The New York Times — Explaining the health payments that Trump is threatening to end
Cost-sharing reductions seem like an arcane aspect of the Affordable Care Act, but they could now make or break the Obamacare insurance marketplaces. Even President Trump is talking about them, as a possible bargaining chip for a new health bill. The government pays the insurance companies extra — $7 billion last year — to offer plans with discounts on the usual deductibles and co-payments that might make medical care unaffordable for relatively poor consumers.
The Washington Post — Some vitamins and minerals may carry more risks than benefits
“Supplements are most useful when they’re used to replace dietary deficiencies,” says Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, Marvin M. Lipman. “Therefore, most of us don’t need them. Such needless use can be harmful, especially if you also take prescription medications.” In addition, the evidence supporting supplements is often flimsy or mixed, and because of lax regulation you can’t always be sure what they contain. The following four products may be especially harmful if you’re older than 50.
STAT — Overcoming opioids: The quest for less addictive drugs
This growing dependence on opioids has mushroomed into a national health crisis, ripping apart communities and straining police and health departments. Every day, an overdose of prescription opioids or heroin kills 91 people, and legions more are brought back from the brink of death. With some 2 million Americans hooked on these pills, evidence is growing that they’re not as good a choice for treating chronic pain as once thought. Drug companies are working on alternatives, but have had little success.
Kaiser Health News — In remote Idaho, a tiny facility lights the way for stressed rural hospitals
Rural hospitals are facing one of the great slow-moving crises in American health care. Across the U.S., they’ve been closing at a rate of about one per month since 2010 — a total of 78, or about 6 percent. About 14 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural counties, a proportion that has dropped as the number of urban dwellers grows. Declining populations mean a smaller base of patients and less revenue.