Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Webonews button

Republicans exempt their own insurance from their latest health care proposal

Update: After Vox reported this story Tuesday, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) released a statement saying he would close this loophole. Read the story here.

House Republicans appear to have included a provision that exempts members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan.

The new Republican amendment, introduced Tuesday night, would allow states to waive out of Obamacare’s ban on preexisting conditions. This means that insurers could once again, under certain circumstances, charge sick people higher premiums than healthy people.

Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff. A spokesperson for Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), who authored this amendment, confirmed this was the case: Members of Congress and their staff would get the guarantee of keeping these Obamacare regulations. Health law expert Tim Jost flagged this particular issue to me.

A bit of background is helpful here. Obamacare requires all members of Congress and their staff to purchase coverage through the health law’s marketplace, just like Obamacare enrollees. The politics of that plank were simple enough, meant to demonstrate that if the coverage in this law were good enough for Americans, it should be good enough for their representatives in Washington.

That’s been happening for the past four years now. Fast-forward to this new amendment, which would allow states to waive out of key Obamacare protections like the ban on preexisting conditions or the requirement to cover things like maternity care and mental health services.

If congressional aides lived in a state that decided to waive these protections, the aides who were sick could presumably be vulnerable to higher premiums than the aides who are healthy. Their benefits package could get skimpier as Obamacare’s essential health benefits requirement may no longer apply either.

This apparently does not sound appealing, because the Republican amendment includes the members of Congress and their staff as a protected group who cannot be affected by this amendment’s terms.

You can see it on the sixth page of the amendment, although it is admittedly hard to spot. The Obamacare section that requires legislators to buy on the marketplace is section 1312(d)(3)(D). And if you look at the Republican amendment, and the list of who cannot be included in this waiver? It includes Section 1312(d)(3)(D).


Read more about the Republicans’ new amendment here.

Article source: http://www.vox.com/2017/4/25/15429982/gop-exemption-ahca-amendment

Why picking your nose and eating it may be good for you! Filthy habit could prevent cavities, stomach ulcers and …

  • Eating your snot could boost your immune system thanks to its ‘good’ bacteria
  • Mucus prevents cavity-causing bacteria from attaching and sticking to teeth
  • Bogie-inspired toothpaste and gum may soon be available to reap the benefits
  • Picking our noses is a beneficial, natural instinct in our sterile environments

Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline

232

View
comments

We’re taught from a young age that picking our nose is a disgusting habit.

Not only do we think its unhygienic, but having a good rummage could tear our nostrils’ fragile skin, as well as increasing the risk of developing a painful sinus infection.

Yet, a study has revealed people who pick their noses may actually be healthier – giving good reason for children to carry on with the disgusting habit.

Austrian lung specialist Professor Friedrich Bischinger, said: ‘Eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body’s immune system. Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do.

‘In terms of the immune system, the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.’  

Picking your nose and eating it may strengthen your immune system - and could prevent HIV

Picking your nose and eating it may strengthen your immune system – and could prevent HIV

‘GOOD’ BACTERIA

1) SKIN BACTERIA: Micrococcus luteus  

In 2013, Norwegian researchers found M. luteus can absorb the same wavelengths that trigger skin cancers. 

2) GUT BACTERIA: Bifidobacterium animalis 

B. animalis lives in the intestine. It enhances immunity, fights tumour growth, improves digestions and may lower cholesterol. 

3) DAIRY BACTERIA: Streptococcus thermophilus  

S. thermophilus is used as a probiotic and relieves abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and other lactose intolerance symptoms. 

Scientists from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that nasal mucus’ rich reservoir of ‘good’ bacteria prevents cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to teeth.

Published in the American Society for Microbiology, their findings also suggest snot could defend against respiratory infections, stomach ulcers and even HIV.

The researchers are working on a synthetic mucus toothpaste to harvest snot’s dental benefits, Kidspot reports.

Bogie-inspired chewing gum may also be in the pipeline.   

This builds on previous research that suggests our obsession with hygiene has led to an increase in allergies and autoimmune disorders, such as arthritis.

