Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
'Smart' Contact Lenses Would Measure Sugar Levels in Diabetics
Google is working on smart contact lenses that would measure
sugar (glucose) levels in the tears of people with diabetes.
If successful, the contacts would offer diabetics a painless and
more convenient alternative to having to prick themselves to get
blood to put onto test strips that are placed in an electronic
The prototype contact lenses have miniscule wireless chips and
glucose sensors and are able to measure sugar levels once per
second. LED lights inside the lenses would flash when sugar levels
are too low or high,
Google has conducted clinical research studies on the contact
lenses and is in discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug
This isn't the first attempt to develop such a device. In 2011,
Microsoft teamed with the University of Washington to create
contact lenses with glucose sensors and small radios,
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,
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