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Mental Health Problems Rising Among College Students

Amy Ebeling struggled with anxiety and depression throughout college, as her moods swung from high to low, but she resisted help until all came crashing down senior year.

“At my high points I was working several jobs and internships — I could take on the world,” said Ebeling, 24, who graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey last December.

“But then I would have extreme downs and want to do nothing,” she told NBC News. “All I wanted to do was sleep. I screwed up in school and at work, I was crying and feeling suicidal.”

More than 75 percent of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, which is why college is such a critical time.

Ebeling resisted getting therapy, but eventually got a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder from a psychiatrist associated with Ramapo’s counseling office.

“Then everything fell into place,” said Ebeling, who is doing well on medication today.

RELATED: Young Adults and Mental Health: A Guide for Parents

College counselors are seeing a record number of students like Ebeling, who are dealing with a variety of mental health problems, from depression and anxiety, to more serious psychiatric disorders.

“What has increased over the past five years is threat-to-self characteristics, including serious suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors,” said Ashley Stauffer, project manager for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University.

According to its data, collected from 139 institutions, 26 percent of students who sought help said they had intentionally hurt themselves; 33.2 percent had considered suicide, numbers higher than the previous year.

And according to the 2016 UCLA Higher Education Research Institute survey of freshmen, nearly 12 percent say they are “frequently” depressed.



At Ramapo College, counselors are seeing everything from transition adjustment to more serious psychiatric disorders, according to Judith Green, director of the campus’ Center for Health Counseling Services.

Being away from home for the first time, access to alcohol and drugs and the rigorous demands of academic life can all lead to anxiety and depression.

Millennials, in particular, have been more vulnerable to the stressors of college life, Green told NBC News.

“This generation has grown up with instant access via the internet to everything,” she said. “This has led to challenges with frustration tolerance and delaying gratification.”

Millennials tend to hold on to negative emotions, which can lead to self-injury, she said. It’s also the first generation that will not likely do as well financially as their parents.

“Students are working so much more to contribute and pay for college,” said Green. “Seniors don’t have jobs lined up yet.”

‘I dragged myself to the counseling center’

Like Ebeling, many students often experience mental illness breaks in college.

She had been in grief counseling after the death of her father at age 8, and even had therapy — but refused medication — during her teen years.

“I thought that it was weakness — ‘why can’t I just snap out of it?’” she said. “It became apparent it just wasn’t that easy.”

She hit a deep low her senior year.

“I was a crazy over-achiever,” she said. “I got involved in all the clubs and extracurricular activities.” But when her mood dropped, she said, “I couldn’t do anything, but had all those responsibilities.”

“In one class I panicked so much, I freaked out,” said Ebeling. “I dragged myself to the counseling center.”

The resources are available, according to Green, who first counseled Ebeling.

Ramapo reaches out to freshman and their parents at orientation and reinforces the availability of mental health resources throughout the year. The college also maintains an online anonymous psychological screening tool so students can see if therapy might be helpful.

RELATED: Meditation May Help Students Combat High Levels of Stress, Depression

“Students are electronically savvy, so we meet them where they are,” said Green.

They also sponsor wellness fairs so students learn about nutrition, exercise and even financial well-being — “the whole gamut to keep themselves well,” she said.

As for Ebeling, she took her experience and devoted her senior capstone project to learn more about mental illness. “It was therapeutic.”

“Kids going to college need to realize it’s not a weakness,” she said. “They shouldn’t be afraid to get help. ”



“I try to be open and talk about it with friends and family,” said Ebeling. “Don’t shy away from it. It needs to be addressed. Let go of the stigma.”

Ebeling had good communication with her mother regarding her mental health diagnosis, but said other students should consider sharing their medical information if they “feel they have a good support system.”

“I have friends who tried to discuss mental health issues with family members and completely got brushed off, which can be crushing and damaging,” she said.

“I think both students and parents need to keep an open mind, but at the end the of the day, those who are seeking help need to realize that they are doing this for themselves and no one else, and they need to put themselves first and foremost no matter what.”

Tips for Parents from the National Association of Mental Illness:

  • Let your child know that mental health conditions are common — one in five college students — so they don’t feel alone.
  • Emphasize the importance of exercise, sleep and diet.
  • Know the warning signs of mental stress and when and how to seek help. Check out the college’s resources.
  • And because of privacy laws, come up with a plan in advance for which information about mental health can be shared with the parent.

Article source: http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/mental-health-problems-rising-among-college-students-n777286

This GOP Health Bill Proposes New Limits To Medical Malpractice Awards

Calls for tort reform in regards to medical malpractice are popular on the campaign trail. But research shows that costs from medical liability make up just 2 to 2.5 percent of total health care spending in the U.S.

