There were more than 150 statewide measures on ballots this midterm election, and several involved health-related issues. Alabama and West Virginia voted measures into their constitutions that restrict abortions. Michigan became the 10th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational marijuana. Voters in Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska voted yes to expand Medicaid eligibility to people under 65 whose income is 138% of the federal poverty level.
A study following 1,420 children over 22 years underscored the lifelong negative impact that adverse childhood experiences can have on mental health. For example, children who experienced trauma were 1.5 times as likely to develop psychiatric conditions. Experts say that public health policy, such as the recently enacted SUPPORT Act, is critical to nurturing children and families who have experienced trauma.
A study that included over 25,000 of Americans over the age of 50 were in a study to compare the effects of vitamin D, omega-3, and placebo on heart disease and cancer. The researchers found that, after five years, there was no difference in the incidence of these diseases. However, there may be some reduction of heart attacks associated with omega-3 supplements.
This Health Affairs article outlines a new rule proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the ways in which insurers and consumers must offer and pay for abortion services in qualified health plans (QHPs) under the ACA. The rule would require that any premiums for abortion services be billed separately than other health services. This could lead to confusion, unnecessary burden, and terminated coverage.
Last Tuesday, 56.9% of voters in Nevada voted to remove the sales and storage tax on tampons and sanitary pads in their state, thus staging the bill to become law. Opponents of the tax removal say this move could result in less revenue for local governments and school districts. While the removal of sales tax on feminine hygiene products is recent in Nevada, products such as candy and soda have been exempt from sales tax for some time.
Tokyo Medical University has recently admitted to systematically denying more than 60 female applicants. These applicants were discriminated against by lowering their entrance exam scores. According to the school they acted on the basis that “women tend to quit as doctors after starting families.” University President Yukiko Hayashi apologized for the policy and is offering 67 women who were unjustly eliminated due to the manipulation enrollment into the university.