Yet, feasting on some nasal mucus may be perfectly naturally.  

Dr Scott Napper, professor of biochemistry, the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, said: ‘Nature pushes us to do different things because it is to our advantage to have certain behaviours, to consume different types of foods.

‘So maybe when you have an urge to pick your nose and eat it, you should just go with nature.

‘From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved under very dirty conditions and maybe this desire to keep our environment and our behaviours sterile isn’t actually working to our advantage,’ CBC News reported.    


Comments 232

Share what you think

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4446602/Why-pick-nose-eat-it.html

Will Oklahoma Republicans reduce regulation, increase selection in health insurance?

THERE are reports Congress may soon take another stab at health care reform. Instead of overhauling the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, the proposal may now instead encourage states to seek waivers opting out of the ACA’s many mandates.

In theory, that would mean liberal states would be more likely to stick with the Obamacare status quo while Republican-controlled states would be more likely to consider free-market reforms.

Admittedly, it’s an open question whether Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated Legislature would actually take that step, based on lawmakers’ reluctance to pass a bill this year that would have allowed the sale of policies that don’t include all benefits mandated by state politicians (in addition to those mandated by federal law).

Critics said Oklahomans could not be trusted to buy sufficient insurance coverage if mandate-lite policies were available. Yet new research again suggests that the mandate-heavy approach mostly generates higher prices, not better health outcomes.

A report from the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed the past two years of Obamacare-era data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual medical survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The paper’s takeaway: “No statistically significant effects on risky behaviors or self-assessed health emerge for the full sample.”

The NBER paper did find people had increased access to health care upon gaining coverage through Obamacare, but that there was no real improvement in broad health outcomes.

Writing at The Federalist, health policy analyst Charlie Katebi says that conclusion isn’t surprising, because it’s in line with prior research.

When Oregon expanded its Medicaid program via lottery in 2008, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology examined the health outcomes of those who gained coverage versus similar counterparts who did not. Once again, Medicaid coverage led to increased use of medical services, such as doctor visits, but few improvements in overall health status. “Medicaid enrollees even visited the emergency room more frequently,” Katebi writes.

Similarly, the Rand Corporation released a study as far back as 1982 that examined the health of patients with comprehensive insurance compared with those who had only high-deductible catastrophic coverage.

“After 11 years of observations, Rand discovered that patients with comprehensive Obamacare-like coverage consumed 20 to 30 percent more routine healthcare services,” Katebi writes. “Yet their health was no different than those with catastrophic coverage.”

State lawmakers should seize the opportunity to reduce government red tape and increase consumer selection in health insurance markets. Oklahomans shouldn’t have their personal judgment about their personal needs replaced by the views of far-off politicians with no knowledge of a family’s specific circumstances.

Elimination of many insurance mandates will not mean those benefits won’t be included in any insurance policy. It merely means consumers will have a choice in coverage options — and price.

When politicians pile mandate upon mandate on consumers, research shows the increase in price is not offset by better health. Achieving the same outcomes at a much higher cost is not a sign of success.

You might also be interested in…

Article source: http://newsok.com/article/5547290

GOP Health-Care Push Falls Short Again

WASHINGTON—House Republicans’ second major push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came up short again this week, leaving President Donald Trump without a marquee legislative win during his first 100 days in office.

House GOP leaders said late Thursday that they would not bring a new version of their health-care bill to the floor Friday or Saturday, the 100th day of Mr. Trump’s presidency, in an admission that they hadn’t…

Article source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-health-care-push-falls-short-again-1493390383

Paris Jackson says 13 Reasons Why ‘extremely triggering’

Paris Jackson, who tried to take her own life in 2013, has called the show 'extremely triggering' for young people 'in a dark place'

Paris Jackson, who tried to take her own life in 2013, has called the show ‘extremely triggering’ for young people ‘in a dark place’

Controversy is building against Netflix’s new popular show 13 Reasons Why.  

Mental health officials have this week urged teenagers not to watch the series, co-produced by singer and actress Selena Gomez, which hinges on the suicide of a 17-year-old girl. 