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Calls for tort reform in regards to medical malpractice are popular on the campaign trail. But research shows that costs from medical liability make up just 2 to 2.5 percent of total health care spending in the U.S.

FangXiaNuo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Last week, a jury awarded a Pennsylvania man $620,000 for pain and suffering in a medical malpractice lawsuit he filed against a surgeon who mistakenly removed his healthy testicle, leaving the painful, atrophied one intact.

However, if a bill before the House of Representatives passes, the maximum he would be able to receive for such “non-economic” damages would be $250,000.

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Non-economic damages cover losses that are hard to put a dollar amount on — such as suffering, loss of a limb, pain, and loss of companionship. In addition, medical malpractice awards may include monetary damages to cover medical costs and loss of future wages. Sometimes punitive damages may be awarded as well, as punishment for reckless or other harmful behavior.

The bill H.R. 1215 is part of a package of proposed reforms that supplement the American Health Care Act, the House measure to replace the Affordable Care Act that was narrowly approved in May. The Trump administration has pledged to support the tort reform legislation.

Still, passage is far from certain; groups across the political spectrum oppose the measure. Advocates for patients say such legislation would be unfair to people seriously injured by medical negligence, whose lives are changed forever. Many conservatives don’t embrace it either because it would impose federal standards on tort law, an area where states have traditionally determined the rules.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill would lower health care costs by reducing the premiums of medical liability insurance and the use of health care services by providers worried about being sued. This would lead to lower spending on federal health care programs. The likely overall result, the CBO says, would be to reduce deficits by nearly $50 billion over 10 years.

Supporters of the bill say caps on medical malpractice awards discourage frivolous lawsuits and reduce the cost of health care because providers no longer need to practice defensive medicine.

A Few Doctors Account For Outsize Share Of Malpractice Claims

Yet research shows that costs from medical liability make up just 2 to 2.5 percent of total health care spending.

About half of states have a cap of some sort on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, according to Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, a consumer advocacy organization for civil justice issues.

Under the House bill, states that already have caps on non-economic damage awards could keep those limits in place. In states without such caps, even if the state constitution prohibits them or state courts have struck them down, the federal $250,000 cap would apply.

The case of the Pennsylvania man’s surgery is a “never event” — one of list of around 30 types of serious medical events that experts on patient safety say should never occur. Since Pennsylvania doesn’t have its own cap on non-economic damages, if the House bill had been in effect, it would have limited the $620,000 the jury awarded the patient to $250,000. In this case, the patient, Steven Hanes, also was awarded an additional $250,000 in punitive damages.

Hanes declined to be interviewed, but his attorney, Braden Lepisto, said in an email that his client was shocked to learn of the proposed cap.

The 2 Things That Rarely Happen After A Medical Mistake

“He felt that the $250,000 cap was ridiculous,” Lepisto said of his client, “because that amount would not compensate him for what he has gone through and will go through moving forward.”

He added, “The reality is that there are many individuals who are injured from medical negligence who do not have ‘economic loss’ as defined by the law. Nonetheless, their lives are altered from the pain and suffering, loss of life’s pleasures, and the emotional effects of the injuries.”

The House bill would also come into play in Florida, where earlier this month the state Supreme Court struck down caps on non-economic damages in medical negligence cases because the court ruled they violate the equal protection clause of the state constitution. The House bill would supersede the state court decision and impose the cap in Florida cases.

Although the damages cap is noteworthy, other elements of the House bill also trouble consumer advocates. For example, it would establish a three-year statute of limitations for consumers to bring a lawsuit after an injury, or a one-year limit from the date that the consumer discovers or should have discovered the injury.

“Because it’s [worded as] whichever comes first, for all intents and purposes it’s one year,” said Doroshow. “That is a drastic change. Almost no state has a statute of limitations that severe.”

The bill would also set limits on the amounts that lawyers can recover in contingency fees from legal judgements in consumer cases. This seemingly consumer-friendly provision could actually harm patients, said Doroshow.

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Medical malpractice cases are complex and expensive to bring, she noted. “If you have a law that caps the ability of the attorney to recover from the judgment, they’ll think twice before taking a case,” Doroshow said. “It hurts the patient’s ability to have a competent attorney or any attorney at all.”

Meanwhile, some supporters of tort reform say the House bill goes about it the wrong way.

“The federal government doesn’t really have a legitimate role to play here,” said Dr. Jeffrey Singer, a general surgeon in Phoenix who is also an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, located in Washington, D.C.

Conservatives might be relying too much on the idea of tort reform to bring down the costs of health care, Singer said.

