Your post-Thanksgiving catch-up: Long covid treatments, Georgia abortion, and federal judges
Welcome back from Thanksgiving respite, where on Capitol Hill it’s a sprint to the next holiday. This morning, we dive into three stories you may have missed and why they matter.
- Covid long-haulers turn to treatments without strong scientific evidence as the slow pace of research into the condition frustrates advocates.
- Georgia Supreme Court reinstated ban on most abortions because access to the procedure remains limited in the South.
- Senate Democrats will continue to confirm federal judges next year, but the composition of the courts over the past two years has not changed much.
Manufacturers are pushing a series of remedies on the market that are supposed to treat the long covid, often with little data behind them. But the slow pace of research into the disease has left covid long-haulers desperate for relief turning to expensive unproven treatments, our colleague Frances Stead Sellers reports.
A non-profit organization promotes ivermectin, which the Food and drug administration approved to treat certain parasitic worms. Large professional groups, such as the American Medical Association, oppose the use of the drug outside of clinical trials, and it has not been shown to effectively treat acute covid-19. Others tout dietary supplements that aren’t regulated by the FDA, a process known as “blood washing” in Cyprus, or $25,000 stem cell treatments in the Cayman Islands.
Yet government-funded research on the condition has been slow. The National Institutes of Health is working to understand the biological basis of long covid, and recently announced plans to investigate whether the antiviral Paxlovid helps with long covid – but results not expected until 2024.
Why is this important: Some outside experts argue that additional federal funding is needed to accelerate the nation’s understanding of long covid and develop treatments. But as we reported last week, Congress is highly unlikely to respond to the Biden administration’s request to $750 million for a long time covid amid republican resistance to more pandemic aid.
Most abortions are again suspended in Georgia after the state Supreme Court reinstated a ban on the procedure after fetal heart activity was detected.
Wednesday’s one-page order came in response to a state emergency petition, The Post’s Kim Bellware reports. Georgia’s Republican attorney general immediately appealed a Nov. 15 ruling by a Fulton County judge, who wrote that key parts of the law “were patently unconstitutional when drafted, voted on, and signed into law.” .
This legal rationale was novel, essentially saying that abortion bans were unconstitutional if passed before Roe vs. WadeDecades-old protections were reversed. State abortion providers had cautiously resumed scheduling abortions for up to 22 weeks when the pause on Georgia’s ban was lifted, while abortion advocates expressed confidence in the court Supreme Court of the State who would put the restrictions back in place.
Why is this important: Georgia was poised to become a destination for abortions for Southern patients if the procedure remained legal. Last week’s order is not the final word on the ban, but rather lets the restrictions continue while the Georgia Supreme Court considers the state’s appeal.
- At least one major anti-abortion group in the state recently told The Health 202 that it would not pursue new legislation until the state Supreme Court finally settles the issue. “If we open one of these sections of code while it’s still withheld by the court, I think it could cause a lot of confusion,” Elizabeth Edmonds, the director of the anti-abortion group Georgia Life Alliance, said in an interview shortly after the November 15 break on the ban.
Democrats narrowly kept the Senate in the midterm elections, granting President Biden the ability to continue to shape the federal judiciary. Although Biden has appointed more justices at this point in his presidency than his predecessor, they won’t have the same impact as those tapped under the former president. Donald Trump, The post office Aaron Blake writing.
The reasons for this are complex, but are largely due to the GOP blocking the former president barack obamafor justices in 2015 and 2016. The strategy gave Trump 17 appeals court vacancies when he took office in 2017, allowing Republicans to recast the most powerful justices under the nation’s highest court. .
Biden has reduced the recent deficit of Democratic-appointed justices, but only one appeals court circuit has shifted from a majority of Republican to Democratic nominees.
Why is this important: Federal appeals courts have the power to block or uphold Biden administration policies — and administrative actions will likely increase over the next two years with a divided Congress. For example, these courts have played a vital role in temporarily blocking or allowing pandemic measures, like the whiplash on Biden’s vaccination mandates, to continue before the Supreme Court intervenes.
Fraud and exploitation plague the palliative care industry
The palliative care boom has spread across the country, but weak industry oversight behind the end-of-life care service has created widespread opportunities for fraud, abuse and exploitation of the dying and their families, according to a joint investigation released this morning from the New Yorker and ProPublica.