The warning comes as Paris Jackson, who tried to take her own life in 2013, has also spoken out, calling the show ‘extremely triggering’ for young people ‘in a dark place’.

In the graphic final scene of the show, the protagonist Hannah climbs into a full bathtub with a razor. We see her slice into her skin, we see the blood pour out, hear her cry and struggle to breathe. Then she is still.

The show’s writers have defended the scene as honest. 

But in an Instagram post on Thursday, 19-year-old Jackson said that, as someone who has contemplated suicide, the show is an ‘extremely triggering thing to watch.

She added: ‘Please only watch this show with caution and keep in mind that it may put you in a dark place. if you are struggling please don’t watch it. if you think you can handle it, please by all means check it out.’

Her words came shortly after the National Association of School Psychologists took a clear stance, insisting it is dangerous for young people.

‘We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series,’ the board said in a statement. 

Writer Brian Yorkey, who won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize for the musical Next To Normal, which grappled with mental illness, hit back. 

‘Many people are accusing the show of glamorizing suicide and I feel strongly – and I think everyone who made the show – feel very strongly that we did the exact opposite.

‘What we did was portray suicide and we portrayed it as very ugly and very damaging.’

The 13-episode drama is based on Jay Asher’s young-adult 2007 bestseller about a high school student who kills herself and leaves behind 13 audiotapes detailing the events that led to her death, including sexual assault, substance abuse and bullying.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO 

Many agree that it is a subject in desperate need of discussion. But this week, the National Association of School Psychologists took a clear stance against 13 Reasons Why (pictured)

Many agree that it is a subject in desperate need of discussion. But this week, the National Association of School Psychologists took a clear stance against 13 Reasons Why (pictured)

This was Paris's message to her 1.3 million followers on Thursday regarding the show

This was Paris’s message to her 1.3 million followers on Thursday regarding the show

Per usual, Netflix released all 13 hours of the series at once – on March 31 – leaving suicide prevention specialists worried teens might binge the entire series without a chance to fully absorb the issues and ask questions. 

They also say they wish the show would consistently flash the National Suicide Prevention hotline. 

Netflix and the show creators point out that several mental health professionals were consulted and they offer a 30- minute show called ‘Beyond the Reasons’ that delves deeper into the tougher topics portrayed, as well as links to a site with resources.

However, the national board’s warning is hardly the only criticism leveled at the show. 

Despite being rated TV-MA, which means is may be unsuitable for children under 17, and three episodes that contain explicit material have ‘viewer discretion advised’ warnings, many say that is not enough.

Critics of the show argue that depression and mental illness – keys to understanding suicide – are rarely mentioned and the fact that its heroine, Hannah, gets to tell her story after her death sends a potentially dangerous message. 

They’re also upset that the school guidance counselor depicted on the show seems to blame the victim.

‘Graphic details about suicide we know historically are not recommended,’ said Phyllis Alongi, the clinical director of The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. 

‘I understand what the producers are saying but it could really be unsafe and I think we need to be a little more responsible.’

The Jed Foundation and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education joined forces to create 13 talking points for young adults and guardians to discuss while watching the series, including warnings that the way the counselor is portrayed is ‘not typical’ and that ‘leaving messages from beyond the grave is a dramatization produced in Hollywood.’

School systems across the country are alerting parents, making them aware that their teens may be streaming the series, urging them to watch it with them, and providing information to help them talk about it.

In the upstate New York community of Grand Island, school administrators warned that the series ‘sensationalizes suicide.’ Indiana’s largest school district warned in an email that the series ‘does not accurately model what we would want or hope individuals do if they are struggling or in crisis.’

In Maryland, principals in the Montgomery County public school system noticed teens talking about the series and wanted to make sure parents had resources to handle tough questions. A warning letter and links to resources eventually went out to all 35,000 middle schoolers.

‘There’s a lot to take in and digest. If you’re a young, growing mind being informed by what you see, this could have an impact,’ said Derek Turner, spokesman for the district. ‘So we’re giving them tips and tools.’

