NBCNews.com: Health care

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2-gallon a day cola habit linked to woman's death

Wed, 13 Feb 2013 16:17:22 GMT

A New Zealand food industry association on Wednesday rejected a coroner's call to add health warnings to soft-drink labels following the 2010 death of a woman who drank about 2 gallons of Coca-Cola a day.



Health insurance: US paying more for less

Wed, 12 Dec 2012 07:39:27 GMT

Health insurance premiums have shot up more than 60 percent in the last eight years, so much that the average family of four may soon be paying $25,000 a year for coverage, a new report finds. Deductibles are also going up, so workers are paying more and more for less and less.


Doctor-assisted death: Seattle cancer hospital shares its experience

Wed, 10 Apr 2013 21:13:29 GMT

Ethan Remmel was only 41 when he died on June 13, 2011, barely a year after being diagnosed with terminal colon cancer that quickly spread to his bone. The Bellingham, Wash.



What health ruling means next for patients

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 18:36:45 GMT

The Supreme Court upheld the 2010 federal health care law. The decision will have sweeping ramifications for consumers, state officials, employers and health care providers, including hospitals and doctors.


UN issues global alert over new SARS-like virus

Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:33:53 GMT

A new virus belonging to the same family as the SARS virus that killed 800 people in 2002 has been identified in a Qatari man who had recently been in Saudi Arabia, experts warned.


Bioethicist: Where is anger over polio vaccine ban?

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 22:45:14 GMT

The world's reaction to a powerful Taliban commander in northern Pakistan banning the vaccination of 161,000 children against polio, in retaliation against frequent drone attacks by the United States, has been more or less "no comment." That is unacceptable, writes bioethicist Art Caplan.


Health workers strike at UC Calif. medical centers

Tue, 21 May 2013 19:47:37 GMT

Thousands of healthcare workers walked off the job at the University of California's five medical centers on Tuesday, delaying surgeries, diagnostic procedures, treatments and emergency care throughout the state.


How to get insurance to cover specialty drugs

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 17:57:06 GMT

When Marie D'Orsaneo's rheumatoid arthritis worsened three years ago, her doctor prescribed Rituxan, an expensive injectable drug that her employer-sponsored health plan had to sign off on first.


Should you fire your doctor? 4 warning signs

Sun, 9 Sep 2012 16:15:56 GMT

When doctors screw up, someone life is on the line.  Maybe that's why nearly half of U.S. physicians experience symptoms of burnout -- think: exhaustion and depression--according to a new study. What symptoms you should look for in your doctor.



Panel: Docs should screen all patients for obesity

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 21:15:39 GMT

Doctors should check weight and height for all patients to determine if they're obese and refer them to intensive diet and exercise programs if necessary, according to new guidelines from a U.S. government-backed panel.


Insurers pick up $147 million medical tab for young adults

Wed, 29 May 2013 21:03:18 GMT

One of the first provisions of the 2010 health reform law has had its intended effect: shifting costs from hospitals, taxpayers and families to health insurance companies, researchers reported on Thursday. It’s one of the most popular aspects of the law.



51-pound tumor removed from woman

Tue, 3 Jul 2012 23:34:33 GMT

New Jersey surgeons removed a rapidly growing, 51-pound cancerous tumor from a woman who had delayed treatment until she became eligible for health insurance, her doctor said on Tuesday.


Sebelius won't intervene in girl's transplant case

Tue, 4 Jun 2013 21:08:27 GMT

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated Tuesday that she won’t intervene in the “incredibly agonizing” case involving a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who is waiting for a lung transplant, telling members of Congress that medical experts should make those decisions.



Florida governor expands Medicaid

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 23:45:51 GMT

Florida governor Rick Scott, one of the biggest critics of President Obama’s health reform efforts, said Wednesday he would do the administration’s bidding and expand the Medicaid program.


Hospital granted request: no black nurses, suit says

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 00:42:55 GMT

An African-American nurse is suing a Michigan hospital after she says staff there agreed to a swastika-tattooed father’s request that no black nurses care for his new baby. Tonya Battle, 49, sued the board of hospital managers of Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich.


A consumer's guide to post-election health reform

Fri, 9 Nov 2012 13:06:01 GMT

Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, the Affordable Care Act is back on a fast track. Here's a primer on parts of the law already up and running, what's to come and ways that provisions could still be altered.


Brain device linked to 9 deaths, FDA warns

Fri, 29 Jun 2012 14:55:16 GMT

A Covidien device for rare malformed blood vessels can get stuck in the brain and has been linked to nine patient deaths, U.S. regulators warned.


