The New York Times — Vote delayed as Republicans struggle to marshal support for health care bill
Facing intransigent Republican opposition, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, on Tuesday delayed a vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dealing another setback to Republicans’ seven-year effort to dismantle the health law and setting up a long, heated summer of health care battles. Mr. McConnell faced resistance from across his conference, not only from the most moderate and conservative senators but from others as well. Had he pressed forward this week, he almost surely would have lacked the votes even to begin debate on the bill. “We will not be on the bill this week, but we’re still working toward getting at least 50 people in a comfortable place,” said Mr. McConnell, who is known as a canny strategist but was forced to acknowledge on Tuesday that he had more work to do.
STAT — Opioids could kill nearly 500,000 Americans in the next decade
Opioids could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis of addiction and overdose accelerates. Deaths from opioids have been rising sharply for years, and drug overdoses already kill more Americans under age 50 than anything else. STAT asked leading public health experts at 10 universities to forecast the arc of the epidemic over the next decade. The consensus: It will get worse before it gets better. There are now nearly 100 deaths a day from opioids, a swath of destruction that runs from tony New England suburbs to the farm country of California, from the beach towns of Florida to the Appalachian foothills.
The Hill — EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule
The Trump administration took formal action Tuesday toward repealing the Obama administration’s controversial regulation that extended the reach of the federal government over small waterways. Under the proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, federal officials would go back to enforcing a guidance document from 2008 when deciding whether a waterway is subject to federal oversight for pollution control purposes. It’s the first formal step by the EPA to fulfilling President Trump’s campaign promise to repeal the 2015 “waters of the United States” regulation, which Republicans and numerous industry groups have long argued would have subject farmers, developers and others to costly and time-intensive federal permitting for everyday activities like moving soil.
Kaiser Health News — 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.
The Atlantic — A clever new way to predict next year’s flu
Flu evolves remarkably fast. Consider the example of H3N2, one of two major subtypes of flu that cause trouble every winter. In some cases, a single extremely well-adapted variant of the H3N2 virus can replace all other H3N2 viruses on Earth over just a few years. Then once enough humans become immune to it, the whole cycle begins anew. This constant turnover is why the flu vaccine changes every year. Scientists usually have to predict a flu season’s dominant variants months in advance, so that vaccine manufacturers can make enough doses in time. Sometimes, those predictions are quite off. In 2015, for example, the vaccine was only 23 percent effective against that year’s circulating H3N2 variant.