Review Category : Health

More Hispanics Uninsured Despite Obamacare Gains, Report Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — While the number of uninsured people in the United States appears to have declined since 2010, Hispanics remain at increased risk of going without health insurance compared with other racial and ethnic demographic groups, according to a new report published Thursday.

Released by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation focusing on the U.S. health care system, the report sought to identify people who still have no health care coverage since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which President Obama enacted in 2010.

Hispanics have “become a growing share of the uninsured among racial and ethnic groups, rising from 29 percent in 2013 to 40 percent in 2016, more than twice their representation in the overall population,” according to the study. “In contrast, the share of whites has declined, falling from half in 2013 to 41 percent in 2016.”

The share of black uninsured black people also declined in that period, though only from 13 percent to 12 percent, according to the study.

“There is a larger slice of the pie made up of Latinos,” Sara Collins, lead author and vice president of the Health Care Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund, told ABC News. “At the same time, the share of whites [and other race-ethnicities] dropped” as they gained more health care coverage.

The other risk factors for lacking health insurance include making less than $16,243 a year, being younger than 35 and working for a small business, according to the report. Overall coverage has improved, according to the report, with the number of uninsured people declining by 20 million since the ACA went into effect six years ago.

But the report found that 24 million working age adults were still uninsured during the study period from 2013 to 1016.

Researchers called 4,802 people in the United States on both landlines and cellphones from February to April of this year to get information on health care. They have done a series of surveys since 2013 to see how health care coverage has changed in the past three years.

Collins pointed out that undocumented immigrants, who include more Hispanics proportionality, were especially at risk for lacking health coverage because they are not eligible for Obamacare, Medicare or Medicaid services.

“Immigration reform [where] more people would gain citizenship would make more people eligible,” she said. “It also may be that [laws] not allowing non-citizens to enroll … could be loosened. California is looking at the federal government to allow immigrants to buy in the [Obamacare] marketplace.”

Rebecca Garfield, senior researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, pointed out that many states in the South, which have higher numbers of Hispanic residents, have also not expanded their Medicaid coverage, increasing the likelihood that low-income residents will remain without health coverage.

“Poor individuals are really being left behind,” she said. “We’re seeing continuing [trends of] high uninsured rates” for these groups.

Garfield pointed out that the lower rate of health care coverage for Hispanics isn’t surprising and that other research has found similar findings.

She also noted that Hispanics might face language barriers that hinder their getting coverage.

“Many people are aware that the law exists,” she said. “They may not be aware that they are personally eligible for free coverage.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation also released a study Thursday focusing on California that found 67 percent of uninsured residents in California are Hispanic and that half of them are undocumented. Overall, they found that of those who lacked health insurance in 2013, 79 percent now have coverage.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Tennessee Triplets Nearly Break World Record for Size

iStock/Thinkstock(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — A set of newborn triplets were the talk of their Tennessee hospital this year, after tipping the scales at a combined 19.6 pounds at birth.

Jack, Stella and Luke Tipton arrived in that order, weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces; 6 pounds, 3 ounces; and 5 pounds, 9 ounces.

The siblings missed the world record mark for heaviest triplets by 2.4 pounds.

“We were shocked,” mom Kate Tipton of Knoxville told ABC News Thursday. “They weighed Jack twice. He was first. They thought, ‘That’s not right. He can’t weigh 7 pounds, 4 ounces as a triplet.’ There was so much noise and excitement and disbelief.”

Jack, Stella and Luke arrived in March but only recently did Tipton’s doctor suggest that she look into whether or not her kids had broken the Guinness World Record for the largest triplets.

To her surprise, Tipton’s triplets were just about 2 pounds shy of the title.

The heaviest triplets on record tipped the scales in 2004 at a combined weight of 20 pounds in California, according to Guinness.

“I look back now and I said, ‘Wow, what if I had been pregnant another week?'” Tipton joked. “But, I did not want to be pregnant any longer. They were the biggest in the history of UT Medical Center.”

Tipton’s doctor Mark Hennessy told her this was the first time in his 25 years of practice that he’d ever delivered or seen triplets of this size, she said.

Tipton and her husband, Caleb, have two other daughters, Sophia, 9, and Aubrey, 8.

The Tipton triplets go through about 30 diapers and 115 fluid ounces of formula a day. That’s $500 a month to feed the “little” darlings.

The mom of five is enjoying motherhood, she said.

“It’s really, really exciting,” Tipton said. “The days are busy. If I got up in the morning and made a list of everything I would have to do, I would probably have a panic attack, but I meet their needs and time passes very quickly. They are a lot of fun.”

