Report Says Without Healthcare Reform, States Will Pay Big for Uninsured
A new report suggests that without healthcare reform, the increasing cost of the uninsured will fall on states, Reuters reports. The report, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, showed that over the next 10 years, the number of uninsured would likely increase by 30 percent in most states, according to Reuters. Many of those people would end up enrolling in public insurance programs such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, both of which are state-administered. Each state could expect its spending on such programs to increase by more than 75 percent over the next decade, the foundation says.
7 Ways Medicine Can Beat Back Swine Flu
The first influenza pandemic of this century has spread to virtually every country in the world with a speed reminiscent of its close relative, the catastrophic 1918 flu pandemic, also caused by an H1N1 strain, U.S. News columnist and physician Bernadine Healy writes. As captured in images of lifeless young bodies being carted away in wheelbarrows on the streets of New York, the 1918 pandemic claimed over half a million American lives and more than 50 million worldwide.
However miserable its symptoms may be, this pandemic, now resurging as expected, is so far among the mildest, rated a category 1, similar in ferocity to ordinary seasonal flu. The 1918 pandemic would have clocked in as a 5, the worst category. But the current pandemic promises to teach numerous lessons that will inform future crises. Healy lists 7 lessons medicine can learn to beat back the swine flu pandemic.
For one, vaccine technology must improve. What's lost in the talk about this fall's two separate flu vaccines is that neither is likely to have much impact, Healy writes. The seasonal flu vaccine we have in hand doesn't work for swine flu, which accounts for about 90 percent of what's circulating, and the vaccine that will protect against H1N1 won't be distributed in time to make a difference. Read more.
Did HPV Vaccine Cause a British Girl's Death?
A vaccine that protects against the human papillomavirus made headlines after a 14-year-old British girl, Natalie Morton, died Monday, hours after being injected. The vaccine was Cervarix, not the Gardasil vaccine used in the United States. A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted a few weeks ago to recommend Cervarix—the HPV vaccine of choice in Britain—for approval, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz reports.
As they awaited the results of Morton's autopsy, British health officials stressed yesterday that they don't know whether the vaccine is linked to her death. One health official said that it was "unlikely" that the girl's death was caused by Cervarix and added that parents should still get their daughters immunized.
It may never be known whether Cervarix caused Morton's sudden death, Kotz writes. Her previous reports on Gardasil reveal how tough it is for public-health officials to determine whether suspected vaccine injuries, especially rare events, truly occurred because of the immunization. Read more.
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