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death for children and young adults ages 10 to 24 in 2014.

Dr. Helen Hsu, a clinical psychologist in Fremont, California, whose work involves suicide prevention in schools, helped shape some of the 13 Reasons Why scripts. 

She said not showing Hannah’s suicide would be almost ‘coy and avoidant’ and that medical studies aren’t definitive about the risks of suicide contagion. Plus, there are already graphic how-to guides online.

‘If you think your child can’t find this in one second on the internet already in the past 10 years, you are sadly mistaken,’ she said. ‘To say this is going to trigger that is sort of naive. What I really emphasized in the script writing was I said. ‘It has to focus on that it’s not glamorous, that it’s ugly, it’s painful and I really want you to focus on the pain of her parents and the people left.”

While suicide has been depicted on TV shows, the youth of the roles in 13 Reasons Why is pioneering. It has clearly struck a nerve: The show has 340,000 Twitter followers and 2.4 million likes on Facebook.

Gomez, who has talked openly about her own mental-health struggles, said she was braced for a backlash: ‘It’s going to come no matter what. It’s not an easy subject to talk about. But I’m very fortunate with how it’s doing.’

Yorkey said creators wanted to tell a young adult story in ‘a more honest way that it has ever been told on television.’

‘I understand it’s hard to watch,’ he said. ‘It was supposed to be hard to watch because these things are incredibly hard to endure and we wanted to say, ‘These things are happening in kids’ lives. You can keep quiet about them. You can keep kids from watching shows about them. It’s not going to stop them from happening in kids’ lives and you should be talking about that.’ 

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4456556/Mental-health-officials-slam-13-Reasons-dangerous.html

A mother has given birth to healthy conjoined twins

A couple have released photos of their newborn conjoined twins after defying doctors who advised they terminate the pregnancy.

Chelsea Torres, 22, from Blackfoot, Idaho, gave birth to Callie and Carter at 37 weeks in January by cesarean section following a nerve-racking pregnancy.

Doctors warned Ms Torres that the babies would unlikely survive beyond the 11-week pregnancy mark. 

Yet, Ms Torres and her husband Nick, 22, have been assured that the twins, weighing 4.5lb (2kg) each, are healthy.

And despite seeking out the best surgeons in the country to separate the girls, they were told the girls are ‘too healthy’ to require separation.

Between 40 and 60 percent of all conjoined twins are stillborn, with just over a third of those who do survive living less than a day, according to data from the University of Maryland. 

Conjoined twins Callie and Carter Torres are healthy and not in need of separation surgery

Conjoined twins Callie and Carter Torres are healthy and not in need of separation surgery

Callie and Carter are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which make up less than 5 percent of conjoined twins.

This means they have just two legs and one pelvis between them, but have two separate torsos that face each other.  

Due to the type of condition the girls have, they do not share any vital organs.

As omphalo-ischiopagus twins, Callie and Carter share the same pelvis and a set of legs, but each have their own vital organs, including a heart, liver, pancreas, digestive tract and lungs

As omphalo-ischiopagus twins, Callie and Carter share the same pelvis and a set of legs, but each have their own vital organs, including a heart, liver, pancreas, digestive tract and lungs

Their parents have adjusted to the challenge, ordering a custom made car seat and clothing

Their parents have adjusted to the challenge, ordering a custom made car seat and clothing

Ms Torres said: ‘I was extremely anxious my whole pregnancy.

‘I had a planned a c-section and knowing the date I delivered was extremely hard.

‘The labor was bad since I went for a planned c-section.

CONJOINED TWINS: THE FACTS

Births of conjoined twins, whose skin and internal organs are fused together, are rare. 

They are believed to occur just once in every 200,000 live births. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day. 

The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent. 

For some reason, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts. The reason for this is unknown. 

Omphalo-ischiopagus twins, like Callie and Carter Torres, make up less than five percent of all cases. The exact prevalence is unknown.   

Though rare for twins to refuse separation, it is not unheard of. 

In fact, this week the Daily Mail Online reported on Lupita and Carmen Andrade, 16, who insist they are happier together. 