The goal of the hospice is to help people experience as little pain as possible and to spend time with loved ones during the final days. The $22 billion The industry is funded primarily by Medicare, which pays hospice companies a flat fee per patient per day, regardless of the amount of care they actually provide.
Once the hospice is up and running, however, oversight is generally sparse and federal regulators rarely go after bad actors. In an effort to beef up their patient roster, some for-profit hospices reportedly enlisted friends and family to act as fictitious clients, tricked people into the program by advertising it as free home health care, or stole personal information to register “ghost patients.”
In some ways, the way federal regulators have designed hospice benefits rewards providers for enrolling patients who may not be dying imminently. That’s because longer stays mean bigger payments, and stable patients require fewer expensive drugs and supplies than those in their final days, according to ProPublica. Ava Kofman writing.
But enrolling in hospice can harm patients who don’t die immediately, since they must agree to give up curative care in order to benefit from the service. For example, some involuntary registrants report being denied kidney dialysis, mammograms, life-saving drug coverage, or a spot on the waiting list for a liver transplant.
White House Orders
Federal health officials say they hope RSV cases have peaked
Yesterday, White House health officials were cautiously optimistic about the spike in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases among children, offering a ray of hope as the country struggles to respond to a trifecta of respiratory illnesses.
“Over the past week we have seen a spike in RSV and possibly a decline,” Ashish Jhacoordinator of the White House’s response to the coronavirus, said yesterday on ABC“This week”. “I obviously hope that this trend will continue.”
Antoine Faucioutgoing director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseasesechoed Jha on CBS “Facing the Nation.” He told the host Margaret Brenan that, based on the behavior of the virus in other countries, he hopes that cases in the United States will decrease.
Key Context: Fears of a possible “triple epidemic” this winter have been circulating in recent weeks as health care providers across the country report a high and early start to the flu season that has coincided with an increase in cases of RSV and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Margaret Brennan, host of “Face the Nation”:
- Nouveau ce matin : presque 9 décès de covid sur 10 sont chez les personnes de 65 ans ou plus, qui est le taux le plus élevé jamais enregistré, nos collègues Ariana Eunjung Cha et rapporte Dan Keating, citant une analyse du Washington Post des données du CDC.
- Les taux d’avortement aux États-Unis ont légèrement baissé en 2020avec plus de 80 pourcent effectuée à ou avant neuf semaines de gestation, selon de nouvelles données du CDC.
- La rougeole est une «menace imminente dans toutes les régions du monde », l’Organisation mondiale de la santé et le CDC ont mis en garde dans un rapport conjoint publié la semaine dernière qui a révélé presque 40 millions enfants ont manqué leurs doses de vaccin l’année dernière, The Post’s Andrew Jeon rapports.
Le Sénat reprend ses travaux aujourd’hui. La Maison sera de retour demain. Voici ce que nous regardons cette semaine :
Mardi: La Comité du règlement intérieur examinera la législation visant à améliorer la santé et le bien-être des femmes enceintes incarcérées et de leurs bébés. La chambre devrait voter sur le projet de loi plus tard cette semaine.
Mardi aussi… Le Post organise une discussion avec le secrétaire adjoint à la Défense Kathleen Hicks et Puits de combustion 360 co-fondateur Rosie Torres sur de nouveaux investissements gouvernementaux visant à soutenir la santé physique et mentale des vétérans.
Mercredi: UN Sous-commission sénatoriale HELP tient une audience sur le soutien à la santé mentale des jeunes lors de leur passage du lycée au collège ; la Comité sénatorial des anciens combattants examinera l’accès des anciens combattants amérindiens aux soins de santé et aux prestations de l’AV.
Et le jeudi… La Poste Yasmine Abutaleb est assis avec Antoine Faucidirecteur de la Institut national des allergies et des maladies infectieusespour parler de l’état de la pandémie, de l’avenir de la santé publique et des leçons qu’il a tirées de plus d’un demi-siècle de service public alors qu’il se prépare à quitter son poste au gouvernement le mois prochain.
Covid l’a hospitalisé pendant 453 jours. Maintenant, il est à la maison pour les vacances. (Par Andrea Salcedo | Le Washington Post)
La courte vie du bébé Serhii, tué dans une maternité ukrainienne (Par Samantha Schmidt et Serhii Korolchuk | The Washington Post)
De rares manifestations contre la politique « zéro covid » de la Chine éclatent à travers le pays (Par Lily Kuo | The Washington Post)
Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow.
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