“It’s become almost a part of the canon of people who align themselves with the market-oriented conservative reforms school,” he said. “But it should be done at the state level, and we’re fooling ourselves if we think that it’ll be the magic bullet.”

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Follow Michelle Andrews on Twitter @mandrews110.

Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/28/534465478/this-gop-health-bill-proposes-new-limits-to-medical-malpractice-awards

Senate health care plan: What happens now?

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.

Article source: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/28/politics/senate-health-care-bill-whats-next/index.html

Teva Pharmaceutical CEO says health-care is facing ‘huge disruption’

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Teva Pharma CEO on health-care bill and disruption


The global health-care industry faces a “huge disruption” as technology heavyweights jostle for consumers with traditional providers, the chief executive of a major pharmaceutical company said.

Yitzhak Peterburg, interim president and CEO at Teva Pharmaceutical, told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual June meeting in Dalian that digital disruption is an enabler for health-care and pharmaceutical companies to serve today’s customers.

“I am a very great believer that we are now in a huge disruption within the health-care (industry), and I think it will affect our industry,” said Peterburg. “For me, the digital reform, or whatever we see, is a huge enabler.”

Teva Pharmaceutical, headquartered in Israel, calls itself he largest producer of generic medicines. In specialty medicines, Teva has treatment for multiple sclerosis as well as late-stage development programs for other disorders of the central nervous system.

Big technology names have begun looking into ways they can disrupt the health-care sector through big data analytics, artificial intelligence and other technologies.

Earlier this month, CNBC reported that a secretive team within Apple’s growing health unit has been talking to developers, hospitals and other industry groups about bringing clinical data, such as detailed lab results and allergy lists, to the iPhone. Meanwhile, it was reported in May that Amazon was hiring a business lead to figure out how the company can break into the multibillion-dollar pharmacy market.

Peterburg explained that pharmaceutical companies need to think about ways to navigate this changing landscape, where they face increasing competition from non-pharma players. Being good at manufacturing pills and injections is no longer enough for pharma companies, he said. Consumers, he added, have also changed and they expect very different value from pharmaceutical companies and the health care industry as a whole.

An employee collects newly-manufactured pills at the tablet production plant at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel

“Part of my competitors are not only the Novartis of the world, and the other pharmas, but really the Amazons and Googles,” he said. “Like any company, we need to think about where we invest and how we invest, and what is the right time to jump into the water.”

But the answer to the question is not straightforward, according to Peterburg, because different parts of the health-care industry are not moving at the same pace. “It’s very, very difficult, especially for incumbents, to find the right way and where to move,” he said. “That’s why we have to do it by collaboration maybe with start-ups, with small companies, and try to find the solution.”

Aside from competition from non-traditional players, in some markets, pharma companies also need to navigate regulatory hurdles. For example, in China, Peterburg said Teva has found it challenging to establish a foothold over the last few years.

“China is a challenge,” he said. “Teva was trying in the last — maybe not even few years — to go into China (and) I don’t think we’ve done a great job at this.”

The company has one manufacturing facility in the mainland, according to Peterburg, and it’s speaking with local pharma companies to try and find the right way to succeed in China’s vast market. Regulation is a big hurdle because it takes too long to pass, he said.

“It takes too long, even to register. Now remember, we have the biggest cabinet of drugs in the world. We really are part of the good guys. We are the generic ones. We can bring quality into this market but if the time to register a drug takes two, three, four, five years, it’s too long.”

— CNBC’s Christina Farr contributed to this report.

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New Perk: A Day Off to Take Care of Your Financial Health

“We were exactly the same as all Americans,” he said in an interview. “It’s hard to think about your 401(k) match if you are worrying about your utility bill.”

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After introducing a financial wellness program to its 24,000 workers, SunTrust acquired the wellness company it initially hired for the job. And now, it plans to offer the program, which is based on eight main financial steps, or “pillars,” to employers across the country.

In a news release Tuesday announcing its plans, SunTrust, which is based in Atlanta, called financial wellness “the next benefit frontier for leading employers.”

Roughly 30 other organizations already offer the SunTrust program, including Home Depot, Delta Air Lines and the company that makes Little Debbie’s snack cakes. Ten others plan to introduce it, the bank said.

SunTrust enters the market at a time when more employers are concerned about their employees’ financial stress and how it could affect their job performance. Nearly one-third of all employees are distracted by personal financial issues while at work, according to a recent study by PwC, the consulting firm, with almost half of them spending three hours or more each week handling personal finances on the job.

A study by Alight, a benefits administrator, found that nearly 60 percent of employers are very likely to expand financial wellness programs this year, almost twice as many as three years ago.

Though employers have said the No. 1 reason they offer the plans is that it is the right thing to do, many rank-and-file workers might argue it is the very least they can do, particularly as pensions fade, wage growth is slow and employees continue to shoulder an ever greater share of medical costs.

