Health

Health
11:15 am
Thu June 28, 2012

Texas Reactions to SCOTUS’ Affordable Care Act Opinion

flickr.com/brendel

Lone star politicians are wasting no time sounding off on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision this morning upholding the individual mandate at the heart of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature package of health care reforms.

Governor Rick Perry calls the opinion “a stomach punch to the American economy.”  

“Freedom was frontally attacked by passage of this monstrosity,” Perry says, “and the Court utterly failed in its duty to uphold the Constitutional limits placed on Washington. Now that the Supreme Court has abandoned us, we citizens must take action at every level of government and demand real reform, done with respect for our Constitution and our liberty.”

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Health
10:36 am
Thu June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Rules Federal Health Reform Constitutional

Todd Wiseman / Eddie Codel, Texas Tribune

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health care legislation, is constitutional — including the individual mandate that forces Americans to carry health insurance, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decision has far-reaching implications for Texas, where leaders have ardently opposed “Obamacare” even though the state has the country’s highest percent of uninsured residents. In addition to requiring all citizens to purchase health insurance, the law dramatically expands Medicaid, which already makes up close to a quarter of Texas’ state budget.

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8:18 am
Thu June 28, 2012

SCOTUS Health Care Ruling Today?

Lead in text: 
Excuse us if we sound like a broken record, but the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the Affordable Care Act today. NPR's health blog Shots has a quick primer on the issues at stake in the decision.
At the heart of it all is one legal question: Can the federal government compel uninsured people to buy health coverage?Opponents of the law see the so-called individual mandate as coercive and an illegal intrusion by the federal government. Some supporters of the law liken the insurance requirement to the same one for auto coverage.The high court could strike down the law entirely, chuck the mandate and leave other parts of the law intact, or uphold the whole thing.
Health
1:08 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Read The Tea Leaves, But Justices (And Their Clerks) Aren't Telling

The U.S. Supreme Court
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:26 pm

Several dozen people know how the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care law. And it'll stay that way until sometime after 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, when the court releases its opinion to the rest of us.

The decision will have broad societal, economic and legal ramifications, and will play a featured role in the November presidential election. But the justices and their young law clerks — the only ones privy to the deliberations — don't leak opinions. It's virtually unheard of.

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Health
8:57 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Why Many Young Adults Might Lose Coverage if Health Law Falls

Jackson Cahn, who graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., is one of the 3 million young adults the Obama administration says would have risked going without insurance if the health care law hadn't allowed them to stay on their parents' policies. Because of the law, his mother, June Blender, was able to add him to her insurance.
Courtesy of June Blender

Originally published on Thu June 28, 2012 8:39 am

When it comes to health care, even the seemingly easy things become hard.

Take coverage for young adults under the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
9:48 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Supreme Court Punts on Health Care Decision

A health care decision may now come Monday.
flickr.com/envios

Despite wide speculation the U.S. Supreme Court would decide on the constitutionality of President Obama’s signature health care law today, no ruling was forthcoming this morning.

Instead, the high court issued decisions on four other cases, which you can find on the Supreme Court website.

Health
3:17 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Survey: Insiders Think Supreme Court Will Strike Health Care Mandate

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC on June 18.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 12:17 pm

A new survey of 38 former clerks of current Supreme Court justices and 18 attorneys who have argued cases before the high court found that most of them think the court will rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The mandate is the centerpiece of the Obama administration's signature health care law and it is unknown whether the law can survive without that piece.

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Health
12:38 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Health Care Law Grant Helping Austin Clinic Expand

Federal funds will help People's Community Clinic see more patients.
People's Community Clinic

An Austin health clinic is getting $650,000 from the federal government as part of the Obama Administration’s health care overhaul.

People’s Community Clinic is one of more than 200 clinics nationwide to receive money. People’s Community Clinic is using the money to expand access for patients by creating more clinic space.

“Every day there are people who call who would like appointments who we can’t see. And so this is an opportunity to make sure that we have more capacity to meet more of the needs in our community,” said Regina Rogoff, People’s Community Clinic CEO.

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Health
10:07 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Senators Ask Supreme Court To Televise Health Care Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC on June 18.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 3:40 pm

Two members of the Senate's Judiciary Committee are asking the Supreme Court to provide live coverage of its proceedings when it hands down its decision on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law.

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Health
2:42 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

A&M System Lands Major Federal Biosecurity Contract

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A Texas A&M University System-led team has won a major federal contract to develop one of three new national centers — the only one led by a public university system — for developing and manufacturing medicine and vaccines to respond to pandemic diseases and bioterror threats.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the contract on Monday. The other contracts were awarded to Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore and Novartis in North Carolina.

After the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, federal officials realized the need to significantly improve the speed of its response to pandemics. These three centers are expected to be the lead responders in the event of a major national biological outbreak, whatever the cause. The center in College Station is expected to first come online in December 2015.

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Health
12:45 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Insurers Wait for Verdict on Health Care Law - and Profits

Demonstrators both for and against the health care law turned out on the steps of the Supreme Court on March 27, the second day of oral arguments before the court.
John Rose NPR

Originally published on Fri June 15, 2012 5:25 pm

All eyes these days are trained on the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule sometime this month on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

But some people are waiting more anxiously for the court to rule than others. Among them are those with a major financial stake in whether the law goes forward or not and if so, in what form.

