A CDC report found that 9% of all Americans, or 28.9 million, were uninsured from January to September 2017, statistically unchanged from a year before but 19.7 million lower than in 2010. Among those ages 18 to 64, 12.7% lacked coverage, 69.3% with coverage had a private plan, and 43.2% had a high-deductible plan, up from 39.4% in 2016.
HHS withdrew an $11.5 billion budget request to fund the Affordable Care Act's risk-corridor program, saying the request was the result of an accounting error, but the president's budget request still includes funding for the program. Two insurers that have sued over unpaid risk-corridor funds stated in court documents that the budget item contradicted the government's argument that it is not obligated to make risk-corridor payments to insurers.
Two Willis Towers Watson surveys found 56% of employers said wellness programs help improve their employees' health, compared with 32% of employees. The research showed 54% of employees said there should be financial rewards for having a healthy lifestyle and 46% said they only would participate in a wellness program if they received a financial incentive.
Some government employers in Idaho are offering yoga classes as part of employee wellness programs. Post Falls HR director Teresa Benner said yoga's stretching and balancing poses may help workers who sit all day and do repetitive tasks, and the city believes the programs can lead to reduced health care costs for surgery and services such as chiropractic care and physical therapy.
Listening to music while walking was associated with a 28% increase in enjoyment of the task, compared with walking without music, and a 13% greater enjoyment compared with listening to a podcast, according to a small study in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise. The outcome was linked to increased beta waves in the cerebral cortex.
Australian researchers found that children and teens with chronic kidney disease had a 10.5 points lower mean intelligence test scores, as well as lower scores in executive function and on visual and verbal memory tests, compared with the general population. The findings in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, based on a systematic review of 34 studies, also showed the lowest scores among those with CKD who underwent dialysis.
Researchers found that adults in the highest quintile of total plasma trans-fatty acid concentration were more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared with those in the lowest quintile. The findings in the Journal of Diabetes, based on data from the 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving 3,801 adults, mean age of 50, revealed that only elaidic acid was associated with diabetes risk in a multivariate model including the four trans fatty acid isomers, with no differences after adjusting for age, race or sex.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is reportedly preparing a package of opioid legislation that includes funding the development of opioid alternatives, expanding access to addiction treatment and addressing how resources are allocated to states.
Illumina pledged to fund a two-year cost-benefit study as part of its outcomes-based contract with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care for prenatal genetic testing.
Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist from Florida, was sentenced to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $42,561,205 in preliminary restitution after being convicted on 67 counts of health care fraud and related offenses in a $73 million Medicare fraud case. Authorities say Melgen intentionally misdiagnosed patients and submitted $73,417,620 worth of fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary eye treatments.
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