The girls, from New Milford, Connecticut, are omphalopagus twins who share legs, ribs, a liver and their digestive, circulatory and reproductive systems. 

Separation surgery is thought to be risky because of the organs they share, but essential given that one spine is curving in such a way it is affecting their breathing.

One of the first accounts of conjoined twins were Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in 1811 in Siam (now Thailand) and toured the world together. 

Source: University of Maryland

‘They did the procedure and it felt really weird, but when they were here I was extremely happy.

‘The first time I held them I was nervous because I had just had my c-section and they were so fragile to me.’

Despite going against doctors orders, Ms Torres is relieved she continued with the pregnancy.  

She said: ‘I’m so happy I didn’t terminate Callie and Carter, they are amazing.

‘I knew termination would not happen and I’m glad that little speck of thought I did have, I pushed away.

Nick Torres, 22, and his wife Chelsea, also 22 (pictured with their three-year-old son Jaysin) defied doctors who advised an abortion after the conjoined twins were shown at an early scan

Nick Torres, 22, and his wife Chelsea, also 22 (pictured with their three-year-old son Jaysin) defied doctors who advised an abortion after the conjoined twins were shown at an early scan

‘My husband and I are very excited.’

Ms Torres discovered she was pregnant with conjoined twins at her three-week scan.

Despite being told the babies’ survival chances were slim, they decided to continue with the pregnancy.

Now three months old, the girls do not need separating.  

Ms Torres said: ‘The doctors say because the girls are so healthy, they do not recommend separation.’ 

Separating conjoined twins is a risky procedure and frequently results in the death of at least one of the individuals. 

Potential complications include blood clots, infections and heart problems.

They were born by c-section after the family moved 1,400 miles nearer to a specialist hospital

They were born by c-section after the family moved 1,400 miles nearer to a specialist hospital

Doctors are often only willing to perform the operation if the twins’ quality of life is so poor that it is worth taking the risk. 

Parents may also opt for the twins to remain conjoined rather than risk their death.  

The couple, who are also parents to three-year-old Jaysin, temporarily moved 1,400 miles to be closer to a specialist hospital in Houston, Texas. They have now resettled in their home in Idaho.

Ms Torres said the past few months have been a huge adjustment. 

She added: ‘Their clothing and car seats are completely different. We have to sew their clothing together and the car seat is custom made.’

Ms Torres said some people stare at the twins, but people in their hometown are supportive

Ms Torres said some people stare at the twins, but people in their hometown are supportive

Although some people stare at the family, Ms Torres adds that most are supportive.

She said: ‘Everyone in our hometown is supportive and knows our story.

‘We get some people who stare and we get some people who say they have been following our journey.’

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4450834/A-mother-given-birth-healthy-conjoined-twins.html

Business, Health Groups Demand Obamacare Funds in Spending Bill

Several business and health groups are saying a $1.1 trillion bill to keep the U.S. government from shutting down must include payments to health insurers under Obamacare, creating another hurdle for Republicans to overcome as they try to pass the measure.

On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other groups issued a statement saying that the spending bill has to include Obamacare’s so-called cost-sharing-reduction payments. The payments are used to help poor people afford health coverage, and without them health insurers have threatened to pull out of the law or sharply raise rates.

“Funding this critical financial assistance for at least two years is the only way to protect these consumers,” the lobbying groups said in the statement. Their members represent some of Washington’s biggest spenders on lobbying and political contributions. “Clarity and commitment to this funding is needed to eliminate confusion and anxiety for consumers, and to allow health plans to make timely and appropriate decisions about market participation in 2018.”

The demand threatens to upend progress on the spending bill, after President Donald Trump’s administration seemed to agree to keep making the insurer payments without an act of Congress. Trump had previously threatened to hold the payments hostage unless he got funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

No Promises

Yet the White House didn’t promise to fund the payments for a certain amount of time. The administration told insurers it will commit only to making the payments through the end of next month, said Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, in an email.

An administration aide said a final decision on how long the payments will continue hasn’t been made. Insurers have just weeks to decide whether to participate in Obamacare next year.

