems may pop up as they always do when you're launching something new," President Obama on Tuesday said the troubled HealthCare.gov website "is working well for the vast majority of users" and his Affordable Care Act "is working and will work into the future."
"We may never satisfy the law's opponents," Obama added during an afternoon event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House. But, he said, "we know the demand [for health insurance] is there and we know the product on these marketplaces is good."
Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:30 am
Overweight or obese people are indeed more likely to die prematurely than people of normal weight, say researchers who've analyzed the data. Their conclusion throws cold water on recent studies that have found some excess weight isn't so bad.
Earlier this year, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that overweight people actually live a bit longer than their skinnier peers.
Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.
Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 4:45 pm
Commemorating the 25th World AIDS Day a day late, President Obama announced an initiative Monday to find a cure for HIV infections that would be funded by $100 million shifted from existing spending.
"The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put people into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies — or better yet, eliminate it completely," Obama said at a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.
African-Americans are the racial group most affected by HIV in the U.S., and many black churches are stepping in to do something about it. Pastor Timothy Sloan of Texas talks with host Michel Martin about destigmatizing the disease from the pulpit.
Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 11:07 am
Tambra Momi has been eagerly awaiting the promise of guaranteed health insurance.
Since 2011, she has battled Dercum's disease, a rare and painful condition in which noncancerous tumors sprout throughout her body, pressing against nerves.
Jobless and in a wheelchair, Momi needs nine different drugs, including one costing $380 a month, to control the pain and side effects. No insurer has been willing to cover her, she says, except a few that have taken her money and then refused to pay for her medications.
A new study shows cancer rates are higher in downstate Illinois. Smoking may be the reason.
A report from the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and the Illinois Department of Public Health of public health says the southern two thirds of Illinois have higher cancer rates and lower survival rates than those in the northern part. The study looks at two decades worth of cancer statistics. SIU Med School's David Steward says the likely culprit is lung cancer, which is especially higher in Men.
In this, the first week of December, the Obama administration says it has met its self-imposed deadline of fixing the troubled healthcare.gov web site. And it says people should be able to sign up for health insurance. So, is it fixed and when will we know for sure?
When high school junior Nora Huynh got her report card, she was devastated to see that she didn't get a perfect 4.0.
Nora "had a total meltdown, cried for hours," her mother, Jennie Huynh of Alameda, Calif., says. "I couldn't believe her reaction."
Nora is doing college-level work, her mother says, but many of her friends are taking enough advanced classes to boost their grade-point averages above 4.0. "It breaks my heart to see her upset when she's doing so awesome and going above and beyond."
Calling the improvements "night and day" from October, the Obama administration says it has met its goal of getting the troubled HealthCare.gov site working for a "vast majority" of users. But that's only part of a complex technology system that is designed to end with insurance companies providing coverage for millions of consumers.
Mississippi is one of those states with a large number of uninsured, yet only a fraction of people have signed up for coverage. Some of the problems are related to the website, but it's also been a challenge to just get the word out. So, to get people onboard, one insurance company decided to take enrollment on the road. Jeffrey Hess with Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports on the insurance buses now rolling across the state.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. While many Americans are enjoying a four-day holiday this weekend, computer programmers have been working furiously to meet a White House deadline to improve the government's troubled Affordable Care Act website. As of today, most of the fixes were supposed to be done, meaning the site can handle as many as 50,000 users at once. In a press conference this morning, the administration declared victory. Here's Jeff Zeints of the White House.
The Obama administration set a self-imposed deadline of the end of November to have the major kinks worked out in HealthCare.gov, the website at the center of implementation for the Affordable Care Act. In the hours before its deadline, the site was taken offline for repairs. But the White House says the site is in much better shape than it was two months ago, when it launched and promptly failed to work for most users.
Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 9:21 am
The experience has been mixed for three people who signed on to the website to buy insurance. Scott Simon asks an office manager, a family therapist and a social media manager if they think the process has improved.
Saturday is the day the Obama administration set as its deadline for making HealthCare.gov a "smooth experience" for most users.
A tech-savvy team of engineers, database architects and contractors has been working through the holiday to ensure the White House makes good on that promise, but judging the success of their efforts may take some time.