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Category Archives: Health Care

‘Text neck’ is becoming an ‘epidemic’ and could wreck your spine

Lindsey Bever, Washington Post: “The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds, and at 60 degrees it’s 60 pounds. That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours every day, according to research published by Kenneth Hansraj in the National Library of Medicine. The study will appear next month in Surgical Technology International. Over time, researchers say, this poor posture, sometimes called “text neck,” can lead to early wear-and-tear on the spine, degeneration and even surgery. “It is an epidemic or, at least, it’s very common,” Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, told The Washington Post. “Just look around you, everyone has their heads down.”

 

How Many Americans Could Lose Subsidies If the Supreme Court Rules for the Plaintiffs in King vs. Burwell?

Kaiser Family Foundation: “This map based on Foundation analysis of Congressional Budget Office estimates of Marketplace enrollment provides a state-level breakdown of the number of Americans who in 2016 could be denied financial assistance to help pay insurance premiums for plans purchased in the Affordable Care Act’s federally operated insurance exchanges. In a related column in The WallContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Consumer Product Safety, Defense Contractors, FOIA, IRAs, Intellectual Property, VA Benefits

CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY OVERSIGHT: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Coordination and Increase Efficiencies and Effectiveness, GAO-15-52: Published: Nov 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 2014. DEFENSE CONTRACTORS: Additional Actions Needed to Facilitate the Use of DOD’s Inventory of Contracted Services, GAO-15-88: Published: Nov 19, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 2014. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: DHS Should Take Steps to Improve Cost Reporting andContinue Reading

ACSI: Rising Fees Hurt Bank Customer Satisfaction; Consumers Dissatisfied with Health Insurance Plans

“Customer satisfaction with banks is down as fees reach new heights, according to a report released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The decline nearly reverses two years of ACSI improvement for retail banks. Credit unions, however, continue to rank best among financial services with an ACSI score of 85 on a 100-pointContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Health Care Transparency, Human Trafficking, Highway Projects, Public Transportation, Overseas Military Construction

HEALTH CARE TRANSPARENCY: Actions Needed to Improve Cost and Quality Information for Consumers, GAO-15-11: Published: Oct 20, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2014. HIGHWAY PROJECTS: Many Federal and State Environmental Review Requirements Are Similar, and Little Duplication of Effort Occurs, GAO-15-71: Published: Nov 18, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2014. HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Oversight of Contractors’ Use of Foreign Workers in High-Risk EnvironmentsContinue Reading

Common antimicrobial in personal hygiene products identified as carcinogen

ScienceDaily: “Ticlosan is an antimicrobial commonly found in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and many other household items. Despite its widespread use, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report potentially serious consequences of long-term exposure to the chemical. The study, published Nov. 17 by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows thatContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Financial Audits of SEC, FHFA, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

FINANCIAL AUDIT: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements, GAO-15-146R: Published: Nov 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2014. FINANCIAL AUDIT: Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements, GAO-15-147R: Published: Nov 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2014. FINANCIAL AUDIT: Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements, GAO-15-166R: Published: Nov 17,Continue Reading

New Database of FDA Warning Letters Helps Consumers Avoid Adulterated Products Masquerading as Supplements

“The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, today announced a free online tool that compiles FDA Warning Letters sent to dietary supplement companies into a searchable database to help industry achieve better regulatory compliance. The database can be used to evaluate FDA’s warning letterContinue Reading

The Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans

“A new report, “The Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans,” looks at those Gulf War veterans who began service on or after August 1990, the official start of the first Gulf War. It differentiates between “Gulf War I” veterans — those who served only during the August 1990 to August 2001 period —Continue Reading

Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Kaiser Family Foundation – “This Visualizing Health Policy infographic takes a look at recent trends in employer-sponsored insurance, including average premium increases for workers with family coverage, the average yearly cost of premiums for single and family coverage and how those costs have increased in the past decade, along with the prevalence of health promotion programsContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Compounded Drugs, Bureau of Fiscal Service Audit

COMPOUNDED DRUGS: Payment Practices Vary across Public Programs and Private Insurers, and Medicare Part B Policy Should Be Clarified, GAO-15-85: Published: Oct 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2014. FINANCIAL AUDIT: Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Schedules of Federal Debt, GAO-15-157: Published: Nov 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2014.

Oxfam’s new report on global inequalty

“From Ghana to Germany, South Africa to Spain, the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing, and economic inequality has reached extreme levels. In South Africa, inequality is greater today than at the end of Apartheid.The consequences are corrosive for everyone. Extreme inequality corrupts politics, hinders economic growth and stifles social mobility. It fuels crimeContinue Reading