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Health
1:00 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Teen HIV Cases on the Rise in Austin

An HIV virus under an electron microscope
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Local officials are warning of an increase in HIV infections in Austin’s adolescent population.

“We’ve identified just in the last few months about five newly confirmed HIV cases,” Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Medical Director Dr. Philip Huang tells KUT News. “By comparison, all of last year in Travis County, we had six cases.”

Dr. Huang couldn’t speak to specific cases, but cited Centers for Diseases Control statistics regarding sexually-active adolescents: some 52 percent of Texas high school students have had sex at least once, and only 54 percent of sexually active students used a condom the last time they had sex.

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Health
2:25 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Gunshot Wounds to the Face Not As Lethal As You Might Think

Photo by kcdsTM http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcdstm/2220683741/

Though shocking and disturbing, many gunshot wounds to the face are not as serious as they appear, Harvard surgery professor and trauma surgeon George Velmahos reminded an audience of trauma surgeons and nurses this morning.

Velmahos joined several other surgeons in giving quick lessons about surgical techniques or advancements as part of the Austin Trauma and Critical Care Conference at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus.

In between surgeon-centered jokes, Velmahos showed provocative photos of patients with gunshot wounds to the face because he said he knew they would elicit a strong response.

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Health
2:01 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Expert: Trampoline Safety Devices Don't Help Much

Photo by rbbaird http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbbaird/4711842910/

The classic backyard entertainment may be more dangerous than assumed warned University of Oklahoma professor of surgery Roxie Albrecht today at a conference focused on trauma and critical care.Her lecture, called “Trampolines are Fun?” explained to surgeons how to treat patients afflicted with a trampoline related injuries.

She said most injuries come from jumping with more than the recommended amount of people on the trampoline. Most trampolines are made for one person.

Albrecht cited research showing children are more likely to get hurt on trampolines in the early evening when guardians are too busy or distracted to watch over them.

“They are more into making dinner and the kids are out on the trampoline trying to hurt themselves,” she said.

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Health
12:22 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Don't Know CPR? You Can 'TAKE10' to Learn It

Would you know what to do if someone collapsed in your office?
Photo courtesy flickr.com/redcrosspdx

The City of Austin wants everyone to take 10 minutes to learn hands-only CPR.

Each year, about 600 people in Austin and Travis County experience cardiac arrest and are treated by EMS. When bystanders perform CPR, survival rates can double or even triple.

Hillary Funk is the Community Integration Coordinator with Austin-Travis County EMS. She says some people are hesitant to perform mouth-to-mouth.

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Health
11:15 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Think Your Commute is Bad? Texas Cyclists Heading to Alaska and Back

Julia Shatilo, pictured right, will embark on a biking journey to Alaska with her teammates to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
Photo courtesy texas4000.org

A group of students called Texas 4000 will embark tomorrow from Austin on the world’s longest annual charity bike ride – all the way to Anchorage, Alaska.

Riders from the community can join the group on the first leg of their 4,687 mile journey this Saturday morning. They leave from Running Brushy Middle School in Cedar Park at 8 a.m. There are several other events leading up to the kick-off that provide opportunities for the community to interact with the riders.

This is the group’s ninth year to make the ride. To date the organization has raised more than $3 million for the Livestrong Foundation.

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Health
4:20 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Group Says Review of Health Insurance Hikes is Just What the Doctor Ordered

A petition is calling for the Texas Department of Insurance to be more proactive in reviewing health insurance rate hikes.
Photo by Wells Dunbar for KUT News

President Obama’s signature healthcare reforms calls for an automatic review of any increase in health insurance costs ten percent or higher.

But an organization promoting better health care access across Texas says the agency in charge of monitoring and reviewing these hikes isn’t doing its job.

The Texas Department of Insurance is responsible for determining whether or not price increases for insurance premiums are justified. This is supposed to help protect consumers from overpaying for insurance.

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Health
8:55 am
Thu May 31, 2012

FDA Rules Corn Syrup Can't Change its Name to Corn Sugar

A sweetener by any other name ...
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 5:41 pm

Corn-based-sweetener manufacturers may be singing a sour tune today. The Food and Drug Administration just ruled that the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup that sweetens many of our candies, sodas and snacks cannot be called "corn sugar." But much like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator character, they'll probably be baaack.

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Health
3:26 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

Backers of Cost-Free Coverage for Birth Control Fault Legal Challenges

Andrew Shaw iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 2:27 pm

You know all those lawsuits now pending around the country charging that the Obama administration's rule requiring most health insurance plans to offer no-cost contraception is a violation of religious freedom?

Well, a whole bunch of supporters of the rule are chiming in now to say that argument has no legal merit.

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health
11:06 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Trained Interpreters Can Help Prevent Medical Errors

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 22, 2012 9:53 am

When someone arrives at the hospital who doesn't speak English very well, it's common for workers at the hospital who are fluent in that language —doctors, nurses, even administrative staff — to step in and act as the patient's interpreter.

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