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Health Group Accuses Florida Officials of Removing Zika Billboards

iStock/Thinkstock(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A national health advocacy group has accused Fort Lauderdale officials of taking down its billboards promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.

The local chapter of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is based in Los Angeles, alleged that officials from the Fort Lauderdale Mayor’s Office and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) removed its billboards there featuring an illustration of an unfurled condom with the words “Prevents Zika Transmission” and directing viewers to the website useacondom.com.

The billboards were allegedly taken down this week in locations around Fort Lauderdale and near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport “following several complaints received from officials in the Mayor’s office, the GFLCVB and their advertising agency Starmark,” the foundation said in a press release Wednesday.

“It is outrageous that the Mayor’s Office or the convention and visitors bureau would remove these billboards, which had a public health message that was relevant to both our community and those visiting the area,” Michael Kahane, head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s southern bureau in Fort Lauderdale, said in a statement. “Our officials have acted inappropriately and are jeopardizing the public’s health because of their actions.”

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler denied the accusations in a statement to ABC News on Thursday, saying he has “not communicated with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation about its billboard promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus.”

“Further, I have not communicated with any billboard company about the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s billboard promoting condom use to prevent sexual transmission of the Zika virus,” Seiler continued. “I suspect that this false accusation and alleged controversy may be part of their marketing campaign.”

Fort Lauderdale’s tourism bureau did not immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment on the allegations.

The Florida Department of Health said Wednesday there are three new non-related cases of Zika in the Sunshine State, bringing the total number of locally-acquired cases to 33. One of the new cases is in Miami-Dade County, where health officials believe active transmission is happening.

Florida health officials also said there were also 12 new travel-related cases as of Wednesday, bringing the total number to 461. One of the new cases is in Broward County, which is home to Fort Lauderdale.

The Florida Health Department has tested more than 3,300 people statewide since late last year when the Zika virus outbreak in South America first raised alarms.

Although the number of cases has continued to increase, experts say this does not necessarily mean the outbreak is getting worse.

“It’s paradoxical. The reasons we’re finding other cases is that the system is working very well,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told ABC News earlier this week. “Expectations have to be tempered with the reality — namely this is both a mosquito borne virus and a sexually transmitted virus.”

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Your Body: Being Fit at Midlife May Prevent Strokes Later

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

We already know that getting regular exercise is important at every age. But new research indicates that fitness at midlife can decrease the risk of stroke as a person ages.

Researchers found that people who are fit in their 40s and 50s had a lower risk of stroke after the age of 65.

So how much exercise do you need? You should aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But even if you start small, every little bit counts.

Personally, I find group fitness classes fun and effective. I know that once I sign up, I have to show up.

Sharing your results and efforts with friends can also keep you accountable and motivated.

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The Pros and Cons of Having a Baby Later in Life

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new parenting trend shows that more women are waiting for motherhood. Stars like Janet Jackson, Eva Mendes, Salma Hayek and Halle Berry are all having children later in life.

Harper’s Bazaar recently looked at older first-time moms, asking, “Is 50 the new 30?” when it comes to getting pregnant, and pointing out that a surprising 1 in 12 women are having their first child after the age of 35.

“It’s pretty rare for women to get pregnant on our own after age 45,” Dr. Joanne Stone of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York told ABC News of conceiving naturally, rather than using other methods such as freezing their eggs or using in vitro fertilization.

Singer Sophie Hawkins, who shot to fame in the 1990s, also waited to have kids, eventually having son Dashiell at age 44 and daughter Esther at 50.

“When I was younger, I wouldn’t have been so creative, I wouldn’t have been so patient,” she said at her show in Los Angeles Wednesday. “I wouldn’t have been that mother at 20 or 25 or even 35 to be honest with you.”

Hawkins, now 51, used her own eggs that she had frozen when she was younger, which is also becoming more common.

“When you want to have a child, the only important thing is you want to have a child, whether it is from frozen embryos or you adopt a child or however you get it, you want a child that’s your kid,” she explained.

But with in vitro fertilization running about $12,000 per cycle, it’s not cheap. And older moms are also at higher risk of complications.

“Sit down and meet with a maternal medicine specialist,” Stone said. “You really need to know what you’re getting into.”

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Baltimore Pastor’s Non-Profit Helps Families With Mental Health After Violence

Andre Humphrey(BALTIMORE) — In 2014, 3-year-old McKenzie Elliott was sitting on her porch in Baltimore when a stray bullet struck and killed her while she was playing. As police and EMTs swirled around the grieving and traumatized family, another first responder was called in: Pastor Andre Humphrey.

