Friday Fix: July 28, 2017

Obamacare Repeal Halted, Caution Urged During Tick Season, and How Optimism Affects Health

We get it – keeping up with daily news is hard.

That’s why every other week, North Country Vitals picks three pieces of important healthcare news and compiles them into the Friday FixSome are local and others affect our state, country, or world. We even do our best to break down complicated subjects and offer commentary to help you understand how the news affects your daily life.

So, what has been making headlines in healthcare recently? Here’s what we found:

1. “McCain Votes No, Derails ‘Skinny Repeal’ In Marathon Session”

This article, published today in Kaiser Health News, outlines the latest development in the debate to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” According to Kaiser Health’s Michael McAuliff, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona (who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer) interrupted his treatment early this morning to vote “no” on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

McCain’s unexpected vote contributed to the defeat of the bill, which was turned down in the Senate by a vote of 51-49. This decision ends the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act — at least for now.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act has been a hotly debated topic in recent months, as Republican lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to repeal and replace the law since March. Various efforts to repeal have been thwarted by general indecision within the Republican Party and staunch opposition from Democrats. For instance, Senator Diane Feinstein, a Democrat from California, recently told Kaiser Health News:

“We’ve had one bad bill after another. There is no bill that is a good bill. Every bill takes people off health care. Every bill makes you pay more for less. There’s a race to the bottom, so to speak.”

Click here to read more.

2. “Health officials recommend caution, not fear, this tick season”

This Watertown Daily Times article takes a look at tick-borne diseases in response to heightened concerns across the state about Lyme disease and the Powassan virus. The article states that as many as three cases of Powassan virus have been reported in Saratoga County, with one infected resident dying.

However, state Department of Health Epidemiologist and Research Scientist Bryon Backenson tells the newspaper that tick-borne diseases are not on the rise and residents should not be more concerned than usual. Mr. Backenson encouraged the same protective measures as always — wearing long sleeves and pants when possible, wearing light colors and using insect repellent while outdoors.

To read the full article, click here.

3. “How happiness relates to health”

In this episode of WRVO Public Media’s weekly radio series “Take Care,” hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen examine the relationship between health and happiness.

Through interviews with some of the country’s top experts in the field, the broadcast reveals how happiness and optimism can have a profound impact on our health and wellness. For instance, Dr. Laura Kubzansky — a professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health — explained how happiness can play a role in preventing disease, sometimes even more so than one’s family history, socio-economic status or lifestyle choices.

“Folks that are the most optimistic are at about half the risk of developing heart disease in the period of follow-up relative to the people with the lowest levels of optimism.”

To read or listen to the entire broadcast, click here.

We’ll see you August 11 for the next Friday Fix!

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