Today's headlines include reports about the international AIDS conference taking place this week in Washington, D.C.
Kaiser Health News: Greg Millett: New HIV Infections Are Down, But 'Much More' To Be Done (Video)
In this Kaiser Health News video, Greg Millett, a senior policy advisor in the Office of National AIDS Policy, tells Joanne Silberner that the president's National HIV/AIDS Strategy has improved coordination among federal agencies and that the 2010 health law will improve access to care for those living with HIV/AIDS (7/23). Watch the video or read the transcript.
Kaiser Health News: 'Child Life Specialists' Help Sick Kids Be Kids
Kaiser Health News staff writer Jenny Gold, working in collaboration with NPR, reports: "Yoselyn Gaitan, an eight-year-old with a shy smile, sits quietly in an exam room at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C., wearing a tiny hospital gown. She looks a little uneasy as she waits to be brought back to the operating room for the final surgery on her cleft palate. Kelly Schraf spots her through the curtain, and tiptoes into her room" (Gold, 7/23). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Meet A New Breed Of Medical Professional: The Health Coach
APRN's Annie Feidt, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "Health coaches are a new kind of health professional, and it's their job to help people make those easy-to-say, hard-to-do behavioral changes that promote good health-;getting enough exercise, eating a balanced diet, managing stress" (Feidt, 7/23). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: States Efforts To Outsource Prison Health Care Under Scrutiny
Reporting for Kaiser Health News and working in collaboration with The Washington Post, Kimberly Leonard writes: "States, in an attempt to cut costs, are increasingly outsourcing health care for inmates to for-profit companies, but the trend is raising concerns among unions and prisoners' rights groups" (Leonard, 7/22). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News: Texas Advocates Push Insurance Rate Review
KUHF's Carrie Feibel, working in partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR, reports: "In an effort to make insurance affordable, the federal law requires every state to conduct a special review whenever a health insurer wants to raise premiums more than 10 percent. This rate review would help protect small businesses and individuals who buy their own policies. The provision went into effect last September, and since then, insurers made nine such requests in Texas" (Feibel, 7/20). Read the story.
Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend news coverage related to the opening of the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
The Associated Press: Working Poor Stand At Center Of Medicaid Debate
Jose Gallegos' company eliminated employee health insurance to save money, so when his gut started hurting and his skin took on a yellow tinge, he resisted seeing a doctor. When he finally went to the emergency room, physicians diagnosed stomach cancer. ... Two years later, it was (his wife) Andrea's turn. A crack and sharp pain in her back drove her to the emergency room, where she learned she had breast cancer. ... Families like the Gallegos stand at the center of a debate over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which could have expanded Medicaid coverage to 1.3 million uninsured Texans. But Republican Gov. Rick Perry has said he will not widen the program because it would cost too much. "It gets me mad," Gallegos said. Perry "made a decision without us" (Sherman and Llorca, 7/22).
The New York Times: Romney Aide Helps States Comply With Health Care Law
If Republicans in Congress agree on anything, it is their desire to eradicate President Obama's health care law. But one of the top advisers to Mitt Romney, the party's likely presidential nominee, has spent the last two years advising states and private insurers on how to comply with the law. The adviser, Michael O. Leavitt, gets high marks from state officials and policy experts, who describe him as a pragmatist with a voracious appetite for information. But his work has caused consternation among some conservatives, who want states to resist the health care law (Pear, 7/21).
The Washington Post: Third-Party Groups Ready Multiple Ads Attacking Health-Care Law
Conservative groups are gearing up to spend millions of dollars over the next three months on ads attacking President Obama's health-care law and Democrats who support it, but in many cases voters will have no way of knowing who paid for the barrage. The ads amount to the next wave of opposition to Obama's health-care plan, which was upheld by the Supreme Court last month as constitutional under the federal government's taxing authority. Some of the groups most active on the issue have received funding from health-care firms opposed to parts of the legislation (Eggen, 7/20).
NPR: Abortion Back On The Front Burner For Congress
It's not just states where abortion is heating up as an issue this election year. Congress is getting back into the fray, too. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved, on a party-line vote of 18-14, a bill that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Congress frequently exerts control over the city and its governance, much to the chagrin of the district's elected officials and residents. The law is one of several of a similar type that have passed in multiple states (Rovner, 7/20).
The Wall Street Journal: The Cancer Card And A Fighter In Florida
The tough battle for a U.S. Senate seat for Montana has reached the point where the candidates are battling over who is soft on cancer-;and featuring dueling cancer survivors in their television ads. Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester aired an ad on July 10 criticizing Rep. Dennis Rehberg, his Republican challenger, for voting to defund Title X of the Public Health Service Act, which funds family-planning services for low-income women. ... The Rehberg campaign, which launched a rebuttal ad this week, says the congressman didn't vote to eliminate breast-cancer screening. It shows an elderly woman who has had breast and thyroid cancer saying, "Denny has a good heart and understands what cancer does to everyone it touches." At the end of the ad, viewers find out the woman is Mr. Rehberg's mother (Bendavid, 7/21).
