Health

Health
5:12 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Caps Supreme Court Arguments

Supporters of the health care law rally in front of the Supreme Court Wednesday, the final day of arguments over its constitutionality.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 1:58 pm

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

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Health
11:20 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Timeline: The Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act and Texas

The U.S, Supreme Court is taking up its third and final day of arguments on the Affordable Care Act today,
Photo courtesy wallyg, flickr.com/70323761@N00

The U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s set of signature health care reforms, has broad implications for the nation and Texas.

This morning’s hearing on the reforms’ effects has Texas ties. State Attorney General Greg Abbott has argued the national expansion of Medicaid coerces states into compliance, an issue the court is taking up today.  

KUT News’ reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, has created a Storify timeline detailing how yesterday’s discussion of the constitutionality of an individual insurance mandate – which was widely seen as critical of the requirement – reverberated in Texas. 

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Health
9:49 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Supreme Court's Medicaid Decision Could Reach Far Beyond Health Care

The final argument the Supreme Court will hear about the new health care law is whether its Medicaid expansion unfairly forces states to participate.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 9:56 am

After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?

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Health
3:21 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

At Supreme Court: Health Care Ruling Still Too Close To Call?

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 11:32 am

Here's some of the early word about today's Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the nation's new health care overhaul law:

-- Five Justices Were Tough: Five members of the court "beat him up pretty hard," NPR's Nina Totenberg says of how the justices treated the counsel representing the government. But she also says, "I don't think you can call this," when asked about whether the court will or won't strike down the so-called individual mandate in the law. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy "seem to be in play," Nina reports.

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Health
9:51 am
Tue March 27, 2012

Justices Tackle The Big Question: Can Congress Force You To Buy Insurance?

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether Congress can require people to buy health insurance.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 3:25 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court gets to the heart of the health care arguments Tuesday. Almost exactly two years after Congress passed the Obama health care overhaul, the justices are hearing legal arguments testing the constitutionality of the so-called health care mandate — so-called because those words actually do not appear in the law.

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Health
8:33 am
Tue March 27, 2012

House Committee Discusses How to Keep Aging Texans Out of Nursing Homes

A House committee discusses ways to help aging Texans navigate the health care system.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

The Texas House Committee on Human Services will meet this morning to discuss how the state can best support the needs of the elderly.

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Health
1:27 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Supreme Court Justices Ask: Can We Rule on the Health Law?

Members of the public line up Monday morning as the Supreme Court begins three days of arguments on the health care overhaul law signed by President Obama in Washington.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 4:09 pm


Does a federal law stretching back to 1867 bar the Supreme Court from deciding on the merits of the administration's health law right now?

The court on Monday heard the first arguments in a historic three-day session that could decide the fate of the Obama administration's signature domestic achievement.

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Health
9:38 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Four Questions That Could Make or Break the Health Care Law

Does the Supreme Court have the jurisdiction to rule on the constitutionality of the health care law right now? That's the question the justices will consider during Monday's oral arguments.
Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Sun March 25, 2012 11:01 pm

It's the hottest ticket in Washington, D.C. Even the flossiest lawyers in town can't get a seat. Senators, congressmen, Cabinet and White House officials are all vying for a place.

At the U.S. Supreme Court, people have been lining up for days, waiting to hear this week's historic oral arguments on President Obama's health care law. The arguments will last for six hours over a three-day period, the longest argument in more than 40 years.

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Health
11:09 am
Fri March 23, 2012

The Storm Over Women's Health Care Had Been Brewing

Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services at TAMHSC.
Photo by Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

In the battle between state leaders and the Obama administration over Texas’ decision to oust health care providers affiliated with abortion clinics from a five-year-old contraception and cancer-screening program, both sides believe they are the victims.

The Obama administration says Texas is violating federal law by limiting where poor women can seek health care, and it announced last week that it was cutting off financing for the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which does not pay for abortions and received $9 in federal financing for every $1 the state contributed.

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Health
12:26 pm
Thu March 22, 2012

Hutchison Urges Perry to Reconsider Health Program

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison talks with supporters at the Bonnie Ruth's Cafe in suburban Frisco, TX during a campaign stop for the Republican nomination for Texas governor.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison broke ranks from her party on Thursday to urge Gov. Rick Perry — her opponent in the 2010 Texas governor's race — to re-negotiate with the Obama administration to keep federal funding for the Medicaid Women's Health Program.

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Health
5:25 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

There's More To Fixing Food Deserts Than Building Grocery Stores

Concepsion Alcantar-Alvarez looks through her cart in the check-out line at a Food 4 Less store in Chicago.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 2:54 pm

There has been a lot of talk about what's wrong with food deserts. First lady Michelle Obama, for one, says far too many people can't access the fruits and vegetables they need to be healthy.

