Google Hor

Health News

What Senate Republicans are saying about their health care bill

Last Updated Jun 22, 2017 2:10 PM EDT

Senate Republicans unveiled a "discussion draft" of the bill Thursday of their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that would end the health care law's penalties for people who don't buy insurance, cut back the expansion of Medicaid, while keeping protections for people with pre-existing conditions, compared to the House-passed bill.

Republicans need a simple majority to pass it, rather than a supermajority since they're using the budget reconciliation process. They may still have to rely on Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate currently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means if all Democrats vote against the bill , only three no votes from Republicans can torpedo it.

Here is what Senate Republicans have said so far about the bill: 

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana : He told reporters on June 22, "I have yet to read the text so I have to first say that. I do think there's a lot of effort to lower premiums immediately and to provide certainty to insurance companies providing that coverage and so I'm pleased about that...I still have to see what the generosity of the credits are so that as [Medicaid] is scaled back, we don't lose the the ability for lower-income folks to be able to afford insurance and that's why I need to review the text."  

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas : He issued a joint statement with Sens. Rand Paul, Ron Johnson and Mike Lee on June 22: "Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor. There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."  

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nevada : In a statement on June 22, he said, "At first glance, I have serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid. I will read it, share it with Governor Sandoval, and continue to listen to Nevadans to determine the bill's impact on our state...As I have consistently stated, if the bill is good for Nevada, I'll vote for it and if it's not – I won't."

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona : He told reporters on June 22, "There's a lot to absorb, looking at it in writing and come to a decision. I think it's a good proposal overall. We'll have to look at it. It's the first time we really looked at."   

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky : Speaking on the floor on June 22, he said, "I'm pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different Members, who represent so many different constituents, who are facing so many different challenges.

...

Eye-tracking technology helps diagnose concussions

The football world has been searching for an answer to the concussions crisis for years. The sport has tried everything from new rules, to new high-tech helmets, with varying degrees of success in the reduction of the frequency and severity of head injuries players suffer.

While reducing concussions is the main goal, better diagnosing and treating concussions is a part of the process, too. Spotters and independent sideline physicians have been introduced to sidelines at college and NFL games in recent years to try and identify players who may have been concussed during the run of play, but there are still times when standard concussion tests don't catch a player who's been concussed. At Stanford University, the football program has adopted a new technology that could help change the game in terms of diagnosing concussions.

The technology is called Eye-Sync, from the company SyncThink and it is the brainchild of neurosurgeon Dr. Jamshid Ghajar , director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center and a president of the Brain Trauma Foundation, CBS San Francisco reports . Eye-Sync is a portable VR headset that, through an objective test of the athlete's eyes, can help sports medicine professionals determine whether an athlete needs to be removed from play within a minute.

It works on the basis of eye-tracking. Ghajar explains that when your brain is functioning correctly, your eyes are not just providing vision, they're also helping you to synchronize with your surrounding environment. This process is what allows you to swing and connect with a tennis ball in one smooth process as opposed to waiting for your eyes to diagnose where the ball is and then starting your swing. When you take a hit to the head, that process can be interrupted. That's where Eye-Sync comes in.

"Basically, people feel out of sync, their timing is off because they're unable to predict when things are going to happen," Ghajar said in a phone interview. "That's really dangerous, because if you send somebody back into play and they've got the inability, then they'll get another concussion or another injury. Detecting that early on, on the sideline, screening somebody very quickly and accurately and reliably is really important. Fortunately, the eyes are responsible not only for vision, but they move in response to vision. So, you can actually measure how well somebody synchronizes with the outside world using eye movement.

"What we do is, we have VR glasses with a red dot going around a circle and cameras inside the glasses so you can actually see where the eyes are moving. We see how well the eyes synchronize with the visual stimulus, the dot going around the circle. The test is 15 seconds, it's repeated twice, and then a report comes out, so the whole process is very quick, generally under a minute."

Based on the information in that report, the sports medicine professionals can then make a determination as to whether or not the player is safe to return to play,

...

Senate GOP unveils health care plan after weeks of secrecy

Senate Republicans  unveiled a "discussion draft" of the bill Thursday of their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that would end the health care law's penalties for people who don't buy insurance, cut back an expansion of Medicaid, but would keep protections for people with pre-existing conditions, compared to the House-passed bill.

Here's the full text of the "discussion draft" of the bill .

The 142-page measure would provide tax credits, based on income, age and geography, which would make more money available to lower income recipients to help them buy insurance. This differs from the House bill, which tied its tax credits to age. Obamacare taxes would be repealed under the bill. The Senate bill would provide for expanded tax-free Health Savings Accounts, and it would also eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Medicaid would be phased out under the bill beginning in 2021, with gradual reductions until 2024 in the amount of federal Obamacare funds that have financed the entitlement program's expansion. The Senate bill would also slash funding to Medicaid from what Republicans call "gimmicks that drive up federal costs." President Trump repeatedly promised during the 2016 presidential campaign that he would not cut Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, aims to hold a vote on the legislation before lawmakers leave at the end of next week for the week-long July 4 recess. 

"Obamacare isn't working. By nearly any measure, it has failed, and no amount of 11th-hour, reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something," he said on the floor after the bill was posted. "Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act, and we are."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, noted that the president had asked for a bill with more "heart" than the House bill, but this bill, Schumer said, is "every bit as bad" as the House version and maybe "meaner." "The way this bill cuts health care is heartless," he said on the floor.