NPR: Testing, Treatment Key Weapons IN AIDS Fight
Thirty years ago, we first began hearing about AIDS -; then a mysterious, unnamed disease that was initially thought to be a rare form of cancer that affected gay men. Scientists soon learned that it was neither of those things, and, in fact, it was a virus that everyone was vulnerable to. ….The battle, however, is far from over. Each year in the U.S., 50,000 new cases of HIV are diagnosed. One of the hardest-hit places is Washington, D.C., which plays host this week to the International AIDS Conference (7/22).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: At Turning Point, International AIDS Conference Opens With Aim To Stem HIV's Spread
Researchers, doctors and patients attending the world's largest AIDS conference are urging the world's governments not to cut back on the fight against the epidemic when it is at a turning point. There is no cure or vaccine yet, but scientists say they have the tools to finally stem the spread of this intractable virus -; largely by using treatment not just to save patients but to make them less infectious, too (7/23).
The Washington Post: Everything's Different (Almost) Since Last International AIDS Conference In U.S.
AIDS has killed 35 million people. It's caused physical pain and mental anguish for many who live with it. It's created a generation of African orphans. It's drained untold trillions of dollars from national economies and people's pockets. There's also one other way to describe the AIDS saga. It's a success story (Brown, 7/21).
The Washington Post: For Americans With HIV, There Are Many Obstacles To Successful Treatment
"The issue of how to treat patients is a done deal. We know what to do," said John G. Bartlett, 76, who watched the AIDS epidemic unfold as head of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1980 to 2006. Today, the big issues are how to find the patients, test them, get them into medical care and keep them there, provide them medicines, educate them and follow their progress. This cascade of challenges reflects both the peculiarities of this disease and medical care in the United States (Brown, 7/21).
The New York Times: In Washington, H.I.V. Testing Moves Beyond the Clinic
Angela Byrde, 27, is getting only the second H.I.V. test of her life -; at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Her situation exemplifies what is wrong with Washington's AIDS epidemic, and America's -; and what the nation's capital is finally doing to fix that. As a diabetic with Medicaid coverage, Ms. Byrde has seen doctors several times a year since she was 12, but they never suggested that she be tested, even though she lives in a city with one of the country's highest H.I.V. infection rates. Now the city, trying to find the estimated 5,000 Washingtonians who are infected but do not know it, is offering tests in grocery stores and high schools, on corners where addicts gather and even in motor vehicle offices. And it is paying people to take them (McNeil, 7/20).
The Washington Post: Global AIDS Conference Rally Calls For Cheaper Medicines, More Funding
The first International AIDS Conference to be held in the United States in more than two decades opened Sunday with repeated assertions that the 31-year-old epidemic can be realistically brought to an end with more money and attention, strategically applied. The money is needed to put millions more of the world's 34 million HIV-infected people on medication, with special attention to those most at risk of getting and transmitting the virus -; male homosexuals, drug users and the poor (Brown, Shaver and Botelho, 7/22).
Politico: After 22 Years, AIDS Conference Comes To D.C.
The massive International AIDS Conference convenes here this week, and hopes are running high that a long-sought goal of "a generation without HIV" may be within reach. Thousands of HIV and AIDS researchers, activists and policymakers from around the world are in Washington, and it's the first time the conference has been held in the United States in 22 years, ending a boycott of a policy forbidding U.S. visas to people who had HIV that the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) originally pushed into law (Norman, 7/22).
The Washington Post: Va. Attorney General Argues For Do-Nothing Policy Against Federal Health-Care Law
Ken Cuccinelli II, the first state attorney general in the nation to sue over the federal health-care law, has hit upon a new anti-"Obamacare" strategy that is much easier than going to court: Do nothing. Virginia and other states can shield businesses from hefty fines for failing to provide adequate health insurance for employees, he contends, simply by refusing to set up their own state-based insurance exchanges (Vozzella, 7/21).
The Washington Post: Filling In The Details Of How Prince George's Should Revamp Its Publicly Funded Medical System
Maryland officials are preparing to unveil this week a detailed plan for a $600 million regional hospital to replace the ailing Prince George's Hospital Center and establish a new health-care network throughout Prince George's County. The plans are part of a broad effort to improve health care in a county where an estimated 150,000 residents lack health insurance or have insufficient coverage and often rely on hospital emergency rooms for primary care (Spivak, 7/21).
Los Angeles Times: SAG-AFTRA Board Pushes For Single Health And Pension Plans
When members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to merge earlier this year, they did so with the long-term goal of combining their pension and health plans. On Sunday, the SAG-AFTRA board of directors took a step in that direction. They voted overwhelmingly to urge trustees of the unions' still separate pension and health plans to begin meetings to discuss how to create single health and retirement plans for members of the newly formed union (Verrier, 7/22).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.