Deadly MRSA infections on the decline

Tue, 3 Jul 2012 22:15:08 GMT

Infections with the bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have declined in recent years, according to a new study of 9 million people.


'Uninsurables' at risk as states fear losing health aid

Sun, 5 May 2013 16:59:10 GMT

Thousands of people with serious medical problems are in danger of losing coverage under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul because of cost overruns, state officials say.


Study: Fewer gun deaths in states with most gun laws

Thu, 7 Mar 2013 01:57:02 GMT

States with a heavier dose of firearm laws tend to have the lowest rates of gun deaths, according to a new study by researchers who argue their findings show "there is a role" in America for more rigid gun-control legislation.


One big winner in Tuesday's vote: health reform

Wed, 7 Nov 2012 10:10:23 GMT

One of the biggest consequences of Tuesday’s vote is the survival of health reform. Now that the president has won a new term, and kept a Democratic majority in the Senate to back him up, Republicans have lost any chance at repealing his biggest domestic initiative. It doesn’t mean smooth sailing, however.



Ruling could leave the poorest at greatest risk

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 21:26:52 GMT

A part of the Supreme Court's health care decision could theoretically leave as many as 15 million without any insurance at all.


Expanding Medicaid cuts death rates, study finds

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 21:27:22 GMT

State expansions of the Medicaid health insurance program for poor Americans reduced adult mortality rates by more than 6 percent compared to states that did not broaden eligibility for their plans, according to a study released on Wednesday.


Pelosi predicts 6-3 vote in favor of health law

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 23:56:55 GMT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. Supreme Court prepared to announce a decision on President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, one of the legislation's chief supporters predicted that it would be upheld by a 6-3 vote.


Prenatal drug targeted lesbians, researchers say

Mon, 6 Aug 2012 17:52:22 GMT

Jenny Westphal, 26, of Fond du Lac, Wis., was given a powerful steroid during her second pregnancy to ward off possible sexual abnormalities in the baby. What doctors didn't say was that the drug is experimental — and controversial.


Report: 26,000 uninsured die in US each year

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 18:05:03 GMT

More than 26,000 working-age adults die prematurely in the United States each year because they lack health insurance, according to a study published ahead of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama's health care reform law.


Romney health plan would cost US, group says

Tue, 2 Oct 2012 04:07:21 GMT

If Mitt Romney gets elected and repeals the health reform law, more than 72 million Americans will lack health insurance and health care costs will rise, a Commonwealth Fund report says. If President Barack Obama wins, 27 million will be without insurance and costs will fall, the group predicts.


Second child files suit for lung transplant, gets on list

Thu, 6 Jun 2013 22:09:41 GMT

A woman whose son died of cystic fibrosis in 2009 successfully sued on Thursday to get his younger brother, now 11, on the adult waiting list for a lung transplant.



$2,540 for 2 fillings? Poor hit by high fees at chain

Sun, 1 Jul 2012 18:41:00 GMT

Surviving on a meager $1,300 a month, 87-year-old Theresa Ferritto fretted about the cost when her dentist told her she needed two teeth pulled.  So she decided to try out a dental chain that promoted steep discounts in its advertisements.


Bedbug 'cure' may be worse than its bite

Wed, 28 Nov 2012 22:13:10 GMT

People creeped-out by rising rates of bed bug infestations may be taking eradication too far, according to federal health officials alarmed by growing reports of pesticide misuse -- and poisonings.



Hospital shooting: Mercy killing or murder?

Sun, 12 Aug 2012 18:15:55 GMT

John Wise watched a tear roll down his wife's face as he stood alongside her bed in the intensive care unit. She'd been unable to speak after suffering a stroke and seemed to be blinking to acknowledge him, Wise confided to a friend who had driven him to the hospital.



Health reform is legal; is it moral? Bioethicist weighs in

Thu, 28 Jun 2012 17:46:30 GMT

The Supreme Court has now deemed health reform legal. But it is now up to the president to make sure that Americans buy into the argument that it is moral, writes bioethicist Art Caplan.


Millions may still go without health insurance

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 17:08:19 GMT

If President Barack Obama's health care overhaul survives Supreme court scrutiny, an estimated 26 million U.S. residents likely will remain without coverage, including illegal immigrants and those who can't afford to pay out-of-pocket for health insurance.



What the high court will decide -- and what the aftermath will be

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 16:52:57 GMT

The health care drama that began in the earliest days of the Obama presidency will reach its crescendo Thursday morning when the Supreme Court announces its decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.


If disaster strikes, many U.S. states unprepared

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 18:04:12 GMT

If you're someone who worries about how first responders and hospitals in your town would perform after a hurricane like Sandy, a Joplin tornado, an anthrax mailing, an outbreak of bird flu or other health threat, a new study has some pointers: stay away from Kansas and Montana.


