Trending News Today: Aetna to Completely Withdraw from ACA Exchanges, Citing Financial Losses

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

International health experts have questioned the efficacy of arthroscopic surgery, a common orthopedic procedure for patients with degenerative knee problems, according to Kaiser Health News. The investigators used 13 studies that included nearly 1700 patients, which showed that the surgery did not improve function or provide lasting pain relief. According to the experts, fewer than 15% of patients experienced improvement in pain and function 3 months after the procedure. Additionally, the beneficial effects went away after 1 year. The surgery can also expose patients to “rare but important harms,” such as infection, KHN reported. The panel’s recommendations counter previous guidelines from multiple medical groups that promote the procedure to patients with issues such as meniscal tears.

Aetna has announced that it will withdraw from all Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges by 2018, reported The Washington Post. The company has cited significant financial losses and uncertainty surrounding the insurance marketplaces as a cause for their exit. Last year, Aetna lost $450 million on nearly 1 million of its customers with individual health policies on and off the insurance exchanges. Aetna spokesman TJ Crawford, said the insurance giant projects to lose another $200 million for 2017 on its remaining 255,000 ACA customers, the Post reported.

The brain disorder hereditary cerebral cavernous malformations—–characterized by irregular dilated capillaries that protrude from veins in the brain, and can leak blood or burst at any time––is caused by a specific type of bacteria that resides in the gut. The study is among the first to suggest that the bacteria may initiate the disease in seemingly unrelated organs, according to the New York Times. The investigators identified gram-negative bacteria, which carries lipopolysaccharides in the cell walls, as the cause of the brain disorder. Using mice, the investigators found that mice who developed abscesses developed the brain defect. Whereas, mice administered antibiotics that kill this common bacterium were completely protected from the brain defect. Although the findings are convincing, the authors warned that it is still too soon to determine whether antibiotics followed by a fecal transplant would work.