Reuters – Life expectancy tied to voting choices in last U.S. presidential election
Voters in counties where life expectancy has stagnated and declined in recent years were more likely to abandon the Democratic Party to help elect U.S. President Donald Trump, a new study suggests. The study examined county-level data on voting patterns from the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections and on life expectancy for people born from 1980 to 2014. In counties with below-average gains in life expectancy or declines, a majority of voters chose Trump, the Republican nominee. But in counties with above-average gains in life expectancy, most voters chose the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

POLITICO – Senate Democrats ask FDA to ban menthol cigarettes
A letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb today petitions the agency to remove menthol, warning that the cigarettes are targeted to younger Americans and are addicting a new generation of smokers. “We believe it is time for the FDA to act on the substantial scientific data and use the authority provided by the Tobacco Control Act to remove menthol cigarettes from the marketplace,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and seven colleagues write.

Modern Healthcare – Experts: Hate crimes are a public health issue
The violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12 is part of a rise in hate-related crimes, a trend that could be harming the nation’s health beyond the direct effects of the actual hate crimes. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 1,800 race-related incidents occurred between Nov. 9 and March 31, with more than 1,000 occurring within the first month after the election. The current toxic social and political environment has a negative effect on the public’s health, experts say, giving increasingly population health-minded providers a responsibility to raise awareness in the community and better educate patients.

The Washington Post – Mapping out the causes of suicide in teenagers and children
Just before Christmas 2015, child psychiatrist Daniel Nelson noticed an unusual number of suicidal kids in the hospital emergency room. A 14-year-old girl with a parent addicted to opioids tried to choke herself with a seat belt. A 12-year-old transgender child hurt himself after being bullied. And a steady stream of kids arrived from the city’s west side, telling him they knew other kids — at school, in their neighborhoods — who had also tried to die. Nelson, who has been practicing for two decades, says many of his patients come from families with addiction problems. In a program he runs for preschoolers who have been severely abused, over 60 percent have an opioid-addicted parent.

NPR – Oregon, Texas lay down markers on abortion coverage
Federal health insurance rules are a moving target, and it’s unclear whether Republicans will take another run at replacing the Affordable Care Act. In the meantime, some states are staking out strong positions on coverage of abortion, regardless of how the federal landscape changes. Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed a bill generally prohibiting health insurers who offer individual and employer-based plans from covering abortion unless a woman’s life is in danger. That same day, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, signed a bill requiring most health plans to cover reproductive health services, including contraceptive drugs, devices, and procedures, without charging consumers anything out-of-pocket. Abortion is one of those services.