Report: 211 die during drugs trials in India

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 07:40:59 GMT

Some 211 people died during clinical trials for new drugs in just six months in India, an official reportedly said.


Pope's shocker underscores strain of late-life work

Tue, 12 Feb 2013 18:02:00 GMT

As the pope can attest, even if you’re toiling in the cushiest of corner offices, 85 is not the new LX. Pope Benedict XVI, who’s logged more than five years as pontiff, announced Monday he will relinquish the papacy at the end of the month.



Your medical chart may soon log exercise, too

Sun, 6 Jan 2013 18:30:14 GMT

There's a movement afoot to urge doctors to ask about exercise as part of regular exams. The number of minutes of exercise per week is posted along with other vitals at the top the medical chart. So it's among the first things the doctor sees.


Strike down health law -- end Medicare discounts?

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 12:55:37 GMT

Billions of dollars in drug savings for Medicare beneficiaries may come to an end if the Supreme Court overturns the 2010 federal health law, a drug industry spokesman said. 


Fugitive behind $1 million Medicare fraud nabbed

Thu, 3 Jan 2013 11:53:21 GMT

An American fugitive convicted in a $1-million health-care fraud scheme in California was arrested Wednesday in Canada.


'Rapid strides': Advances offer hope for amputees

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 09:23:20 GMT

It will be weeks, at least, before Celeste Corcoran is anywhere near ready to think about artificial limbs. The 47-year-old Lowell, Mass.



Hospitals face fines over Medicare patients

Mon, 1 Oct 2012 18:35:12 GMT

If you or an elderly relative have been hospitalized recently and noticed extra attention when the time came to be discharged, there's more to it than good customer service.


Vermont passes law allowing doctor-assisted suicide

Mon, 20 May 2013 22:04:29 GMT

Vermont on Monday became the fourth U.S. state to end legal penalties for doctors who prescribe medication to terminally ill patients seeking to end their own lives.


Judge orders tobacco firms to say they lied

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 22:58:31 GMT

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered tobacco companies to publish corrective statements that say they lied about the dangers of smoking and that disclose smoking's health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.


Study: Residents do not raise surgery risks

Tue, 14 Aug 2012 17:40:08 GMT

When a surgeon-in-training takes part in an operation, the patient's risk of serious complications appears to be no greater than normal, a U.S. study finds.


House votes again to repeal 'Obamacare'

Wed, 11 Jul 2012 20:08:34 GMT

The House voted Wednesday to repeal the 2010 health care overhaul that the United States Supreme Court upheld in a ruling two weeks ago. The vote was 244 to 185, with five Democrats voting for repeal and no Republican voting against.


Baby soap linked to newborns' positive pot test

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 15:33:37 GMT

Certain soaps used to wash babies shortly after birth may cause the baby to test positive for marijuana on some newborn screening tests, a new study suggests.


Catholic hospitals reject birth control deal

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 20:01:16 GMT

Sharpening an election-year confrontation over religious freedom and government health insurance rules, the nation's Catholic hospitals on Friday rejected President Barack Obama's compromise for providing birth control coverage to their women employees.


New fungal infections, 6 months after outbreak

Thu, 7 Mar 2013 10:40:33 GMT

Nearly six months after the start of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak blamed on tainted pain shots, patients who originally tested clear are showing up sick, raising worries that the incubation period for illness may be longer than anyone thought.



After health-care ruling, what happens to the money?

Wed, 27 Jun 2012 18:23:44 GMT

If the Supreme Court overturns President Barack Obama's health-care law, someone will have to figure out what's going to happen to the $1 billion the federal government has already handed out to states and territories to establish state-regulated health-care plans.


Denying payments doesn't cut hospital infections

Thu, 11 Oct 2012 17:27:06 GMT

A Medicare payment policy designed to push hospitals to cut their infection rates has had no effect in reducing two types of preventable infections among patients in intensive care units, researchers say in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.


Few may pay for skipping health insurance

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 21:42:33 GMT

People worried about having to pay a fine for not carrying health insurance coverage got a little more guidance this week with some new federal regulations. The bottom line: Hardly anyone will end up paying the tax when the health reform law takes full effect in 2014.


Red state Medicaid expansion no shock

Fri, 22 Feb 2013 00:55:08 GMT

Florida governor Rick Scott created a stir this week when he said he’d expand Medicaid as requested by the Obama administration. But health policy experts say it's hard for any governor to say no to billions of dollars in federal subsidies.