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Brian Nelson Ford develops SunTrust Banks’ financial wellness program.

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Home Depot, which has 400,000 employees, started to introduce SunTrust’s “Momentum onUp” program to certain workers in March.

“Stress is brought to work, and that ultimately affects our associates in the store and the customer experience, and it becomes a business issue as well,” said Don Buben, director of benefits at the retailing giant. “It affects everyone from our hourly associates up to the executive level.”

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The SunTrust regimen covers “eight pillars of financial greatness,” which is largely about clarifying a person’s values, then structuring his or her financial lives around what is important. The concept was created by Brian Nelson Ford, who founded the wellness company SunTrust acquired and now works for the bank developing the program.

“A lot of well-intentioned companies focus on the 401(k),” Mr. Ford said, “but I don’t think people are losing sleep and getting divorced over the asset allocation in their 401(k).”

The first pillar asks employees to start an emergency fund, called a “financial confidence account,” for unexpected expenses. Not all companies choose to contribute to the account, but SunTrust will match up to $1,000 once employees automate their own savings plan of $40 a month and meet certain goals like setting up a budget.

Since the beginning of 2015, the bank has paid a total of $9 million in contributions of this type to roughly 15,000 employees.

Beyond the savings accounts, there are pillars dedicated to things like organizing and automating a worker’s financial life, calculating net worth, getting rid of debt, improving credit score, investing and buying a home versus renting. It takes about six hours for an employee to cover all of the content, which can include live instruction and videos.

One of the more unusual aspects of SunTrust’s own program may be its “day of purpose,” something Mr. Rogers, the chief executive, calls a “selfish day” to focus on one’s own finances. For his own — and he takes it — he visited his father and his aunt, who live in the same retirement community, to go over their living expenses, insurance and estate plans. “My aunt had a lot of financial stress,” he said. “I am not sure if we hadn’t had that conversation she would have overcome that.”

Few companies go that far, though the Motley Fool, an investing website, also dedicates a work day to financial health, an idea it picked up from my colleague Ron Lieber, The New York Times’s “Your Money” columnist, who wrote about his own fiscal health day (Check out our guide to your own day here).

So far, SunTrust is pleased with the program’s progress. Most participants are now equipped to handle an unanticipated expense, and they have increased their retirement savings contributions 35 percent, on average.

As for Mr. Moore, the technology manager, he said the classes helped him and his wife of nearly 22 years communicate better about money, a topic they had always struggled with. “We went from, ‘We have been diagnosed with this tumor and literally $100,000 of surgery is about to occur,’ to ‘Oh, we can afford this. We are going to be O.K.’”

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“We finally had the language to communicate with.”


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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/your-money/asset-allocation/new-perk-a-day-off-to-take-care-of-your-financial-health.html

On Senate Health Bill, Trump Falters in the Closer’s Role

Mr. Trump and his staff played a critical role in persuading House Republicans to pass health care legislation in May, with the president personally calling dozens of wavering House members. But the Trump team’s heavy-handed tactics have been ineffective in the Senate, and White House officials determined that deploying Vice President Mike Pence, a former congressman with deep ties to many in the Senate, was a better bet than unleashing Mr. Trump on the half-dozen Republicans who will determine the fate of the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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Mr. Trump, who is fond of telling friends he is a “closer,” became more involved over the past few days, reaching out to a few reluctant conservatives like Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, who emerged from an Oval Office meeting on Monday saying he was more optimistic about getting to a yes.

“The White House has been very involved in these discussions,” Mr. McConnell said in announcing that a vote on the bill was postponed until after the Fourth of July recess. “They’re very anxious to help.”

Yet over the past few weeks, the Senate Republican leadership has made it known that it would much rather negotiate with Mr. Pence than a president whose candidacy many did not even take seriously during the 2016 primaries. And some of the White House’s efforts have clearly been counterproductive.

Over the weekend, Mr. McConnell made clear his unhappiness to the White House after a “super PAC” aligned with Mr. Trump started an ad campaign against Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, after he said last week that he opposed the health care bill.

The majority leader — already rankled by Mr. Trump’s tweets goading him to change Senate rules to scuttle Democratic filibusters — called the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to complain that the attacks were “beyond stupid,” according to two Republicans with knowledge of the tense exchange.

Mr. McConnell, who has been toiling for weeks, mostly in private, to put together a measure that would satisfy hard-liners and moderates, told Mr. Priebus in his call that the assault by the group, America First, not only jeopardized the bill’s prospects but also imperiled Mr. Heller’s already difficult path to re-election.