Humphrey has run the Baltimore Trauma Response Team (BTRT), a non-profit organization that works to bring comfort and mental health help to those who have been traumatized by shootings and other violence in Baltimore, since 2009.

Humphrey recalled that McKenzie’s family —- already in shock -— was initially suspicious of his team.

“When I explained to them my position and why I was there, they were more receptive,” Humphrey told ABC News.

For several days after McKenzie’s death, the team remained present, taking eight hour shifts to stand vigil. When the family requested it, BTRT even sat and prayed with the family.

Soon news of their services spread through the neighborhood.

“[Members of the response team] were in the neighborhood and trying to get them to understand how important it was to throw their support around McKenzie’s mother,” said Humphrey. “They wanted to know what services would be there in case something happened to their family.”

The team’s visits are not necessarily religious in nature. The team is made up of clinicians and religious professionals and started at Johns Hopkins Medical Center before being taken by over by Humphrey. On the team, a clinical social worker provides counseling and links to community mental health resources.

“When I go on the scene, I let the people tell me what they need or communicate to me,” Humphrey said. “It’s called the ministry of presence … to let them know that our team cares.”

The team doesn’t stop after the first meeting. They schedule follow-up appointments for the families and help with getting there. Since transportation can be an issue, the team will provide bus tokens or offer to drive people to their initial appointment to ensure they receive the care they need.

“People get discouraged when you keep sending them to places and no one’s helping them,” Humphrey explained. “That depresses them even more.”

The organization has been at the center of a city that has been wracked by violence and unrest in recent years. In 2015 Baltimore had 344 homicides, while New York City had 352 despite having 13 times the population.

That constant level of violence can damage more than just physical health; it can also affect mental health for those in the community, even if they are not directly affected by violence. A 2010 study found that being a victim of violence, witnessing violence or even just hearing about it increased the likelihood of developing depression or PTSD among young adults. The symptoms can be especially prevalent in African-American communities.

African-Americans are “10 percent more likely to report having serious psychological distress than Non-Hispanic Whites,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Widespread viewing of violent footage on social media such as the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers can add to the traumatic experiences of African-Americans, according to Anita Thomas, professor and the Dean of the College of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Indianapolis.

“Witnessing and experiencing the event can cause the same amount of pain as having experienced it themselves,” said Thomas. “It’s really the unexpected and uncontrolled aspects that are related to trauma. People [are] reporting lethargy, inability to concentrate, feeling sad, and anxiety symptoms … more generalized fearfulness.”

She said appropriate therapy can help decrease the damaging effects of trauma and stress and improve the mental health of African-Americans. “There should be acknowledgement that it was painful.”

Children and adolescents can be especially at risk. Adolescents who loses loved ones to homicide are twice as likely to experience depression, PTSD and substance abuse or dependence as their peers, according to a study performed by the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at Medical University of South Carolina

“[For] children and adolescents that are exposed to violence at alarming rates, there is a relationship between witnessing violence and mental health concerns,” said Rebecca Gurtwich, a Child Psychologist at Duke University Medical Center. “It’s an issue that we have to do a better job of addressing.” When Baltimore faced unrest after the death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody, BTRT held town hall meetings with on-site counselors who provided residents who felt angry or fearful with emotional support. They also assessed whether those residents needed further mental health help.

“People were terrified and didn’t know what to do,” said Humphrey.

“People asked, ‘Is there any hope?’, ‘Will this change?'” he said. They wanted to know, “’If it happens to me, what do I do?’”

Humphrey said his team is focused on helping lift some of that psychological distress.

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Hepatitis A Outbreak Linked to Frozen Scallops in Hawaii

iStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) — A Hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii has sickened at least 168 people, with at least 46 of them hospitalized, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.

Health officials found that the outbreak was likely linked to frozen scallops served raw at a chain of sushi restaurants called Genki Sushi.

The outbreak was first reported last month, but health officials announced the suspected cause on Tuesday. The Hawaii Department of Health has ordered the frozen scallop products not be served at the sushi restaurants as well as other markets that supplied the scallops.

“We are gratified to uncover this major piece of the investigation,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said in a statement. “Our investigation continues, as we work to confirm our findings and ensure contaminated product is no longer in circulation and the risk of transmission is eliminated.”

Hepatitis A is a virus that causes a contagious liver infection. Symptoms can include nausea, fever, fatigue and jaundice. Symptoms usually last a few weeks but can remain for months in some individuals.