Drug shortages down, but some linger longer

Fri, 7 Sep 2012 12:19:51 GMT

America’s drug shortage crisis appears to be easing, with a big drop in new reports of vital medications in short supply, including those used to treat cancer and other illnesses.



Plague confirmed in Oregon man bitten by cat

Fri, 15 Jun 2012 17:25:09 GMT

Health officials have confirmed that an Oregon man has the plague after he was bitten while trying to take a dead mouse from a stray cat.


States get break on insurance exchanges

Fri, 16 Nov 2012 01:04:04 GMT

States got a last-minute extension late Thursday of a deadline to decide whether they’ll build their own health insurance marketplaces, or let the federal government do it for them. Republican governors had been complaining about the Nov. 16 deadline, which is now Dec. 14.


FDA requires lower doses for Ambien, sleep meds

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 15:54:22 GMT

The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness.


215 evacuated as NY hospital power fails

Tue, 30 Oct 2012 16:37:19 GMT

Power went out at a major New York hospital Monday night, just at the height of superstorm Sandy’s worst winds and flooding, forcing staff to evacuate at least 215 patients, including many who were critically ill.



Health costs ease up — but may not last

Mon, 18 Jun 2012 18:08:17 GMT

Is it too good to be true?



Some doctors with the flu still show up at work

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 20:14:47 GMT

Many doctors-in-training have gone to work with flu symptoms, ignoring the risks of passing on bugs to vulnerable patients, a new survey shows.


Indian doctors illegally removed women's wombs

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 15:57:59 GMT

Doctors in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh performed hysterectomies on poor village women without a valid medical reason in order to claim money from a national insurance scheme, the state's health minister said on Wednesday.


FDA warns about risks of online pharmacies

Fri, 28 Sep 2012 17:58:19 GMT

The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. consumers that the vast majority of Internet pharmacies are fraudulent and likely are selling counterfeit drugs that could harm them. The agency on Friday launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to alert the public.


Hospital generators fail again, raising questions

Thu, 1 Nov 2012 23:00:08 GMT

Despite official assurances, the generators at some NY hospitals did not work as expected during Superstorm Sandy. NYU Langone Medical Center had to evacuate 215 patients when its power went out and both of its backup systems didn't work. But it wasn't the first.



US health care: It's officially a mess, report says

Thu, 6 Sep 2012 14:08:09 GMT

The U.S. health care system wasted $750 billion in 2009, about 30 percent of all health spending, on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs, fraud, and other problems, according to a new Institute of Medicine report that calls for coordination and accountability.


Feds will operate 26 health exchanges

Tue, 19 Feb 2013 23:27:03 GMT

The Obama administration said on Tuesday that it will operate federal online health insurance marketplaces in 26 of the 50 U.S. states with little or no input from local state officials.


Police no solution to mental illness, parents say

Tue, 5 Mar 2013 22:46:59 GMT

Liza Long, whose mentally ill son first went into the juvenile justice system at age 11, was among parents who appeared at a Congressional hearing to plead for changes in a system that forces them to struggle with police and health care providers to get help.



Your kitchen isn't as clean as you think!

Fri, 3 May 2013 08:53:43 GMT

If you're a smoothie lover, take note. Eight spots in your kitchen -- including your blender -- may be alive with foodborne pathogens potent enough to sicken you and your family, a new study finds.



Americans sicker than ever, report finds

Tue, 31 Jul 2012 17:18:25 GMT

More than one in five middle-aged U.S. adults, and nearly half of adults over age 65, have more than one chronic health condition, such as hypertension and diabetes, according to a new government report.


Congress passes on Medicare 'doc fix'

Wed, 2 Jan 2013 19:53:59 GMT

Congress may have rolled the country back from the so-called fiscal cliff, but the budget legislation passed this week missed a chance to fix doctors’ pay for treating Medicare patients -- a problem that’s been bugging doctors and patients alike for more than 10 years now.


AMA not happy about mammogram guidelines

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 15:42:32 GMT

CHICAGO — Recent recommendations on breast cancer and prostate cancer screening made by a government-appointed panel did not include enough input from experts in treating these cancers, doctors said here today (June 19).


Bone marrow donors soon may be compensated

Tue, 26 Jun 2012 23:26:02 GMT

Certain bone marrow donors could soon be compensated for their life-saving stem cells after federal officials declined to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, allowing a lower court order to become law.



How Paul Ryan could change emergency care

Mon, 20 Aug 2012 20:03:45 GMT

The proposed changes to Medicaid and Medicare by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will undoubtedly change the landscape of 24/7 emergency care.


Romney slams Obama over Medicare

Sat, 18 Aug 2012 09:04:01 GMT

Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama Saturday over the future of Medicare in his first weekly podcast ahead of the November election.