Mario Molina, chief executive officer of Molina Healthcare Inc., said Thursday the insurer would drop Obamacare plans “immediately” if the CSR payments aren’t funded.“ That would result in about 650,000 to 700,000 people losing insurance coverage in 2017,” Molina wrote House and Senate leaders.

Anthem Inc. would raise premium rates 20 percent or more, or drop coverage in certain areas, without the payments, CEO Joseph Swedish said Wednesday during a conference call with investors.

Democrats are hopeful Trump won’t hold the funds hostage.

“I expect they’re going to continue them certainly for a long period of time,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Thursday when asked if he had secured a commitment. “The forces that forced them to do it on their own are still there. They know that if 6 million people lose coverage because premiums go way up, it’s on their backs.”

    Article source: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-27/business-health-groups-demand-obamacare-funds-in-spending-bill

A mother has given birth to healthy conjoined twins | Daily Mail Online

A couple have released photos of their newborn conjoined twins after defying doctors who advised they terminate the pregnancy.

Chelsea Torres, 22, from Blackfoot, Idaho, gave birth to Callie and Carter at 37 weeks in January by cesarean section following a nerve-racking pregnancy.

Doctors warned Ms Torres that the babies would unlikely survive beyond the 11-week pregnancy mark. 

Yet, Ms Torres and her husband Nick, 22, have been assured that the twins, weighing 4.5lb (2kg) each, are healthy.

And despite seeking out the best surgeons in the country to separate the girls, they were told the girls are ‘too healthy’ to require separation.

Between 40 and 60 percent of all conjoined twins are stillborn, with just over a third of those who do survive living less than a day, according to data from the University of Maryland. 

Conjoined twins Callie and Carter Torres are healthy and not in need of separation surgery

Conjoined twins Callie and Carter Torres are healthy and not in need of separation surgery

Callie and Carter are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, which make up less than 5 percent of conjoined twins.

This means they have just two legs and one pelvis between them, but have two separate torsos that face each other.  

Due to the type of condition the girls have, they do not share any vital organs.

As omphalo-ischiopagus twins, Callie and Carter share the same pelvis and a set of legs, but each have their own vital organs, including a heart, liver, pancreas, digestive tract and lungs

As omphalo-ischiopagus twins, Callie and Carter share the same pelvis and a set of legs, but each have their own vital organs, including a heart, liver, pancreas, digestive tract and lungs

Their parents have adjusted to the challenge, ordering a custom made car seat and clothing

Their parents have adjusted to the challenge, ordering a custom made car seat and clothing

Ms Torres said: ‘I was extremely anxious my whole pregnancy.

‘I had a planned a c-section and knowing the date I delivered was extremely hard.

‘The labor was bad since I went for a planned c-section.

CONJOINED TWINS: THE FACTS

Births of conjoined twins, whose skin and internal organs are fused together, are rare. 

They are believed to occur just once in every 200,000 live births. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of conjoined twins arrive stillborn, and about 35 percent survive only one day. 

The overall survival rate of conjoined twins is somewhere between 5 percent and 25 percent. 

For some reason, female siblings seem to have a better shot at survival than their male counterparts. The reason for this is unknown. 

Omphalo-ischiopagus twins, like Callie and Carter Torres, make up less than five percent of all cases. The exact prevalence is unknown.   

Though rare for twins to refuse separation, it is not unheard of. 

In fact, this week the Daily Mail Online reported on Lupita and Carmen Andrade, 16, who insist they are happier together. 

The girls, from New Milford, Connecticut, are omphalopagus twins who share legs, ribs, a liver and their digestive, circulatory and reproductive systems. 

Separation surgery is thought to be risky because of the organs they share, but essential given that one spine is curving in such a way it is affecting their breathing.

One of the first accounts of conjoined twins were Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in 1811 in Siam (now Thailand) and toured the world together. 

Source: University of Maryland

‘They did the procedure and it felt really weird, but when they were here I was extremely happy.

‘The first time I held them I was nervous because I had just had my c-section and they were so fragile to me.’