"This bill will result in higher costs, less care and millions of Americans will lose their health insurance, particularly through Medicaid," Schumer added.

Republicans need a simple majority to pass it, rather than a supermajority since they're using the budget reconciliation process. They may still have to rely on Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate currently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means if all Democrats vote against the bill , only three no votes from Republicans can torpedo it. Even if Republicans are successful in getting it through the upper chamber, they would then still need to reconcile it with version passed by the House in early May, reach a bicameral agreement with House Republicans, and hold votes in the House and Senate on that version again.

A cost estimate of the bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to be released by early next week. White

...

New hope for seniors with vision-robbing disease

WASHINGTON -- An experimental drug is showing promise against an untreatable eye disease that blinds older adults — and intriguingly, it seems to work in patients who carry a particular gene flaw that fuels the damage to their vision.

Age-related macular degeneration , or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors, gradually eroding crucial central vision. There are different forms but more than 5 million people worldwide, and a million in the U.S., have an advanced type of so-called "dry" macular degeneration that has no treatment. At first patients may notice blurriness when they look straight ahead. Eventually many develop blank spots, becoming legally blind .

"These are seniors who are entering their golden years and now they've lost the ability to read, watch television, see their loved ones," said Dr. Rahul Khurana, a retina specialist and spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The experimental drug, lampalizumab, aims to slow the destruction of light-sensing cells in the retina, creeping lesions that characterize the stage of dry AMD called "geographic atrophy." When those cells die, they can't grow back — the vision loss is irreversible.

In an 18-month study of 129 patients, monthly eye injections of the drug modestly slowed worsening of the disease when compared with patients given dummy shots. What's exciting for scientists came next, when researchers from drugmaker Genentech Inc. took a closer look at exactly who was being helped.

It turns out that nearly 6 in 10 of the study's participants carry a gene variation that makes part of the immune system go awry - a genetic flaw already known to increase the risk of getting macular degeneration in the first place.

Those are the only patients who appeared to benefit from the drug; they had 44 percent less eye damage than the untreated patients, the Genentech team reported Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. While the study is too small to prove if lampalizumab really helps maintain vision, that's a bigger difference than the overall results suggested.

One arm of the immune system, the complement pathway, helps fight infections by attracting immune cells to attack bacteria.

Normally, there's a barrier that keeps such cells away from the retina. But that barrier can break down with age, opening sensitive eye cells to harm from the spillover, explained Genentech immunologist Menno van Lookeren Campagne.

Now for the gene connection: Previous studies have linked macular degeneration to gene variations that remove some of that pathway's natural brakes, so it can become too active.

The hypothesis: Genentech's drug, lampalizumab, essentially offers a backup method for tamping down the immune reaction. An antibody, it works by inhibiting a particular enzyme named factor D that helps power the immune pathway.

"We try to reinsert the braking ability," said study lead author Brian Yaspan, a Genentech senior scientist.

Wednesday's study detected no safety concerns, clearing the way for Genentech and its parent company Roche to open two large-scale studies that aim to prove if the drug works. Results

...

GOP Senate health care bill released

Last Updated Jun 22, 2017 10:51 AM EDT

Senate Republicans unveiled a "discussion draft" of the bill Thursday of their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that would end the health care law's penalties for people who don't buy insurance, cut back an expansion of Medicaid, but would keep more protections for people with pre-existing conditions, compared to a House-passed bill.

The 200-page measure would also eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood and provide tax credits based on income, making more money available to lower income recipients to help them buy insurance. The House bill tied its tax credits to age.

Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, aims to hold a vote on the legislation before lawmakers leave at the end of next week for the week-long July 4 recess.

A cost estimate of the bill from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to be released by early next week. White House staff met with Senate Republican staffers Wednesday night on Capitol Hill to review the bill.

Republicans need a simple majority to pass it, rather than a supermajority since they're using the budget reconciliation process. They may still have to rely on Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote. The Senate currently has 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means if all Democrats vote against the bill , only three no votes from Republicans can torpedo it.

Even if Republicans are successful in getting it through the upper chamber, they would then still need to reconcile it with version passed by the House in early May, reach a bicameral agreement with House Republicans, and hold votes in the House and Senate on that version again.

The House bill, narrowly passed in a 217-213 vote on May 4, would significantly reduce the funding for Obamacare subsidies, revamp tax credits so that they're tied to a person's age, freeze the Medicaid expansion in 2020 and allow states to seek waivers from a rule that requires states to offer essential benefits in their plans and a provision that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more money compared to healthy people. Instead of Obamacare's insurance mandate, the House Republican bill would incentivize people to have continuous coverage whereby if coverage is interrupted for more than 63 days, insurers can charge a 30 percent penalty over the original premium for one year.

The CBO didn't release its cost estimate on the House bill until May 24, which projected that 23 million more people would be without health insurance over the next decade under the bill.

The Senate's version was supposedly crafted by a working group consisting of 13 Republican men -- and no women -- but one of the group's participants, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said even he's been left in the dark. Lee said it's "apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate."

Other Senate Republicans voiced frustration that the process has been too secretive and out of

...
You are here: HispanicAmericans Health