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Health
4:51 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Farmers’ Market Doubles Purchasing Power for Needy Families

Sustainable Food Center, which operates three farmers’ markets, is opening a fourth in Northeast Austin.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/cbroders

A new farmers’ market opens on Austin's eastside tomorrow. And aside from offering fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses, the market offers a special incentive for families needing food assistance.  

The market, located at the YMCA East Communities Branch will be run by the Sustainable Food Center (SFC). It’s the fourth farmer’s market the SFC operated in Austin.

But SFC community relations director Susan Leibrock notes that this center is different: shoppers using a SNAP, Lone Star or WIC benefits card will have their fruit and vegetable purchases matched, up to $10 each week, by the market.

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Health
2:56 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

One Nation, Two Health Care Extremes

A patient waits for a room to open up in the emergency room of Houston's Ben Taub General Hospital on July 27, 2009. Nationwide, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents.
Jessica Rinaldi Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue April 3, 2012 9:59 am

The U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010 — more than the entire economy of France or Britain. But the amount spent and how it's used varies from state to state.

And no two states are more different than Texas and Massachusetts. At 25 percent, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. Massachusetts, where a 2006 law made coverage mandatory, has the lowest rate — fewer than 2 percent of people are uninsured.

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Health
1:45 pm
Mon March 19, 2012

Filling the $30 Million Gap in the Texas Women’s Health Program

The state is looking at whether the $30 million needed can be found within Texas' Health Dept.
courtesy flickr.com/comedynose

Texas Governor Rick Perry has vowed that the Texas Women’s Health Program will continue – but questions persist as to where the state will find the money to do so without Washington.

Gov. Perry has tasked the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to work with state legislators to come up with the 30 million dollars needed to fund the program, which provides cancer screenings, health examinations and contraception to tens of thousands of low-income Texas women.

The funds are needed to replace federal Medicaid money that has been pulled out of the program due to a new Texas law that bars clinics that provide abortions or are affiliated with clinics that provide abortions from receiving funding. The federal funds have been pulled because Washington argues the law – designed to keep Planned Parenthood from participating in the program – is illegal.

Sherri Greenberg is a Professor at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. She told KUT News it’s not going to be easy to find the money, given the cuts that were made to the health department in the last legislative session.

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Health
4:35 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Losing Sleep, Saving Time: Set Your Clock Forward This Weekend

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 6:51 pm

Daylight saving time goes into effect at 2 a.m. tomorrow. Remember the adage, "Spring forward, fall back," and set your clock ahead by one hour before you go to bed tonight.

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Health
2:55 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Suehs: Feds' Stand on Women's Health Sets Bad Precedent

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs (left), and Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The state's health commissioner is blasting the Obama administration's argument that it can't renew a joint state-federal health program because Republican lawmakers have banned Planned Parenthood from participating in it. 

In an uncharacteristically angry letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs argues that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) won't let Texas exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, "then no state can ever confidently apply policies and requirements that advance important and legitimate state interests to regulate providers' participation in Medicaid." 

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Health
12:36 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Majorities In Senate And Public Support Birth Control Coverage

Suitable for health insurance coverage?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 5:10 pm

The Senate has turned back an attempt to kill President Obama's new rules requiring most health insurance plans to provide contraceptives without additional cost.

The 51-48 vote against an amendment to an unrelated highway bill (Yes, that's just how the Senate works) was mostly along party lines.

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Health
11:35 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Texas Lawmakers Split on Saving Women's Health Program

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Two of the Legislature's top public health leaders are defending Republican lawmakers’ pledge to end the entire Women's Health Program rather than allow Planned Parenthood to participate. The joint state-federal reproductive health program provides contraception and cancer screenings — but not abortions — to 130,000 poor Texans, many of them at Planned Parenthood clinics.

"I guess we all need to see what it looks like when we don’t have it, and then we may need to regroup at that point," said state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the chairwoman of the House Public Health Committee. "If we lose the Women’s Health Program, obviously, it’s got to be the top of our list in 2013 to look at and open up the conversation again and move forward because it is a safety net for so many women."

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Health
3:54 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Pediatricians Recommend HPV Vaccination For Boys

Connor Perruccello-McClellan, a senior at Providence Country Day School in Rhode Island, has been vaccinated against HPV, something less than 1 percent of U.S. males can say.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 3:36 pm

The leading group of U.S. pediatricians says it's now time for boys, as well as girls, to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidance to parents and doctors in favor of routine immunization for boys against the virus.

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health
4:52 pm
Sat February 11, 2012

Deconstructing Dengue: How Old Is That Mosquito?

Mosquitoes like this one can carry the virus that causes dengue fever.
James Gathany CDC Public Health Image Library

Originally published on Sat February 11, 2012 10:46 am

Scientists can spend years working on problems that at first may seem esoteric and rather pointless. For example, there's a scientist in Arizona who's trying to find a way to measure the age of wild mosquitoes.

As weird as that sounds, the work is important for what it will tell scientists about the natural history of mosquitoes. It also could have major implications for human health.

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