Healthcare Industry Leaders Meet With Obama to Announce Cost Cutting
Healthcare industry groups are set to tell President Obama today that they intend to reduce their rates by $2 trillion by 2019, the Associated Press reports. Groups representing hospitals, insurance companies, drug makers, and doctors are expected to pledge to cut spending increases by 1.5 percent per year for the next decade. Their plan may free up cash to help provide health coverage for the almost 50 million Americans without it. "The industry groups are trying to get on the administration bandwagon for expanded coverage now in the hope they can steer Congress away from legislation that would restrict their profitability in future years," according to the AP. The most important aspect of their proposed rate reduction may be that savings would also go to the people, not just government. "That's a crucial distinction because specific federal savings are needed to help pay for the cost of expanding coverage," the AP reports.
Here's a U.S. News roundup of what other publications have said about the development. Read what Michelle Andrews wrote in March about the new COBRA subsidy, another Obama administration effort to help the uninsured. And find out if you can count on the subsidy to ease your coverage woes.
When Sleep Problems Become Legal Problems
When people with sleep disorders turn criminal, sleep experts can sometimes help explain their actions, U.S. News's Lindsay Lyon reports. Murder, sexual assault, DUI, child abuse, and suicide are a sampling of crimes investigated by Sleep Forensics Associates, a group that lawyers and law enforcement officials have turned to when investigating crimes that may be explained by a sleep problem. Inappropriate or unwanted sleep behaviors, also called parasomnias, can include sleepwalking, sleep driving, and sleep sex, which are 3 of the 4 parasomnias experts consider the most legally problematic. Investigators are looking for patterns in the cases that might illuminate the physiologic mechanisms underlying bizarre sleep behaviors.
While sleepwalkers and other people who have parasomnias are usually harmless, some have become violent. Lyon recounts 7 gruesome crimes that invoked the "'sleepwalking defense,"' a legal argument that a criminal defendant isn't culpable because he or she acted while in a sleeplike state.
If you're looking to get better sleep, Lyon stirred up 10 ways to ease insomnia back in March. And a U.S. News report gave good reasons not to ignore insomnia since the disorder can be a sign of underlying medical or psychiatric problems, including sleep apnea and depression.
Fiber Sources: Soluble, Insoluble, and Beyond
Fiber's health benefits may encourage you to stock your diet with fiber-filled foods. While that's a good idea, it's worth remembering that different sources of fiber yield different benefits. Soluble fiber, for example, is linked to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and helps regulate blood glucose levels. Foods high in soluble fiber—named for its ability to dissolve in liquids—include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, and barley, among others. On the other hand, whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, carrots, and cabbage are examples of foods high in insoluble fiber, which helps digestion.
While not technically fiber, undigested, or "resistant," starches found in legumes and potatoes promote the growth of good bacteria in the stomach. Here's a new field guide to sources of fiber and resistant starch that'll help you know which foods to seek out in the grocery aisle. Previously, U.S. News described 7 amazing jobs your gut bacteria do.
The recommendations for daily fiber intake call for about 25 grams for women and 38 for men, and research shows many people get only about 15 grams. Experts' advice is to eat an array of plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.