Public Health News Roundup: November 26
Study: Many Insurers Not Covering Tobacco Treatments Mandated by Affordable Care Act
Many health insurers are not providing coverage for tobacco cessation treatments mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute and commissioned by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids with funding from Pfizer, Inc. Researchers found that many of the policies contained “confusing or conflicting language” that made it difficult for consumers to determine whether cessation treatments are covered by their insurance, according to a Tobacco-Free Kids release. They recommend that federal and state regulators clarify for insurers the requirements under the ACA. "Tobacco use is a leading risk factor for cancer, heart and lung disease and other serious chronic conditions,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Tobacco-Free Kids. “Covering effective tobacco cessation treatments is a smart way for insurers to avoid the cost of future illness, and it is the law." Read more on tobacco.
AAP: Pediatricians Should Prescribe Emergency Contraception in Advance
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that pediatricians provide advance prescriptions for emergency contraception for girls under 17, who are banned by federal law from getting the drug over the counter. This will enable them to get treatment more quickly. "It's just common sense that requiring a prescription is a barrier," said Bill Alpert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "If an august and respected medical group like AAP is suggesting providing emergency contraception to minors is OK, that is a big deal." See more on teen pregnancy.
CDC: Number of Kids with Diabetes to Jump Dramatically by 2050
The number of American kids with type 2 diabetes could climb nearly 50 percent by 2050, according to a new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Diabetes Care. Type 1 could increase by about 23 percent. Assuming the rates stay even, in 2050 there could be 203,000 U.S. children with type 1 and 30,000 with type 2. The numbers jump dramatically if the rate current rate increases, demonstrating the need for addressing the causes of diabetes today. "We need to think as a society that diabetes is a public health issue that must be addressed," said Robert Ratner, MD, chief scientific and medical officer for the American Diabetes Association. "In the last century, we've dealt with things like sanitation and clean water as public health issues. Well, the current epidemic of diabetes and the potential growth is a public health risk that we need to address. Even staying where we are is unsustainable." Read more on diabetes.