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New study links COVID-19 vaccine to possible health issues

 COVID vaccine linked to health issuesA new study discovered possible links between the COVID-19 pandemic and possible neurological, blood and heart-related conditions.

The new study, published in the journal Vaccine, is the largest study of its kind since the pandemic began and could reignite the debate over the risks and benefits of the vaccine.

Over the past three years, more than 13.5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the world. The World Health Organization recently announced that vaccination has saved at least a million and a half lives in Europe alone.

The study links vaccines to slight increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions such as myocarditis, pericarditis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Researchers stressed that an association between the vaccine and adverse side effects does not prove the vaccine caused them and that side effects were rare.

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'We can’t do anything': How Catholic hospitals constrain medical care in America.

Dr. Jennifer Chin

Nurse midwife Beverly Maldonado recalls a pregnant woman arriving at Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital in Maryland after her water broke. It was weeks before the baby would have any chance of survival, and the patient’s wishes were clear, she recalled: “Why am I staying pregnant then? What’s the point?” the patient pleaded.

But the doctors couldn’t intervene, she said. The fetus still had a heartbeat and it was a Catholic hospital, subject to the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” that prohibit or limit procedures like abortion that the church deems “immoral” or “intrinsically evil,” according to its interpretation of the Bible.

“I remember asking the doctors. And they were like, ‘Well, the baby still has a heartbeat. We can’t do anything,’” said Maldonado, now working as a nurse midwife in California, who asked them: "What do you mean we can’t do anything? This baby’s not going to survive.”

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FDA approves first cell therapy to treat aggressive forms of melanoma

FDA approves cell treatment for some melanomaThe Food and Drug Administration has approved a novel type of cancer therapy to treat aggressive forms of melanoma using immune system cells from a patient's tumor.

The treatment, called Amtagvi, was developed by Iovance Biotherapeutics, a biotech company based in San Carlos, Calif.

It is intended for patients whose melanoma cannot be removed with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body.

"The approval of Amtagvi represents the culmination of scientific and clinical research efforts leading to a novel T cell immunotherapy for patients with limited treatment options," Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement announcing the approval on Friday.

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Research at the heart of a federal case against the abortion pill has been retracted

Mifebrex

A scientific paper that raised concerns about the safety of the abortion pill mifepristone was retracted by its publisher this week. The study was cited three times by a federal judge who ruled against mifepristone last spring. That case, which could limit access to mifepristone throughout the country, will soon be heard in the Supreme Court.

The now retracted study used Medicaid claims data to track E.R. visits by patients in the month after having an abortion. The study found a much higher rate of complications than similar studies that have examined abortion safety.

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Connecticut Gov. Says He Will Cancel Hundreds Of Millions In Medical Debt

Ned Lamont cancels COnn. health bills

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced Friday that his administration is erasing hundreds of millions in medical debt for around 250,000 eligible residents, saying Connecticut will be the first to take such action at the state level.

“This is not something they did because they’re spending too much money. This is something where they got hit with a medical emergency. They should not have to suffer twice,” Lamont told ABC News, which first reported the news.

No one will need to apply for the debt forgiveness. Households will receive letters in the mail if they are eligible — if their medical debt equals 5% or more of their annual income, or if their annual income is under 400% of the federal poverty line, Lamont told CNN Friday. (That’s about $125,000 for a family of 4.)

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‘Make money by denying care’: new US rules aim to curb use of approval by private health insurances

Make money by denying health care

A new set of rules from the Biden administration seeks to rein in private health insurance companies’ use of prior authorization – a byzantine practice that requires people to seek insurance company permission before obtaining medication or having a procedure.

The cost-containment strategy often delays care and forces patients, or their doctors, to navigate opaque and labyrinthine appeals.

The administration’s newly finalized rules will require insurance companies who work in federal programs to speed up the approval process and make decisions within 72 hours for urgent requests. The regulations will also require companies to give a specific reason as to why a request was denied and publicly report denial metrics. The regulations will primarily go into effect in 2026.

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Pennsylvania case challenging ban on Medicaid abortions back in court

Pa. case challenging abortion ban via Medicaid back in court

Pennsylvania’s supreme court ruled on Monday that a lower court must hear a case challenging a ban on the use of government-funded healthcare to pay for abortions, raising hopes among reproductive rights advocates for an expansion of abortion access in the state and the establishment of a constitutional right to the procedure.

The case, brought by abortion providers in the state, challenged a decades-old state law barring Medicaid from covering abortions, arguing that it should be overturned because it violates the broader rights guaranteed by the state constitution’s Equal Rights Amendment.

Monday’s 3-2 ruling both overturns a lower court decision to dismiss the case and puts aside a 1985 state supreme court court decision that upheld the law banning the use of state Medicaid dollars for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

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