Genki Sushi Restaurants on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Kauai have been closed until the health department can review their operation for safety, officials said.

“Genki Sushi in Hawaii has a history of good compliance with food safety regulations, which includes good employee hygiene,” said Peter Oshiro, sanitation branch chief of the Hawaii Department of Health. “We will continue to work with Genki Sushi Restaurants to ensure their safe operation after the investigation is completed.”

The chain restaurant’s headquarters in Hawaii did not immediately respond to ABC News’ calls seeking comment.

The health department is urging anyone who consumed raw scallops at Genki Sushi in Oahu or Kauai to visit their health care provider to see if they should get a vaccine or immune globulin — extra antibodies to help fight off the infection.

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Your Body: The Benefits of Whole Grains

iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

When it comes to bread, do you prefer white or wheat? According to new research, the type you choose may influence how long you live.

Harvard researchers found that the more whole grains people ate, the lower the risk was of dying early from various causes.

In people who followed current dietary guidelines — about 50 grams of whole grains per day — they found death from heart disease went down 20 percent and death from cancer dropped 15 percent.

For something to be whole grain, it means that 100 percent of the original kernel must be present.

Rich in magnesium, zinc, vitamin E and fiber, whole grains can be an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

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Identical Triplets Born Premature Reunite with Hospital Staff Who Cared for Them

Stephanie Harris(HOUSTON) — A set of rare, identical triplets has returned to the Texas hospital to meet the doctors who cared for them while in the neonatal intensive care unit.

“[I was] definitely thanking them all,” mom Stephanie Harris of League City told ABC News Wednesday.

“It was overwhelming stepping in to the hospital again, [but] it was incredible,” Harris said. “This time, [I was] able to bring my babies in and they are so healthy and doing great.”

Kinsley, Savannah and Addison Harris, now 8 months old, were born on Dec. 1, 2015. The sisters ranged from 3 pounds to 3 pounds, 5 ounces.

Because they came 10 weeks early, the girls spent over a month in the NICU.

“It was actually a very complicated pregnancy,” Harris said. “The entire process was very difficult and stressful. We had early labor two times. All three of them shared the same placenta. It made it a lot more risky. All of them were fighting for the same nutrients that usually one baby receives.”

After five weeks, the Harris triplets were discharged from the hospital.

They were the first set of identical triplets to be born at Memorial Hermann Southeast Medical Center in Houston.

And while Harris and her husband, Brad, were thrilled to have their newborns home, Harris said she was disappointed they didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to the medical professionals who were there through it all.

On Aug. 5, Harris returned to Memorial Hermann where she, Kinsley, Savannah and Addison visited with seven nurses and one of the doctors.

“They’re here for a visit, not because they have to be and that’s the best part and it reminds you why you do the things you do,” Nikole Keenan, director of Women’s and Children’s Services, told ABC’s Houston station KTRK-TV.

As for life with triplets, Harris said it can be challenging at times.

“It has its ups and downs for sure,” she said. “They’re 8 months old now, so they’re personalities are coming out like you wouldn’t believe. They’re so adorable.”

Harris said all together, the girls go through 100 diapers per week and 8 baby food jars, plus one whole can of formula, per day.

The Harris family has another reunion scheduled for this October, in the NICU where the triplets stayed.

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Khloe Kardashian Reveals Frightening Skin Cancer Scare

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Khloe Kardashian is opening up about her own frightening health scare.

The 32-year-old reality star revealed on her app that doctors found and removed a cancerous mole on her back. She’s now urging fans to check their skin regularly.

“There was one mole I had on my back that was skin cancer,” Kardashian shared. “I had 8 inches of skin removed. It was definitely painful because it was a lot of skin, but most of the time, the removals haven’t been that bad.”

She added: “I haven’t had a problem in years, but wanted to share my experience with you so that if you notice something doesn’t look right, you will take action and take care of your health!”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and the American Cancer Society notes that more than five million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year.

Dermatologist Rosemarie Ingleton stopped by ABC News’ Good Morning America Wednesday to discuss the disease.

Ingleton said people with increased sun exposure and who have more moles on their bodies are more susceptible to skin cancer.

“The more moles you have, the more things you have that can become abnormal,” she said. “So people who have a lot of moles, especially slightly weird moles, are at increased risk for getting melanoma, specifically.”

Ingleton said everyone should check their own bodies at least once a month and see a dermatologist annually.

Moles that are considered normal will appear round, even-colored and contain no irregularities on the edges, she added.

To prevent skin cancer, Ingleton suggests wearing sunscreen year-round, hats and anything that helps protect against sun exposure.

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