Hhs Mental Health, The Obama administration will issue long awaited regulations Friday that require insurers to treat mental illness and addiction the same as physical illnesses, current and former lawmakers said.
In testimony Thursday before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, mental health advocate and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius would announce the action during a speech in Atlanta. Members of the panel familiar with the rule-making also said the regulations would be issued Friday.
Kennedy, during his 16-year tenure in Congress, championed legislation designed to bring insurance parity to people suffering from addiction and mental illness. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act was enacted in 2008, but key regulations are not yet in place.
“Naively, it turns out, we believed we had done the heavy lifting and thought the regulatory process would simply operationalize the solution we had achieved,” Kennedy said. “In truth, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act instead entered a kind of twilight zone in which everyone with an interest in it was left to imagine what it meant.”
The result, lawmakers and witnesses at the hearing said, has been a lengthy period of uncertainty for insurers and gaps in coverage form mental illness sufferers that were meant to be closed with enactment of the 2008 law.
“Five years after the act was passed, this promise remains unfulfilled,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action.
“The costs have been tremendous,” Blumenthal said. “In mental health, uncertainty kills.”
Kennedy, who has himself struggled with addiction and mental illness, said the new rules are urgently needed to ensure that soldiers returning from overseas with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress issues have access to treatment.
Chicago Tylenol Murders, On September 29, 1982, 12-year-old Mary Kellerman woke up with a sore throat, so her parents gave her Tylenol. Later that morning, her parents found her dead on the bathroom floor. That same morning in another part of town, 27-year-old postal worker Adam Ja**s was found lying on the floor of his home with difficulty breathing. He died at the hospital. When the Ja**s family later gathered at his house to make funeral arrangements, Adam’s brother and his fiancee had headaches.
They each swallowed Tylenol from a bottle they had found on Adam’s kitchen counter. They then collapsed on the kitchen floor and eventually died. By October 1, seven people in the Chicago area had died suddenly and mysteriously. The cause turned out to be Tylenol bottles that were laced with Cyanide, Crime Library reported.
Exactly thirty years later, authorities are still trying to figure out who poisoned the bottles. “It’s a horrific crime and it’s gone unsolved,” an FBI spokesperson told ABC News. No one has been charged with the murders.
But this week the Chicago Sun-Times reported that state prosecutors are considering commissioning a grand jury to compel more witness statements. No decision about the grand jury had been made yet. Authorities have long suspected that a man named James W. Lewis may be responsible for poisoning the bottles. Lewis had served 12 years in prison for sending an extortion note to Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol’s parent company, demanding $1 million to “stop the killings.” And in 2009, the FBI searched his home, Fox News reported. Yet even though Lewis was imprisoned for extortion related to the murders, he was never charged with the actual murders.
Health Care Providers, In the biggest win for President Barack Obama since his historic 2008 election, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.
In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that the controversial individual mandate, requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay up, was constitutional.
The decision means the historic overhaul will continue to go into effect over the next several years, affecting the way people receive and pay for personal medical care.
The ruling also handed Obama a campaign-season victory in rejecting arguments that Congress went too far in requiring most Americans to have health insurance.
“There is no doubt that this is a huge political win for the Obama administration,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn). “And it’s a big personal win for Barack Obama. He staked his presidency on this.”
The justices rejected two of the administration’s three arguments in support of the insurance requirement. But the court said the mandate can be construed as a tax.
“Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness,” Roberts said. (SILive)
Surprising Health Clues In The Way You Walk, If you don’t swing your arms as you move, it could indicate future lower back trouble. Walk into an exam room and a trained eye can tell a lot about you in seconds: Your stride, gait, pace, and posture while walking can reveal surprising information about your overall health and well-being.
“Many physicians are keenly aware, when they see someone walking down the street, what their diagnosis might be, whether their underlying health is good or bad, and if not good, a number of tip-offs to what might be wrong,” says Charles Blitzer, an orthopedic surgeon in Somersworth, New Hampshire, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Find out what the following 15 walking styles may signal about your health.