Mr. McConnell and “several other” Republican senators expressed their irritation about the anti-Heller campaign during the White House meeting, according to two people, one of them a senator, who were present.

The move against Mr. Heller had the blessing of the White House, according to an official with America First, because Mr. Trump’s allies were furious that the senator would side with Nevada’s governor, Brian Sandoval, a Republican who accepted the Medicaid expansion under the health law and opposes the Republican overhaul, in criticizing the bill.

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According to the senator, the president laughed good-naturedly at the complaint and signaled that he had received the message.

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A few hours later, America First announced it was pausing its advertising assault against Mr. Heller, insisting it was doing so because of his willingness to come to the White House meeting with Mr. Trump.

America First was founded by a group of Mr. Trump’s loyalists — many of them with deep connections to Mr. Pence, including Nick Ayers, a Republican consultant who is regarded as the vice president’s top political adviser. The group compared Mr. Heller to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and vowed a seven-figure advertising campaign against him.

Mr. Heller, the only Senate Republican who will face voters next year in a state carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, is the top target for Democrats facing a Senate map with few opportunities in 2018. And there were already seven groups — a mix of health care advocacy organizations and more partisan Democratic efforts — on the air in Nevada assailing the Republican health care overhaul, according to a Republican ad buyer tracking the ad traffic.

Neither Mr. McConnell’s office nor his top outside political advisers were warned about an impending attack on one of their most endangered incumbents. “They didn’t check in with anybody,” said Josh Holmes, Mr. McConnell’s former chief of staff. “There was no clearing of channels, no heads-up, nothing.”

Republican senators across the ideological spectrum have indicated their unease with the health bill. But Mr. Trump has few ties with the group, and several Republicans who remain on the fence have tangled with Mr. Trump, either during the presidential campaign or since.

Top Trump lieutenants like Stephen K. Bannon, his chief strategist, who lobbied members on the House bill, have been all but sidelined. Mr. Priebus has also played a much diminished role.

Mr. Pence has been far more active in seeking out Republican senators. Seema Verma, Mr. Pence’s former adviser in the Indiana Statehouse and now a top administration health care official, has also been trying to reassure senators that their states will have flexibility on Medicaid under the bill, while Mr. Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, now the White House legislative affairs director, has been quarterbacking the effort from his hideaway in the Capitol.

Until Tuesday’s meeting at the White House, Mr. Trump had spoken with only a few members of the Senate, according to an administration official. The pace was nothing like the dozens of calls he made to help pass the House’s health bill, aides said.

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A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal’s tax implications, the staff member added.

After the meeting, Mr. Trump played the role of cheerleader on Twitter, encouraging his weary Republican allies to keep working.

“I just finished a great meeting with the Republican Senators concerning HealthCare,” he wrote. “They really want to get it right, unlike OCare!”


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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/27/us/health-care-bill-trump-pence.html

To Your Good Health: Will Miracle Fruit bring back sense of taste?

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Article source: http://www.roanoke.com/arts_and_entertainment/to_your_good_health/to-your-good-health-will-miracle-fruit-bring-back-sense/article_379a7e17-113c-557a-be66-4c1804f26c1f.html

For Millennials, Both Good And Bad News In Senate’s GOP Health Bill

Darlin Kpangbah receives free health insurance through Medicaid and is grateful for the coverage in case of accidents, such as when she tore a ligament in her leg a few years ago. “I feel like I’m injury-prone,” said Kpangbah, 20, who lives in Sacramento, Calif. Without insurance, she said, the injury “would’ve been huge to pay for.”

Young adults like Kpangbah were among the biggest beneficiaries of Obamacare, which helped reduce the rates of uninsured millennials to record lows and provided millions of Americans with access to free or low-cost insurance as well as maternity care, mental health treatment and other services.

Now, Senate Republicans have proposed overhauling the Affordable Care Act — a move that could help some young adults by lowering the cost of their premiums in the private insurance marketplaces but could hurt others who gained insurance through a massive expansion to Medicaid. A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill released Monday estimated that 22 million Americans could lose coverage under the Senate bill, which could change significantly before an expected vote before July 4.

The proposed legislation also would retain a popular Obamacare provision that allowed young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance. But the bill in its current form also could dramatically reduce health coverage and care for other young adults, according to the bill’s many critics, which include the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association.

“Don’t be fooled,” said Jen Mishory, executive director of the advocacy organization Young Invincibles. “This is going to be a bad deal, particularly for the most vulnerable young people.”

Mishory said one of the biggest concerns is that states could opt out of requiring insurers to provide benefits such as maternity care, mental health care and prescription drugs — all commonly used among young adults. “You will see a lot of young people not getting the kind of coverage they need,” she said.

