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Aug 19, 2015

Scientists have finally figured out how the key gene tied to obesity makes people fat, a major discovery that could open the door to an entirely new approach to the problem beyond diet and exercise.

The work solves a big mystery: Since 2007, researchers have known that a gene called FTO was related to obesity, but they didn't know how, and could not tie it to appetite or other known factors.

Now experiments reveal that a faulty version of the gene causes energy from food to be...

Aug 19, 2015

Republican GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker's proposal for helping people with pre-existing health conditions acquire and maintain affordable health insurance would leave out many who live paycheck to paycheck while dealing with a chronic health problem, some experts say.

This week, Walker, Wisconsin's second-term governor, joined the short list of 2016 Republican presidential candidates who have outlined proposals for replacing the Affordable Care Act, which all 17 candidates...

Aug 19, 2015

Banner Health, the Phoenix-based system that has expanded rapidly through acquisitions, is seeing its expenses outpace the additional revenue.

Banner took over operations of the University of Arizona Health Network in February, adding two hospital campuses, a faculty practice and three health plans. The deal included about $1 billion in funding and capital commitments.

In the first half of the year, Banner incurred $9.8 million in operating expenses related to the transaction,...

Aug 19, 2015

Since it launched in 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's “Bad Ad” campaign has received hundreds of complaints about potentially misleading or imbalanced drug advertisements.

Most recently it condemned a series of social media posts by reality TV star Kim Kardashian, in which she raved about relieving morning sickness with a pill she endorses.

But while drug marketing is subject to “Bad Ad” oversight, watchdog groups, clinicians and policy leaders say there's far less...

Aug 19, 2015

The North Shore-LIJ Health System has finalized a partnership with Brooklyn's Maimonides Medical Center as the suburban New York giant extends its reach into the city.

The deal is being described as a strategic partnership with Maimonides retaining its own governance and identity—at least initially. “The hope is that the collaboration will work toward integration in the future,” said Mark Claster, who chairs North Shore's board of trustees.

Financial terms of the deal were not...

Aug 19, 2015

Aetna is determined to nab government approval of its $37 billion acquisition of Humana. And the health insurance titan has bulked up its roster of hired guns to meet that goal.

Last week, Aetna hired four Washington-based lobbying firms, according to a Politico news brief. The not-for-profit Sunlight Foundation shows that Aetna brought on Bloom Strategic Counsel, CGCN Group, The Gibson Group and West Front Strategies. Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna now has six lobbying firms working on...

Aug 19, 2015

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country.

The Wall Street Journal: The Post-ObamaCare Debate Begins
We interrupt the Donald J. Trump summer jam for something slightly more substantive: the emerging debate in the Republican field about how to wind down ObamaCare and repair health-care markets. Scott Walker rolled out a pragmatic center-right plan on Tuesday, and the other candidates ought to follow the Wisconsin Governor’s lead with their own proposals...

Aug 19, 2015

Health care stories are reported from Colorado, Arizona, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota, Maine, Missouri and New Mexico.

The Denver Post: Colorado Breach Exposes Personal, Health Data For 3K Clients
A computer glitch exposed protected health data or personal information for more than 3,000 Colorado residents who receive state health benefits, Gov. John Hickenlooper's administration revealed Monday. The confidential information was disclosed in letters mailed to wrong...

Aug 19, 2015

Implementation of Gov. Bill Walker's plan was set to begin Sept. 1. Some lawmakers, though, are seeking a temporary restraining order to block it while a larger issue -- whether the governor has authority to accept federal funds for the expansion without a vote by the legislature -- is decided. Meanwhile, in Utah, supporters of expansion continue to push for action.

Alaska Public Radio: Alaska Lawmakers Vote To Sue Over Gov. Walker’s Medicaid Expansion Plan
Walker planned to...

Aug 19, 2015

He thought it was pneumonia. Michael Trost, 52 and seemingly healthy, just wasn’t feeling right. During a chance break at work as a wood finisher, Trost’s wife brought him to an emergency room near where they live at the edge of the Poconos in Dingmans Ferry, Pa.

“They’ll give me a chest x-ray and antibiotics and I’ll be on my way,” Trost thought.

Trost left in April with much more than that: six weeks at home, recovering from open-heart surgery. Doctors had learned that...