Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.
Health insurance premiums are likely to increase right before the November midterm elections after Congress omitted federal money from its new spending package that would strengthen federal insurance exchanges, according to The Wall Street Journal. Funding for the exchanges ultimately fell through after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement over the inclusion of abortion restrictions that Democrats deemed unacceptable, according to the article. The WSJ noted that finger pointing over the premium hikes is likely to continue through the election cycle.
Advocates are concerned that federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic will not be enough to address the ongoing crisis, according to The Associated Press. The government allocated $4.6 billion to address the opioid crisis, which claimed the deaths of 42,000 Americans in 2016. By comparison, spending on the AIDS epidemic reaches $7 billion annually, with a death toll that peaked in 1995 at 43,000, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. A White House analysis released in November estimated the cost of the opioid epidemic to the US health care system at approximately $500 billion per year.
Despite continued efforts to raise awareness for the health risks that accompany obesity, more Americans are overweight than ever before, The New York Times reports. The results of a study published by JAMA show 40% of US adults are now obese, a sharp increase from 10 years ago. “Most people know that being overweight or obese is unhealthy, and if you eat too much that contributes to being overweight,” Dr. James Krieger, executive director of advocacy group Healthy Food America, told the Times. “But just telling people there’s a problem doesn’t solve it.”