The proposed changes in the marketplaces, however, could make coverage more attractive to young people. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the Senate bill would result in a larger number of younger people paying lower premiums to buy private plans. The proposal would allow insurers to charge older people up to five times more than others, which could mean lower premiums for younger people.

At the same time, the Senate bill shifts the amount people who qualify for subsidies must pay toward their own premiums, meaning that people under age 40 might pay a smaller portion of their income toward coverage than they do under Obamacare.

But young adults could face other cost increases because of larger deductibles and less help with out-of-pocket expenses. Some no longer would qualify for subsidies at all, because the bill would reduce the income threshold for eligibility.

Millions of young adults have enrolled in coverage through the insurance exchanges, in part because of a coordinated push to get as many healthy, young people into the marketplace to balance out older, sicker consumers who were eager to sign up right away.

About 27 percent of the 12.2 million consumers who enrolled in health insurance through the exchanges across the nation in 2017, were 18 to 34 years old. In California, 37 percent of 2017 enrollees were in that age group, according to Covered California, the state’s insurance exchange.

Steven Orozco, who lives in Los Angeles, is among them. He, his wife and 2-year-old daughter have a plan through Covered California. Orozco, who is a real estate agent, said they are all healthy so they don’t use it often, but he has it just in case of broken arms or other unexpected health needs.

Orozco, 32, said that he is concerned about what could happen in Washington and how that might affect his coverage, which currently costs about $450 a month.

Despite potential benefits to young adults in the private marketplace, the most damaging changes under the Senate proposal would be for young adults covered by Medicaid, said Walter Zelman, chairman of the public health department at Cal State-Los Angeles.

In addition to phasing out the expansion of Medicaid, the Senate bill also would result in reduced funding for the program, he said.

“The biggest impact on young people is the dismantling of Medicaid,” Zelman said.

Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, about 3.8 million young adults have gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid, according to Young Invincibles.

In California alone, Zelman said, hundreds of thousands of young people won’t be able to access Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, if the expansion is phased out. Zelman, who worked to enroll California State University students into health coverage under Obamacare, said that historically the highest percentages of uninsured people have been young adults, low-income residents, part-time workers and Latinos.

“Those are my students,” he said. “And, more generally, those are young people overall. … Anything that threatens [their] access to health is bad for them,” he said.

It’s unclear whether the proposed Republican overhaul would result in more or fewer young enrollees.

Uninsured Sacramento resident Sydney Muns, 27, works at a nonprofit that doesn’t offer health coverage, and she earned too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal or receive Obamacare subsidies. Muns said she hopes premiums and out-of-pocket costs will decline in the future so she can get coverage.

“It’s just not affordable,” said Muns, who faces $50,000 in college loan debt. “I don’t know anyone my age who has insurance.”

But Chyneise Dailey, 24, said she plans to purchase health care whether or not she is required to do so. Dailey, who works at Sacramento State, remains on her parents’ Blue Cross health insurance plan, but knows she has only a couple of years before she has to buy her own coverage.

“You never know what can happen. You get into a car accident, you’re in the ER — do you want to pay full rate or do you want to pay your copay?” Dailey said. “I’d just rather be safe than sorry.”

Under both the Senate and House plans to overhaul Obamacare, young women who go to Planned Parenthood for reproductive health and other medical services could be hurt because of a provision to ban federal funding of the organization for a year.

That concerns Niki Kangas, 35, who frequently visits Planned Parenthood clinics even though she has job-based coverage from Kaiser Permanente. (Kaiser Health News, which produces California Healthline, is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.) Kangas, of Sacramento, said she is “pissed off” that the Senate’s proposed bill would impose a one-year ban on federal funding to the organization, which is a frequent target for conservatives.

“I’ve used Planned Parenthood a lot, either in between jobs or sometimes it’s just more convenient than going out to Kaiser, like if I just need birth control,” said Kangas, a project manager at a design agency. “I think for people who don’t have insurance through their work that it’s a resource they depend on.”

Mary Agnes Carey, Julie Appleby and Barbara Feder Ostrov contributed to this report.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation. KHN’s coverage in California is funded in part by Blue Shield of California Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Article source: http://khn.org/news/for-millennials-both-good-and-bad-news-in-senates-gop-health-bill/

The Latest: McConnell says good progress made on health bill

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the Republican legislation overhauling the Obama health care law (all times EDT):

5:55 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “good progress” was made during a White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Republican senators.

Trump invited them to meet after McConnell decided to delay a vote on a Senate health care bill because there aren’t enough votes to pass it.

McConnell said after the meeting there’s a “really good chance” of passing the bill, but it won’t happen before July Fourth as he originally planned.

