Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Judge Rejects Legal Challenge Against Health Insurance
A legal challenge against health care insurance subsidies for
millions of Americans was rejected Wednesday by a federal
The subsidies are a key part of the Affordable Care Act and are
available to low- and middle-income people regardless of whether
they purchase health coverage through the federal insurance
exchange or in state-run marketplaces,
The New York Timesreported.
People who may qualify for subsidies include those with annual
incomes up to $45,960 for individuals and up to $94,200 for a
family of four.
Opponents of the health care law filed a lawsuit claiming that a
literal reading of the act would permit subsidies only in the 14
states with their own insurance exchanges. The legal action was
launched by several people in states that use the federal exchange:
Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
But Judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court in
Washington, D.C. said the claim made in the lawsuit was absurd and
contrary to the whole purpose of the health care law,
"The plain text of the statute, the statutory structure and the statutory purpose make clear that Congress intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally facilitated exchanges," Friedman said.
He added: "Congress assumed that tax credits would be available
nationwide" and "on any exchange, regardless of whether it is
operated by a state" or by the federal government.
The ruling is "an important win for health care consumers across
the country," Ronald Pollack, executive director of Families
The plaintiffs will appeal the decision, according to Sam
Kazman, general counsel of the Competitive Enterprise Institute,
which is coordinating and helping finance the lawsuit.
Similar lawsuits against subsidies in the federal exchange have
been filed by several Virginia residents and by state officials in
Oklahoma and Indiana,
The exchanges opened Oct. 1 and nearly 1.2 million people had
chosen plans in the federal marketplace and nearly a million had
selected plans in state exchanges as of Dec. 28.
About 80 percent of people who selected plans from federal or
state exchanges qualified for subsidies to lower their premiums,
Health Care Fraud Cases Reach Record High
A record number of health care fraud cases were filed last year
by federal prosecutors, according to U.S. Justice Department
statistics obtained by a nonprofit group at Syracuse
The figures show that prosecutors took action on 377 new federal
health care fraud cases in the fiscal year ending in October 2013,
which is 3 percent higher than the previous year and 7.7 percent
more than five years ago, the
The highest rate of filings was in southern Illinois, where
federal prosecutors pursued 10.1 cases per 1 million people. That's
more than eight times the national average.
The latest numbers may reflect the increased focus the federal
government has placed on fighting a crime that costs taxpayers
billions of dollars a year, the
The Justice Department statistics were obtained through a
Freedom of Information Act request by Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that monitors federal
spending, staffing and enforcement.
Muscle-Building Exercises Reduce Women's Diabetes Risk:
Lifting weights and other muscle-building workouts reduce
women's risk of diabetes, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data collected from nearly 100,000 U.S.
nurses over eight years and found that those who lifted weights,
did press-ups or similar resistance workouts were less likely to
develop type 2 diabetes,
Compared with inactive women, those who did at least 150 minutes
of aerobic activity and at least an hour of muscle-strengthening
exercises a week were a third less likely to develop diabetes, said
the study in the journal
It was already known that regular aerobic workouts can help
prevent type 2 diabetes. And previous studies have shown that
muscle-building exercises protect men against diabetes,
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