Truvada pills

Even when HIV prevention drug is covered, other costs block treatment

By Michelle Andrews

CHICAGO — Three years ago, Corey Walsh, who was in a relationship with a man who was HIV-positive, got a prescription for Truvada, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent infection with the virus that causes AIDS. Walsh, then 23, was covered by his parents’ health insurance policy, which picked up the cost of the drug. But the price tag for the quarterly lab tests and doctor visits he needed as part of the prevention regimen cost him roughly $400, more than he could afford. “I went back to my physician and said, ‘I can’t take this anymore because all these ancillary services aren’t covered,’” Walsh recalled. He ended up joining a clinical trial that covered all his costs.

AMA abortion lawsuit puts doctors in the thick of debate

 

By Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News

PIERRE, N.D. — The American Medical Association is suing North Dakota to block two abortion-related laws, the latest signal the doctors’ group is shifting to a more aggressive stance as the Trump administration and state conservatives ratchet up efforts to eliminate legal abortion. The group, which represents all types of physicians, has tended to stay on the sidelines of many controversial political issues, and until recently has done so concerning abortion and contraception. Instead, it has focused on legislation that affects the practice and finances of large swaths of its membership. But, said AMA President Patrice Harris in an interview, the organization felt it had to take a stand because new laws forced the small number of doctors who perform abortions to lie to patients, putting “physicians in a place where we are required by law to commit an ethical violation.”

One of the laws, set to take effect Aug. 1, requires physicians to tell patients that medication abortions — a procedure involving two drugs taken at different times — can be reversed.

hemp

Legal weed’s a growing danger to dogs, so keep your canine out of your cannabis

By Laura Klivans, KQED

SAN FRANCISCO — It all started on a Tuesday night, when I came home from work to an unmistakable absence. My brown-and-white pitbull mix, Maizey, wasn’t at the top of the stairs to greet me. Instead, she was in her bed, shaky and confused. When I tried to get her up, she stumbled, nearly falling over while standing still. Walking to the vet, she leaped like a puppy chasing imaginary balls.

Trump Administration rule would undo healthcare protections for LGBTQ patients

By Emmarie Huetteman
Kaiser Health News

WASHINGTON — A new Trump administration proposal would change the civil rights rules dictating whether providers must care for patients who are transgender or have had an abortion. Supporters of the approach say it protects the freedom of conscience, but opponents say it encourages discrimination. The sweeping proposal has implications for all Americans, though, because the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to change how far civil rights protections extend and how those protections are enforced. Roger Severino, the director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, has been candid about his intentions to overturn an Obama-era rule that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and termination of a pregnancy. In 2016, while at the conservative Heritage Foundation, he co-authored a paper arguing the restrictions threaten the independence of physicians to follow their religious or moral beliefs.

What the possible end of abortions in Missouri means for neighboring states

By Lauren Weber

ST. LOUIS — As the last abortion clinic in Missouri warned that it will have to stop providing the procedure as soon as Friday, abortion providers in surrounding states said they are anticipating an uptick of even more Missouri patients. At Hope Clinic in Granite City, Ill., just 10 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Deputy Director Alison Dreith said Tuesday her clinic was preparing for more patients as news about Missouri spread. “We’re really scrambling today about the need for increased staff and how fast can we hire and train,” Dreith said.

‘Stonewall Generation’ confronts old age, sickness — and discrimination

By JoNel Aleccia and Melissa Bailey
Kaiser Health News

WASHINGTON — Two years ago, nursing professor Kim Acquaviva asked a group of home care nurses whether they thought she was going to hell for being a lesbian. It’s OK if you do, Acquaviva said, but is the afterlife within your scope of practice? After Acquaviva’s talk, an older nurse announced she would change how she treats LGBTQ people under her care. “I still think you’re going to hell, but I’m going to stop telling patients that,” the nurse told Acquaviva. Acquaviva, a professor at the George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, D.C., raised the example Tuesday at a panel hosted by Kaiser Health News on inclusive care for LGBTQ seniors.

As syphilis invades rural America, a fraying health safety net is failing to stop it

By Lauren Weber

JOPLIN, Mo. — When Karolyn Schrage first heard about the “dominoes gang” in the health clinic she runs in Joplin, Mo., she assumed it had to do with pizza. Turns out it was a group of men in their 60s and 70s who held a standing game night — which included sex with one another. They showed up at her clinic infected with syphilis. That has become Schrage’s new normal.

‘Heartbeat bills’ give state lawmakers pause on anti-abortion tactics

By Blake Farmer, Nashville Public Radio

NASHVILLE — In anticipation of a new anti-abortion tilt on the Supreme Court bench, some states are moving to further restrict the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy or to outlaw abortion entirely if Roe v. Wade ever falls. But the rush to regulate has exposed division among groups and lawmakers who consider themselves staunch abortion opponents. On Thursday, Ohio became the latest state to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. For a long time, Ohio Right to Life supported a more gradual approach to restrict the procedure and deemed what’s come to be called a “heartbeat bill” too radical — until this year. Restricting abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected basically bans the procedure after six weeks of gestation — before many women know they’re pregnant.