Landmark Affordable Care Act ruling and its immediate aftermath, including on smoking prevention; public health groups recognize June 27 as National HIV Testing Day; and how much coffee is healthy? Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Friday, June 29, 2012.
Pump Handle — Public health reacts to Supreme Court’s ACA ruling: ‘Surprised and then ecstatic’
For me, there were few better places to hear about today’s 5-4 Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act and its individual insurance mandate than at a meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Here in Charlotte, N.C., for APHA’s Midyear Meeting, I was surrounded by hundreds of public health practitioners, researchers and advocates as we all watched the magnified scroll of Scotusblog.com, anxiously waiting for the decision. At 10:08 a.m., the blog declared: “The individual mandate survives as a tax.” That was when the cheers (and tears) began. You could feel the collective sigh of relief as smiles and hugs took over for the days — weeks and months — of nervous hand-wringing and dire predictions. As Gene Matthews of the Network for Public Health Law said, it was a “breathtaking day.” For folks at the APHA meeting, the Supreme Court decision not only meant that millions of Americans would now have access to insurance and care, but that the law’s $15 billion Prevention and Public Health Fund would remain — at least for today. (The Supreme Court decision doesn’t protect the landmark fund from congressional efforts to eliminate it entirely or shift its monies to nonhealth-related activities — efforts that many advocates predict will continue.)
Sacramento Bee — Supreme Court decision to uphold health reform law preserves vital tobacco prevention initiatives
In upholding the health care reform law today, the Supreme Court has preserved essential disease prevention initiatives that will help reduce the staggering health and financial toll of tobacco use. These prevention measures include expanded coverage of treatments to help smokers quit, as well as a new prevention fund to finance proven disease prevention and public health activities in communities across the nation.
CBS — Donations pour in to GOP after health care ruling
The Supreme Court handed President Obama a major legal and political victory by upholding the Affordable Care Act Thursday. The key provision goes into effect 18 months from now, when every American who can afford it must buy health insurance or face a penalty. It’s sure to have an impact on the November election, and both the president and the presumptive Republican nominee for his job, Mitt Romney, were quick to put their own spin on the ruling.
HLN — Whoa! Child birth like you’ve NEVER seen it
Until we figure out how to strap a helmet cam on a fetus, this will be the best view any of us will ever have of what it’s like inside a mom-to-be’s body during child birth. Aside, clearly, from our own paddle down the ol’ birth canal. The so-called “cinematic” MRI video (below) provides a side view of a 24-year-old woman’s womb during the last 25 seconds of her contractions. She was positioned on the open MRI during the final stages of her labor to record the wild, X-ray view of her baby being born. You can clearly make out its head, brain and body as well as the mother/very good sport’s spine.
Fox News — 2 cups of coffee may shield heart (but more won’t)
Drinking coffee moderately may reduce the risk of heart failure, but drinking too much makes this benefit disappear, according to a new review. People who drank two cups of coffee a day were 11 percent less likely to have heart failure, compared with people who drank no coffee. Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body, and can be caused by factors ranging from high blood pressure to pregnancy.
Private MD — Public health groups encourage HIV testing
June 27 marks National HIV Testing Day, and public health agencies across the country are using the day of recognition to encourage people to seek STD testing and find treatment if they are found to be positive for the condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone get tested for HIV at least once as part of their standard medical care. By screening everyone, doctors can determine who is at risk for spreading the infection to others.
ABC — HIV treatment adds safe once-a-day pill
Doctors told Thomas DeLorenzo he would have lived only two more days had he not come into the emergency room when he did in January 2001. He was dying of AIDS, they said, and his future was bleak because he had waited so long to get treated. He was in denial for years after his partner died of AIDS in 1995. But after finally getting diagnosed six years later, he “did whatever the doctors said. Whatever it took,” DeLorenzo, 49, of Los Angeles said. “I remember the first day I took the medication,” said DeLorenzo, who is now in law school. “It’s this big moment that you say, ‘Oh f—, here I am.’ Reality just hits you in the face.”
New York Times — Prescription drug to aid weight loss wins FDA backing
The first new prescription diet pill in 13 years won approval from the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday, providing a new option for the roughly one-third of American adults considered obese. Now the question is whether people will use it. Despite a seemingly huge market, diet drugs have not sold well in the past, in part because people tend to use them for only a short time.
The Week — Coming soon: a vaccine to help smokers quit?
Forget the patches, the electronic cigarettes, the nicotine gum: Pretty soon quitting smoking could be as simple as getting one single shot. Researchers have created a vaccine that floods the body with an antibody that stops nicotine from reaching the brain, rendering the relaxing effects of cigarettes ineffective.