Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) is circulating an outline of health care overhaul legislation that includes a requirement that all individuals obtain coverage and requires contributions from employers, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, the legislation "closely resembles" the Massachusetts health insurance law enacted in 2006, the Post reports. According to the draft summary, the bill calls for a public, government-sponsored health insurance option that would compete with private insurers. The measure also would expand Medicaid eligibility, according to the Post. Kennedy spokesperson Anthony Coley said that the outline is not yet finalized.
President Obama has nominated Miguel Diaz, a Cuban-born Roman Catholic and an associate professor of theology at the College of Saint Benedict at St. John's University in Minnesota, as the next U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, the White House announced on Wednesday, AP/Boston Globe reports. According to the AP/Globe, although the selection of an ambassador for the Vatican does not usually draw much scrutiny, Diaz's nomination "comes as tensions run high in the U.S. church over Catholics' voice in the public square and the politics of abortion, " especially in the wake of the controversy over Obama's recent speech at the University of Notre Dame.
A new study is the first to show that there is a previously unrecognized role for environmental pollution in liver disease in the general U.S. adult population. This work builds upon the groups' previous research demonstrating liver disease in highly-exposed chemical workers. The study is being presented during Digestive Disease Week® 2009 (DDW® ), the largest international gathering of physicians and researchers in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, endoscopy and gastrointestinal surgery. "Our study found that greater than one in three U.S. adults had liver disease, even after excluding those with traditional risk factors such as alcoholism and viral hepatitis, " said Matthew Cave, MD, assistant professor, department of medicine, division of gastroenterology and hepatology at the University of Louisville.
Drug-facilitated sexual crimes are increasing. The Bonn Institute for Forensic Medicine has recorded that the number of examinations on the use of intoxicants in sexual offences within their catchment area increased 10-fold between 1997 and 2006. In the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International, Burkhard Madea and Frank Musshoff present the modes of action and the detection windows for the most frequent substances ( Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106 (20): 341-347). Many substances can be used as knock-out drugs, for example alcohol and liquid ecstasy. However, the most important are benzodiazepines and other hypnotics, which can act within 10 minutes.
A leading expert has warned that the UK can expect to be hit by a swine flu pandemic in the autumn when students go back to school and university. John Oxford, professor of virology at St Bartholomew's (Barts) hospital in London said on Sunday that the outbreak will strike before a vaccine is available, reported the Guardian. So far, the UK has seen a relatively low number of confirmed cases, but as the weather gets colder in September and October, and students go back to school and university, and workers return from summer holidays, this will give the swine flu virus the "opportunity" it needs, said Oxford. "That's the scenario we should prepare for and that's what we are preparing for, " he added.
The Nevada Assembly last week voted to approve a bill ( SB 229 ) that would authorize the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to stop the exploitation of foreign physicians who have come to the state to provide care to residents in underserved areas, the Las Vegas Sun reports. The measure now goes to Gov. Jim Gibbons (R) for his approval (Allen, Las Vegas Sun, 5/28). A September 2007 Sun investigation of the J-1 visa program found that some foreign physicians were forced by their sponsors to work up to 100 hours per week, and were being "cheated out of their salaries" and "diverted from the patients" in underserved areas whom they were supposed to help ( Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/6/08).