Trending News Today: Health Care Exchange-Traded Funds on the Rise

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

Despite opting out of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2010, the governor of Arizona signed the program into law this past Friday, reported The New York Times. The primary goal of the program is to help working families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid health care coverage but still can’t afford private health insurance. In order to be eligible for KidsCare, a family of 4 is required to earn between $33,000 and $49,000 annually. The decision followed a heated debate where 2 top lawmakers strongly opposed the program due to cost concerns. The program will serve approximately 30,000 children residing in Arizona.

After a rocky start to the year, the health care and biotech funds sector has begun to turn around, reported The Wall Street Journal. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds focused on health care and biotech increased 3.6% in April, becoming one of the best performing sectors. This rise followed a 14% drop in the first quarter and 17% in the 12 months through March. “Health care and biotech continue to be high-probability, long-term, successful growth sectors, (and) smart investors take advantage of these downdrafts by adding to their positions,” said Steve Janachowski, president and chief executive of Brouwer & Janachowski. “(Still), biotech is extraordinarily volatile and is suitable for a small portion of a well-diversified portfolio.”

A drug used to treat colon cancer was found to improve the vision of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a disease that attacks central vision. Both diseases involve the growth of new blood vessels, which the cancer drug attacks in order to target similar vessels found in wet AMD, reported NPR. However, there are several limitations to this treatment, including the medications being injected into the eye, high costs, burden on patients in families who need to take off work, and the public health cost. Fortunately, a recent large study that examined patients 5 years after treatment found that about half of patients had vision good enough to meet most states’ driving requirements, while 10% had normal vision. More research and tests need to be done to help improve the vision of patients with wet AMD.