Despite going against doctors orders, Ms Torres is relieved she continued with the pregnancy.  

She said: ‘I’m so happy I didn’t terminate Callie and Carter, they are amazing.

‘I knew termination would not happen and I’m glad that little speck of thought I did have, I pushed away.

Nick Torres, 22, and his wife Chelsea, also 22 (pictured with their three-year-old son Jaysin) defied doctors who advised an abortion after the conjoined twins were shown at an early scan

Nick Torres, 22, and his wife Chelsea, also 22 (pictured with their three-year-old son Jaysin) defied doctors who advised an abortion after the conjoined twins were shown at an early scan

‘My husband and I are very excited.’

Ms Torres discovered she was pregnant with conjoined twins at her three-week scan.

Despite being told the babies’ survival chances were slim, they decided to continue with the pregnancy.

Now three months old, the girls do not need separating.  

Ms Torres said: ‘The doctors say because the girls are so healthy, they do not recommend separation.’ 

Separating conjoined twins is a risky procedure and frequently results in the death of at least one of the individuals. 

Potential complications include blood clots, infections and heart problems.

They were born by c-section after the family moved 1,400 miles nearer to a specialist hospital

They were born by c-section after the family moved 1,400 miles nearer to a specialist hospital

Doctors are often only willing to perform the operation if the twins’ quality of life is so poor that it is worth taking the risk. 

Parents may also opt for the twins to remain conjoined rather than risk their death.  

The couple, who are also parents to three-year-old Jaysin, temporarily moved 1,400 miles to be closer to a specialist hospital in Houston, Texas. They have now resettled in their home in Idaho.

Ms Torres said the past few months have been a huge adjustment. 

She added: ‘Their clothing and car seats are completely different. We have to sew their clothing together and the car seat is custom made.’

Ms Torres said some people stare at the twins, but people in their hometown are supportive

Ms Torres said some people stare at the twins, but people in their hometown are supportive

Although some people stare at the family, Ms Torres adds that most are supportive.

She said: ‘Everyone in our hometown is supportive and knows our story.

‘We get some people who stare and we get some people who say they have been following our journey.’

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4450834/A-mother-given-birth-healthy-conjoined-twins.html

Doctor, Hospital Groups Say GOP’s Health Bill Worse With Changes

The U.S.’s biggest groups representing doctors, hospitals and older Americans came out against changes Republicans have proposed to get their health-care bill more support from conservatives, saying the amendments make the proposal worse.

The groups, which opposed the original GOP bill, said the alterations will make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to buy coverage and will raise insurance costs for older Americans.

The amendment “could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable to people with pre-existing conditions,” James Madara, chief executive officer of the American Medical Association, wrote House leaders on Thursday. Rick Pollack, CEO of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement that the changes would “dramatically worsen the bill.”

The American Medical Association represents hundreds of thousands of U.S. doctors and health professionals. Pollack’s group is the country’s largest association of hospitals.

The changes to the bill, proposed in an amendment this week, would let states apply for waivers from rules about how much insurers can charge people based on their age or how healthy they are, as well as from requirements on what conditions health plans have to cover. Trump has previously said he wants to preserve protections in Obamacare that ban insurers from denying coverage to people, though it’s not clear the changes would accomplish that goal in practice.

The White House has pushed House Republican leaders to once again attempt a vote on the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, this week as President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office approaches on Saturday. An attempt to pass the bill last month failed, and the timing remains uncertain.

“Could be as soon as tomorrow or as late as never,” said Representative Bill Flores, a Texas Republican.

Gathering Republicans

Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Representative Tom MacArthur of Washington, a leader in the moderate Tuesday Group, negotiated an amendment that succeed in bringing the Freedom Caucus members on board with the bill, though it’s unclear whether it’s won enough support among moderates.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday called the amendment “very good progress,” though said a decision hasn’t been made on timing a vote.

“We’re going to go when we have the votes,” Ryan told reporters at a press conference in Washington.

