Trending News Today: Weight Loss Drugs May Help Fight Opioid Addiction

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

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) expressed concerns regarding short-term insurance plans that are being floated by the Trump administration, according to The Washington Post. Short-term insurance allows people to buy plans that last up to 12 months, which critics fear will split the insurance market by prompting younger healthy people to buy cheaper plans, causing premiums for Affordable Care Act plans to spiral out of control. While proponents say these concerns are overblown and that the uninsured need more options, AHIP stated that short-term plans could raise the overall cost of health care in the United States.

A young military veteran whose genitals were blown off by a bomb received a groundbreaking transplant of a penis, scrotum, and portion of an abdominal wall taken from a deceased organ donor, according to the Associated Press. Surgeons from Johns Hopkins University rebuilt the man's entire pelvic region during the experimental 14-hour operation in March. The patient is expected to regain near-normal urinary and sexual functions as his nerves heal over time, but he will not regain fertility. “It’s a real mind-boggling injury to suffer; it is not an easy one to accept,” the patient said in a news release. “When I first woke up, I felt finally more normal.”

Seeing a correlation between the mechanisms that drive various types of addiction, researchers are evaluating whether several weight loss drugs that failed commercially could help reduce the burden of the opioid epidemic, according to STAT. Researchers believe that an addiction to drugs may, in essence, be similar to an addiction to food. They are now evaluating medications such as Qsymia, Belviq, and Contrave, which are prescription weight loss drugs that failed on the market after initially being expected to perform well, according to the article.