Economy a factor in low birth weight, 19 million new cases of STDs diagnosed in U.S. every year; supercommittee deadline approaching. Those headlines and more topping public health news today, Friday, November 18, 2011.

USA Today – Medicare-Medicaid ‘dual eligibles’ under scrutiny
Charles Barnum, 70, has heart problems, kidney issues and diabetes. But his health coverage through a managed-care plan seems about as solid as you can find: He’s covered by not only Medicare, but Medicaid as well.

Chicago Tribune – America’s endless budget drama
By Wednesday, the congressional supercommittee must cobble together a package of tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, or trigger deep cuts in defense and discretionary spending.

Baltimore Sun – Where you live can help determine your health, studies say
Sabrina Oliver looked forward to good schools and safer streets when she moved her family from her crime-ridden and trash-strewn West Baltimore neighborhood to the suburbs, but was surprised to discover another benefit as well – a dramatic improvement in their health.

UPI – U.S.: 19 million new STDs each year
There are 19 million new sexually transmitted infections every year, costing the U.S. healthcare system $17 billion annually, federal health officials say.

Associated Press via News & Observer – Lower birth rates tied to economy, experts think
U.S. births dropped for the third straight year – especially for young mothers – and experts think money worries are the reason. A federal report released Thursday showed declines in the birth rate for all races and most age groups. Teens and women in their early 20s had the most dramatic dip, to the lowest rates since record-keeping began in the 1940s.

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