The legislation needs 216 votes to pass the House, assuming all members vote, and it does not yet appear that Republicans have gathered the necessary support. The bill faces even more significant obstacles in the Senate.

Insurance Pools

Under the proposed changes, states that waive consumer protections would have to set up some form of help to bring down costs for those with pre-existing conditions. That could include a separate insurance pool for sick, high-risk people, or subsidies for insurance premiums.

The AARP, which has millions of members and represents older Americans, was critical of that solution.

“Changes under consideration that would allow states to waive important consumer protections — such as allowing insurance companies to once again charge Americans with pre-existing conditions more because they’ve had cancer, diabetes or heart disease — would make this bad bill even worse,” Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer at AARP, wrote lawmakers on Wednesday.

The lobby group for insurers, America’s Health Insurance Plans, it still evaluating the changes, Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman, said in an email.

Many health groups previously opposed the legislation because it would leave more people uninsured or with limited coverage. The Congressional Budget Office determined 24 million more people would be uninsured under AHCA in 2026 than under Obamacare, though the office hasn’t yet come out with a fresh assessment.

“It is unlikely this amendment would improve these coverage estimates,” the hospital association said.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, tweeted Thursday that CBO informed them they would not have analysis ready on the changes this week or next.

    Article source: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-27/doctor-hospital-groups-say-gop-s-health-bill-worse-with-changes

Democrats Hit Republican Plan to Exempt Lawmakers From Part of Health Bill

House Republicans trying to craft a health bill compromise want to give states new flexibility to tinker with coverage and how premiums are structured, but a special exemption would treat insurance for members of Congress and their staff differently.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the GOP’s choice to treat Capitol Hill differently is a “monstrous immorality.”

“If House Republicans are afraid of Trumpcare for themselves, they have no right to force it on hard-working American families,” Pelosi said.

Republican Representative Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, the lawmaker behind the provision, said he didn’t intend for that special treatment. His office says he is taking steps to undo it, as Speaker Paul Ryan and his lieutenants consider whether and when to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote.

At issue is a section of a newly proposed amendment to the Republican bill that would allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions in states that get a waiver, under certain circumstances.

The amendment, negotiated by MacArthur and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, prompted the conservative House Freedom Caucus to formally endorse the revised measure. Conservatives are pleased that it would give states more leeway to decide what works best within their borders.

That is, except when that greater state control might apply to health coverage for the lawmakers themselves and their staff. States wouldn’t have the additional leeway for some groups of people whose health premiums might otherwise get costlier under the Republican plan — including lawmakers and their staffs.

QuickTake on efforts in Congress to repeal Obamacare

Obamacare currently requires all members of Congress and their staff who purchase health coverage to do so on the individual market, just like those who enroll in Obamacare. That requirement was adopted to show that elected lawmakers weren’t being given dispensation from something they were requiring of other Americans.

Even some House Republicans said Wednesday they didn’t realize that now, under their own Obamacare replacement plan, language to give themselves and their staffers special treatment was being proposed that could exempt them from a state’s waiver.

“Exemption? I didn’t even know there was one,” said Representative Chris Collins of New York. 

“I’m not in Obamacare. I’m not in the exchanges. I’m the spouse on my wife’s policy,” he added, when pressed about his opinion of the exemption.

Meanwhile, MacArthur on Wednesday tried to distance himself from the exemption.

His office released a statement saying, “Congressman MacArthur does not believe members of Congress or their staff should receive special treatment and is working with House leadership to make absolutely clear that members of Congress and staff are subject to the same rules, provisions, and protections as all other Americans.”

A Republican aide who didn’t want to be identified said the language in question was added in consultation with the Senate Budget Committee to meet the rules for a budget reconciliation bill, but separate legislation will be introduced to fix it.

Pelosi and others who oppose the Republican bill weren’t letting up on what they saw as an inconsistency.

“The monstrous immorality of Trumpcare is perfectly encapsulated in House Republicans’ plan to exempt their own health coverage from the damage it will do to everyone else,” she said.

    Article source: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-26/democrats-hit-gop-plan-to-exempt-itself-from-part-of-health-bill