Walking speed is a reliable marker for longevity, according to a University of Pittsburgh*n*lysis of nine large studies, reported in a January 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. The 36,000 subjects were all over age 65. In fact, predicting survival based on walking speed proved to be as accurate as using age, S-EX-, chronic conditions, smoking, body mass index, hospitalizations, and other common markers. It’s especially accurate for those over age 75.
The average speed was 3 feet per second (about two miles an hour). Those who walked slower than 2 feet per second (1.36 miles per hour) had an increased risk of dying. Those who walked faster than 3.3 feet per second (2.25 miles per hour) or faster survived longer than would be predicted simply by age or gender.
A 2006 report in JAMA found that among adults ages 70 to 79, those who couldn’t walk a quarter mile were less likely to be alive six years later. They were also more likely to suffer illness and disability before death. An earlier study of men ages 71 to 93 found that those who could walk two miles a day had half the risk of heart attack of those who could walk only a quarter mile or less.
Surprising Way To Prevent Skin Cancer, In a new study from Denmark, people who had taken aspirin, ibuprofen and related painkillers — especially at high doses and for years at a time — were less likely to get skin cancer, compared to those who rarely used those medications.
The findings add to growing evidence that long-term use of the medications, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, may help protect people against skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest type.
Still, research has not been unanimous in that finding: one large 2008 report found no link between NSAIDs and melanoma.
The drugs have also been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer and come with known bleeding risks — so more research is needed to weigh the possible harms and benefits of the drugs outside of pain relief, researchers said.
But the lead author on the new study said it would make sense if NSAIDs were tied to skin cancer risk.
“NSAIDs work by inhibiting specific enzymes involved in inflammation,” Sigrun Alba Johannesdottir, from Aarhus University Hospital, told Reuters Health in an email.
“Previous studies show that elevated levels of these enzymes are found in skin cancer and that they are involved in important steps of cancer development such as inhibition of cell death, suppression of the immune system, and stimulation of invasiveness and blood vessel growth,” she explained.
For the new research, Johannesdottir and her colleagues looked back at records from more than 18,000 people in northern Denmark with skin cancer, both melanoma and less-risky forms of the disease, between 1991 and 2009. (Reuters Health)
How ‘Dancing’ Host Stays Slim At 40, If you’re not sold on the idea that 40 is the new 30, all it will take to be completely convinced is a quick chat with Brooke Burke-Charvet. At age 40, the Dancing With the Stars cohost and mom of four is as vibrant, slim, and S-EX-y as ever. Check out our interview with her in the June issue of Prevention, and read on for her fitness tips and tricks for looking and feeling great after hitting the big 4-0.
Focus on Quality, not Quantity
“Some people spend an-hour-and-a-half working out each day, and some people spend even more-that’s too much time. I spend as little time as I possibly can to get the best results. I like really specific moves, and I believe in working muscles to fatigue. I think that’s when you get that burn and when you start to see change.”
Perfect Your Posture for a Flat Belly
“Just keeping your core engaged makes a huge difference for your abs. Especially after having children, you find that you get into this very relaxed, bad posture. Remind yourself to keep your core engaged, whether you’re sitting, driving, or working at your computer. I’ve always done ab work, even when I was pregnant. ”
Embrace the power of Pilates
“I still try to go to a Pilates Plus class, which is fast-paced workout that’s done on a special reformer machine, once or twice a week. There are tons of studios opening up all over the country. I love it. ”
Keep Your Fave Fitness DVDs on Hand
“Sometimes I can’t get to a class that fits into my crazy schedule, so I’ll do my own DVD. It’s a 55-minute body-sculpting workout that’s old-school moves-squats, side lunges, dips, kicks-that we made more dynamic. You use multiple body parts and move at a pace where you also get cardio benefits.”
“I usually have a pretty clean, healthy, Mediterranean diet. I eat meat, fish. I’m not a real sweet person. I crave spaghetti bolognaise and things like that. I also cook with my kids a lot. I love it. They’re really actually pretty great in the kitchen. I’m trying to teach them healthy eating habits early on. It’s so important.”