McConnell says Republicans must come up with a solution because that’s why the American people elected them. He says negotiating with Senate Democrats won’t produce any of the changes sought by Republicans, including to the health markets and Medicaid.

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4:35 p.m.

President Donald Trump says that if the health care bill fails to pass in the Senate, he won’t like it — but “that’s OK.”

Trump spoke Tuesday at a gathering of Senate Republicans after their leaders shelved a vote on their prized health care bill until at least next month.

Trump says, “This will be great if we get it done and if we don’t get it done it’s going to be something that we’re not going to like and that’s OK and I can understand that.”

He adds, “I think we have a chance to do something very, very important for the public, very, very important for the people of our country.”

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4:30 p.m.

Add three more names to the list of Republican senators saying they oppose the GOP health care bill.

But these three get an asterisk. They released statements of flat-out opposition after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was delaying the vote in hopes of rounding up enough support for passage.

Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia have persistently criticized the bill’s cuts in Medicaid, and have sought billions more to combat opioid abuse. Both said for the first time Tuesday they opposed the measure.

Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said last week he would examine whether the proposal was good for his state. He said Tuesday the bill did not have his support, saying he wanted more affordable and better quality health care.

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4:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he wants the replacement of the 2009 health insurance law to increase the number of insurance coverage choices and lower premiums, a senior White House official says.

The president was stressing these goals in a meeting Tuesday with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican who opposes the Senate’s planned replacement of the government’s health insurance expansion under former President Barack Obama. The official insisted on anonymity to describe private conversations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has delayed a vote on that replacement, which has been unable to attract sufficient support from Republican lawmakers. The replacement would reduce funding for Medicaid, cut taxes on investments and cause 22 million fewer people to no longer have health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

— Josh Boak

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4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are hosting Republican senators at the White House to discuss flailing efforts to pass a new health care bill.

Most of the GOP senators arrived at the White House Tuesday after Senate Republican leaders shelved a vote on their prized health care bill Tuesday until at least next month.

A GOP rebellion left them lacking enough votes to even begin debate.

Trump said Tuesday that “we’re getting very close but for the country we have to have health care.”

Trump invited the GOP senators for a meeting in the East Room to discuss efforts to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s signature health care bill.

He says “I think the Senate bill is going to be great.”

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2:40 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is delaying a vote on a Senate health care bill while GOP leadership works toward getting enough votes.

He says they are “still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place.”

Republican senators are headed to the White House Tuesday afternoon to talk to President Donald Trump about the future of the bill.

McConnell says the White House is “very anxious to help” and encouraged senators to go to the meeting.

McConnell said health care is “a big complicated subject,” and complicated bills are “hard to pull together and hard to pass.” He told reporters on Tuesday that he was very optimistic.

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1:50 p.m.

Sources tell the Associated Press that Senate Republican leaders have abruptly delayed the vote on their health care bill until after the July 4th recess.

That’s the word Tuesday as the GOP faced five defections from its ranks just hours after the Congressional Budget Office said the bill would force 22 million off insurance rolls.

It was a major blow for the seven-year-old effort to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Separately, President Donald Trump has invited all GOP senators to the White House Tuesday afternoon.

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1:10 p.m.

New analysis shows that millionaires would get tax cuts averaging $52,000 a year from the Senate Republicans’ health bill.

Middle-income families would get about $260.

The analysis was done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. It found that half of the tax cuts would go to families making more than $500,000 a year.

At the other end, families making $20,000 a year would, on average, get a $190 tax cut.

The Republican health bill would repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health law. The law imposed a series of tax increases mainly targeted high-income families. The Senate Republican bill would repeal the taxes, though not all at once.

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12:20 p.m.

Major veterans’ organizations are voicing concerns about a Senate Republican bill to repeal the nation’s health care law. They fear the impact of rising insurance costs and are worried the underfunded Department of Veterans Affairs won’t be able to fill the coverage gap.

Paralyzed Veterans of America is one of the six biggest nonpartisan veterans’ groups. In a letter to senators Tuesday, it criticized an “opaque and closed” legislative process and proposed cuts to Medicaid that could lead to hundreds of thousands of lower-income veterans losing their insurance.

The organization joins a Democratic-leaning group, VoteVets, in opposing the bill. VoteVets launched a six-figure ad campaign in two states to pressure senators.

Disabled American Veterans and AMVETS also are expressing concern about the Senate legislation backed by President Donald Trump.

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11:45 a.m.

One of a handful of Republican senators opposing the Senate health care bill is headed to the White House to talk with President Donald Trump about the measure.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul tweeted about his visit, saying he was: “Headed to meet with @realDonaldTrump this afternoon.” He added that the current bill is “not real repeal and needs major improvement.”

