Health Updates 30 June 2011

  • Feds examining a mathematical glitch in the health law: “Older adults of the same age and income with similar medical histories would pay sharply different amounts for private health insurance…As the health care law is now written, those who take early retirement would get a significant break on health insurance premiums.  That’s because part or all of their Social Security benefits would not count as income in figuring out whether they can get federal subsidies to help pay for coverage until they become eligible for Medicare at 65…Other officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the issue is politically sensitive,  said the administration is concerned because the situation could create a perception that some people are getting a worse deal compared with their less-industrious peers.” (Associated Press)
  • Study suggests UN peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti: “The study is the strongest argument yet that newly arrived Nepalese peacekeepers at the base near the town of Mirebalais brought with them the cholera, which spread through the waterways of the Artibonite region and elsewhere in this impoverished Caribbean country.  The disease has killed more than 5,500 people and sickened more than 363,000 others since it was discovered in October, according to the Haitian government”. (Associated Press)
  • Federal government plans a stealth investigation into patient care: “Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of ‘mystery shoppers’ to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.” (NY Times)
  • Snacking drives overeating in US, not portion size: “According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day.  Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average – a 29% increase”.  Experts blame food advertising and other marketing for the shift from three meals per day to constant snacking and eating.  Frequent, often mindless, nibbling has become the norm.  Doctors still recommend sticking with three meals per day, and choosing healthy, fresh snacks over processed foods – always keeping portions in check.  (Huffington)

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