In light of the ‘anti-homosexuality bill’ that may pass through Uganda parliament, discussion of its global impact continues; state funding has been underutilized in efforts to reduce tobacco consumption; and a new study by University of California, San Diego finds feelings of well-being may improve with age. Read these and more public health news stories for Friday, Dec. 7, 2012.

First PostThe “Kill the gays’ bill: Why it matters outside Uganda
The Speaker in Uganda’s parliament is promising a gift like no other for Christmas to her countrymen. Rebecca Kadaga has vowed to resuscitate the “kill the gays” bill, that was put into cold storage in 2009 after it spurred international outrage. At a time when the US Supreme Court is mulling same-sex marriage and the court in India has just heard arguments about decriminalising consensual gay sex, Uganda wants to get on an express train back to the dark ages.

Washington TimesReport: Cash for anti-smoking efforts lacking
Anti-smoking efforts nationwide remain woefully underfunded as states squander most of their tobacco tax revenue, a major report from a coalition of public health groups shows. For fiscal 2013, states will receive nearly $26 billion through a combination of cigarette taxes and revenue from their landmark 1998 legal settlement with U.S. tobacco companies. Only $459 million will go to smoking prevention campaigns and other initiatives to help addicts quit, with some states — such as New Jersey, Ohio, New Hampshire and North Carolina — spending nothing on the efforts, according to the joint study by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and other organizations.

Union TribuneStudy shows seniors feeling better as they age
There are currently about 40 million Americans over the age of 65, with the fastest-growing segment of the population over 80 years old. Traditionally, aging has been viewed as a period of progressive decline in physical, cognitive and psychosocial functioning, and aging is viewed by many as the “number one public health problem” facing Americans today.

NBC ConnecticutFlu vaccine mandate sparks rights debate
Flu season is starting to kick in early this year across parts of the country. However, it’s the vaccine – not the illness – that is turning heads in Connecticut. There is a controversial new flu vaccine mandate coming from several hospitals and organizations across the state that has forced a few long-time employees out of work. Wendi Comeau, an accountant with Hartford HealthCare, is one of them. She never thought her employer would try to force something into her body.

Kaiser Health NewsHuge experiment aims to save on care for poorest, sickest patients
It is usually after the mail arrives that Della Saavedra comes undone. That’s when she sits in her living room in this struggling Los Angeles suburb and sorts through the latest round of letters from her health plan, each rejecting her appeal to stay with her trusted oncologist at City of Hope, a local cancer center. For as long as she can remember, Saavedra, 53, a former cafeteria worker who suffers from bone marrow cancer, has been insured through Medicaid, the joint federal-state program for low-income people. For most of that time, she could go to any doctor willing to take her, but last year, the state revamped the program and assigned her to a managed care plan with a restricted network of doctors. Her oncologist is not on its roster.