Lack of sleep may make vaccines less effective

Wed, 1 Aug 2012 19:10:00 GMT

Lack of sleep may have detrimental effects on the immune system processes that are important for vaccine response, a new study suggests.


ER crews in for long haul as storm injuries start

Mon, 29 Oct 2012 18:31:01 GMT

As superstorm Sandy made landfall Monday, hospitals across the Eastern Seaboard kicked disaster plans into place. NYU Langone Medical Center had to unexpectedly evacuate patients after power went out and its' generator failed.


FDA allows generic of scarce cancer drug

Mon, 4 Feb 2013 23:59:34 GMT

Federal regulators say approval of the first generic version of cancer drug Doxil will help resolve a lingering shortage triggered by manufacturing deficiencies.


Bioethicist: Families, quit thwarting organ donors

Tue, 7 Aug 2012 23:14:43 GMT

Despite the great demand, very few donate their organs when they die. But the reason for that may not be what you’d think -- it’s your relatives. Even when someone has signed a donor card, at least 10 percent of the time families veto the deceased's wishes.


Annual exams do little good for healthy folks

Tue, 16 Oct 2012 23:38:16 GMT

Even when healthy, some people religiously head to the doctor every year for a physical exam, which is often covered by health insurance.  But a new review from Danish researchers concludes there is little benefit to such routine exams on healthy people.


Fewer Americans saw docs during 'Great Recession'

Thu, 10 Jan 2013 00:27:26 GMT

Americans made fewer trips to their doctors' offices during the Great Recession than they did earlier in the decade, according to new research.


Health spending stays low after recession

Mon, 7 Jan 2013 21:16:08 GMT

The recession kept U.S. health care spending low in 2011, according to a federal government report released on Monday. It finds that health spending grew just 3.9 percent -- the same historically low rate of growth as over the past three years.


Health care law: What you need to know now

Wed, 20 Jun 2012 12:22:21 GMT

A Supreme Court decision is expected within the next week on challenges to the 2010 federal health law. Parts of the law have already been implemented but the bulk of it won’t take effect until 2014.


Study: Mosquitoes try to avoid anti-malaria nets

Thu, 20 Sep 2012 09:08:22 GMT

After two African villages started using mosquito nets to fight malaria, the local mosquitoes seemed to change their biting habits to avoid the barriers, according to a French study.


Final health benefit rules clarify confusion

Wed, 20 Feb 2013 20:31:43 GMT

The Obama administration cleared up some confusion on Wednesday about rules governing just which health services insurance companies have to pay for.


FDA ups pressure on compounding pharmacies

Fri, 12 Apr 2013 03:40:50 GMT

The Food and Drug Administration is stepping up pressure on firms that make drugs for specific individuals, known as compounding pharmacies, as it seeks greater regulatory authority following a deadly meningitis outbreak traced to one such pharmacy.


States get 3 more weeks for health exchange plans

Fri, 9 Nov 2012 13:06:01 GMT

States have until next week to tell the federal government whether they’re going to run their own health insurance marketplaces, called exchanges. But they got a little break late Friday -- if they do run their own exchanges, they'll have until Dec. 14 to submit their plans to the federal government.


Don't look for emergency contraception soon

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 16:26:01 GMT

The Obama administration may have backed down after a decade of fighting over emergency contraception, but don’t expect to see Plan B, or any other morning-after birth control product, out from behind the counter anytime soon.


Gene healing in a lotion? Researchers are close

Mon, 2 Jul 2012 19:16:30 GMT

A Northwestern University team reports that researchers have created a way to regulate genes affecting the skin, including diseases like skin cancer and psoriasis -- merely by applying moisturizer.


Pig parasite may help treat human diseases

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 18:34:03 GMT

If you had a chronic and potentially debilitating condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn's disease, and swallowing the eggs of a pig parasite could help, would you do it?


Sandy sends Docs without Borders to NY

Fri, 9 Nov 2012 16:22:26 GMT

Manhattan doctor Lucy Doyle has done stints with the global medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. But her latest assignment is a real eye-opener: New York City.


FDA scrutinizes safety of metal hip implants

Mon, 25 Jun 2012 18:05:16 GMT

Metal hip replacements implanted in a half-million Americans may be failing earlier than expected, but it could be years before U.S. health regulators have a clear picture of the scope of the problem.


Boomers aging worse than past generation

Mon, 4 Feb 2013 23:14:33 GMT

Boomers have long been viewed as the healthiest generation yet.  But despite all the medical advances and life-saving wonder drugs, like statins, boomers may actually be less healthy on average than folks from the previous generation at the same age, according to a new report.