Paul has said it is worse to “pass a bad bill than to pass no bill.”

Senate leaders are scrambled to rescue their health care bill in the face of defections after Congress’ nonpartisan budget office said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been aiming to win Senate passage for the bill his week.

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11:34 a.m.

The New York attorney general is threatening to file a lawsuit to block the implementation of a Republican health care overhaul.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that the evolving Senate bill violates women’s constitutional rights by de-funding Planned Parenthood. It also violates New York’s state’s rights, he said, by targeting a New York-specific Medicaid provision.

Schneiderman said, “If the version of the health care bill proposed last week ever becomes law, I am committed to going to court to challenge it to protect New Yorkers from these wrong-headed and unconstitutional” policies.

The Democrat made the comments in a speech to state business leaders. He later said his office is “doing the research” to prepare for possible litigation.

Senate Republican leaders planned to pass the bill this week, but so far lack the votes to take up the measure.

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11:20 a.m.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee has become the fifth Republican senator to oppose starting debate on the GOP health care bill. That deals another blow to party leaders hoping to push the top-priority measure through the Senate this week.

Lee was among four conservative senators who announced last week they oppose the bill’s current version. Lee spokesman Conn Carroll said Tuesday that the lawmaker will not vote for a crucial procedural motion allowing the Senate to begin debate on the legislation, unless it’s changed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can lose the votes of only two of the 52 Republican senators to begin debate and ultimately pass the bill. All Democrats oppose it.

Lee has favored a fuller repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law than the current GOP bill.

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10:25 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has faith in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s ability to round up the votes for the Republican health care bill despite growing opposition in the Senate.

Ryan told reporters on Tuesday: “I would not bet against Mitch McConnell.”

The Wisconsin Republican said he has every expectation that the Senate will move ahead on the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office says would kick 22 million off the insurance rolls. The bill would cut taxes, reduce the deficit and phase out the Medicaid expansion implemented by Barack Obama’s health law.

Ryan said every Republican senator campaigned on repealing and replacing Obama’s law.

The speaker said House members are waiting to see what happens in the Senate. The House could try to vote after the Senate to push the bill and get it to President Donald Trump before the weeklong July 4th recess.

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7:45 a.m.

Senate Republican leaders are scrambling to rescue their health care bill. It’s in trouble as opposition from rebellious Republicans grows.

The defections came as Congress’ nonpartisan budget referee said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than President Barack Obama’s law, which Republicans are trying to replace.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was hoping to staunch his party’s rebellion, a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its report. He’s been aiming at winning Senate passage this week, before a weeklong July 4 recess that leaders worry opponents will use to weaken support for the legislation.

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4:02 a.m.

Congress’ nonpartisan budget referee says the Senate Republican health care bill would leave 22 million additional people uninsured in 2026 compared to President Barack Obama’s law.

And now, disgruntled centrist and conservative GOP senators are forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to scramble to rescue the measure before debate even begins.

The Kentucky Republican was hoping to staunch his party’s rebellion on Tuesday, a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its report. He plans to suggest revisions to the legislation in hopes of rounding up votes.

McConnell wants to win Senate passage this week. But three GOP senators are threatening to vote against a procedural motion to begin debate, a vote expected Wednesday. To be approved, no more than two of the 52 GOP senators can vote against it.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-latest-mcconnell-says-good-progress-made-on-health-bill/2017/06/28/cb85ce16-5bc6-11e7-aa69-3964a7d55207_story.html

Healthy Living Contest encourages growing your own garden

Fruits and vegetables are great food choices for our bodies — especially organic options. But, how can you get enough healthy fruits and vegetables at the right price?

The St. Peters Community Health and Wellness Advisory Committee encourages residents to grow their own vegetable/fruit gardens through a Healthy Living Contest, according to a press release.

The committee’s contest will reward participants with a chance to win free one-day family passes to enjoy the St. Peters Rec-Plex — which will help people stay active in addition to eating well.

Each month, through September, the St. Peters Community Health and Wellness Advisory Committee will draw 20 one-day family passes to the St. Peters Rec-Plex from participating St. Peters residents who grow their own vegetable or fruit gardens.

To enter the Healthy Living Contest, take a picture of your garden and mail it to: Healthy Living Contest, St. Peters City Hall, PO Box 9, St. Peters, MO, 63376, or you can e-mail it to healthylivingcontest@stpetersmo.net.

Please include your name, address and phone number. This contest is open to St. Peters residents only. The drawings will be held on the fourth Monday each month, through September, from all entries received.

Article source: http://www.stltoday.com/suburban-journals/stcharles/healthy-living-contest-encourages-growing-your-own-garden/article_17fcd922-1fb0-5130-8b2d-9a7cccd025e0.html