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Monday, Jan 20th

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Trump to roll back Michelle Obama's school lunch rules on vegetables, fruits

Michele Obama school lunch programThe Trump administration on Friday announced plans to roll back school lunch standards on vegetables and fruits originally promoted by Michelle Obama, unveiling the proposal on the former first lady's birthday.

The new standards will allow schools more flexibility "because they know their children best," the Agriculture Department said in a press release.

“Schools and school districts continue to tell us that there is still too much food waste and that more common-sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we’re getting to work,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

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Supreme Court will again review Obamacare birth control mandate

SCOTUS to review Obama care birth control mandate

The Supreme Court on Friday said it will revisit whether employers must guarantee free birth control coverage for their workers.

It marks the third high court review of the contraception mandate stemming from Obamacare — and the first since Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court. The provision requires employer-sponsored health plans to provide their enrollees with contraceptive coverage at no extra personal cost.

Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh considered similar cases while appellate court judges, and both showed sympathy for religious groups seeking exemptions from the requirement on moral grounds.

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More drugmakers hike U.S. prices as new year begins

Pharmacy prices to go upDrugmakers including Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N), Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), and Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) hiked U.S. list prices on more than 50 drugs on Wednesday, bringing total New Year’s Day drug price increases to more than 250, according to data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that drugmakers including Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) and Sanofi SA (SASY.PA) were planning to increase prices on more than 200 drugs in the United States on Jan. 1.

Nearly all of the price increases are below 10% and the median price increase is around 5%, according to 3 Axis.

More early year price increases could still be announced.

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Flu, widespread in 30 states, blamed for nearly 2,000 deaths this season, CDC reports

CDC reports 1,900 flu deaths

The flu is widespread in 30 states and has claimed almost 2,000 deaths this season, including 19 children, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Nearly every state reports elevated activity, the CDC said in its weekly update Friday.

The CDC estimated there have been at least 3.7 million flu cases so far this season, 32,000 requiring hospitalization. It reported 1,900 deaths, including 19 children.

Most patients are infected with a strain called B/Victoria that normally doesn't appear until the end of flu season. The virus tends to strike children and young adults more often, but that anyone can be affected, according to the CDC.

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CDC: Pet store puppies linked to antibiotic-resistant outbreak in 13 states

CDC: pupies from pet stores linked to antibiotic resistant outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Tuesday that pet store puppies have been linked to an infection outbreak among human beings in 13 states.

Thirty people have been infected with a strain of Campylobacter jejuni, according to a Tuesday release. Four hospitalizations have been reported, but no fatalities.

Symptoms from the infection include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps two to five days after being exposed.

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4 reasons why Trump’s drug importation bill won’t work

Canada prescriptions

President Donald Trump has promised that the plan his administration rolled out Wednesday to bring in cheaper prescription drugs from Canada will immediately lower medication costs. Experts say the plan won’t work — and many write it off as a political stunt.

Under the proposal, importers would need the cooperation of the Canadian government and the drug industry, both of which oppose it. Importers would have to take many expensive and complicated steps to prove to the FDA that importation wouldn’t harm Americans, and to weave through complex regulations and the intricacies of the U.S. health delivery system.

Here are four reasons why Trump’s drug importation plan probably won’t work:

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U.S. appeals court voids Obamacare 'individual mandate'

Obamacare individual mandate voidedA U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that a component of the Obamacare law is unconstitutional but stopped short of declaring that the rest of the landmark 2010 healthcare statute must also be struck down.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a 2-1 vote that the law’s individual mandate that directed Americans to obtain health insurance - a provision already gutted by Republican-backed legislation passed in Congress - was unlawful.

But the court avoided answering the key question of whether the rest of the law can remain in place, instead sending the case back to a district court judge for further analysis.

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