Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
In the past decade, as many as 63 million individuals spanning from rural central California to New York City boroughs were exposed to potentially unsafe water, according to USA Today. An investigation by News21 found 680,000 water quality and monitoring violations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Those with issues cleaning their water typically took more than 2 years to fix the problems, with some only recently resolving violations that were decades-old, and others still delivering tainted water, USA Today reported. Local water systems will need to invest $384 billion in the coming decades to keep water clean, according to EPA estimates. The findings highlight the toll that 6 decades of industrial dumping, farming pollution, and water plant and distribution piper deterioration has taken on local water systems, USA Today reported.
Fleas in 2 Arizona counties tested positive for the plague, an infectious disease that killed millions in the Middle Ages. According to ABC News, the Navajo County Health Department is urging the public to take precautions to reduce their risk of exposure to this disease, warning it can be transmitted to humans and other animals by a bite from an infected flea or by direct contact with an infected animal. Symptoms of the plague include sudden onset of fever, headache, chills, weakness, and 1 or more swollen, tender, and painful lymph nodes. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other areas of the body. The CDC notes that studies suggest plague outbreaks occasionally occur in southwestern states, such as Arizona, during cooler summers following wet winters, according to ABC News.
If cost-sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are cut, it will cost taxpayers approximately $194 billion over 10 years, according to NPR. The findings come from the Congressional Budget Office, which also reported that premiums for benchmark plans sold on the ACA exchanges will rise approximately 20% next year and 25% by 2020. The cost to consumers, however, would stay the same or decline due to premium increases being offset by tax credits, NPR reported.