Health

Flu Season Hangs On In Parts Of Northwest

Apr 11, 2012
basaldigitalthermometer.com

Flu season is hanging on longer than usual in parts of the Northwest. That’s shown in cases of the flu -- and also via web searches. Google queries for terms like “muscle aches,” ”flu symptoms” and “thermometer” are being used to track where flu is hitting now.

Google and the Centers for Disease Control have found that flu-related searches go hand-in-hand with confirmed cases of the flu. Up-to-the-minute data is available on the web for anyone to track at a site called Google Flu Trends.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

An Idaho woman arrested for inducing her own abortion is taking her case to federal court. Jennie Linn McCormack was charged last year under an obscure Idaho law for ending her pregnancy with RU-486. She joins an increasing number of women who get the so-called abortion pill off the internet. McCormack’s attorney says he’s willing to take the challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, neither pro-choice nor pro-life groups are paying attention to the case.

Neal Gillis / Flickr

A new federal study says Idaho’s rate of teens having babies has fallen to record lows along with most states. But Idaho is only average.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the teen birth rate in the United States has been dropping steadily for several years and now it’s down to the lowest point since it started keeping track in the 1940s.  The authors of the study largely credit sex education initiatives. Sex ed can be a sensitive subject in a socially conservative state like Idaho and programs vary widely from place to place.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

It was expected to be one of the biggest debates of the 2012 legislative session: would Idaho create its own health insurance exchange?  The Associated Press held a special discussion of the issue during its January legislative preview.   In a series of interviews that StateImpact conducted in December, legislator after legislator predicted it would be a defining issue of the months ahead.  Continue reading...

The state of Oregon wants to reshape the way it provides medical services to low income people in rural parts of the state. And it’s getting a robust response from health care providers. Before a deadline this week, state health administrators received more than 50 proposals to create regional collaborations. The strategy is part of what Oregon’s Governor is calling a health-care transformation. 

There have been 21 reported cases of whooping cough in Idaho so far this year.  But in Washington State the number of whooping cough cases has reached epidemic levels. The disease is spreading so rapidly that health officials are urging adults and children to get vaccinated.

Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky announced today that as of last month, there have been 640 cases of whooping cough. That’s compared to 94 in the same period last year.

University of Wisconsin / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Researchers have found a way to rank the healthiest counties in Idaho.  Blaine County comes out on top. 

Where you live matters to your health.  That’s according to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.  Their 2012 County Health Rankings break down the healthiest counties in Idaho.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Two weeks ago, a doctor’s report on health care at Idaho’s largest and oldest prison found “serious problems.” The state Attorney General’s Office responded Friday in a 37-page legal document.

Washington State University

A scientist with the WWAMI program at Spokane’s WSU Riverpoint campus has received a large grant to study one question: why do humans sleep? Boise State Public Radio highlighted the WWAMI program a couple of weeks ago as it turned 40. It's a cooperation between five northwest states, including Idaho, to train doctors. But WWAMI doctors also conduct research. One of those is Jonathan Wisor . 

DBKing / Flickr

This week the U.S. Supreme Court heard three days of arguments over landmark healthcare legislation.  The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act generated a large crowd at the Court, all wanting a front row seat.  Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden was among them. 

Tom Kelly/Flickr

Idaho lawmakers passed what’s known as the “death bill” Wednesday. The bill forbids doctors from refusing treatments such as food and fluids to dying patients who have said they want them. Democratic Representative John Rusche of Lewiston, a retired physician , said at first he was offended by the bill, specifically by the implication that any Idaho doctor would not listen to the desires of a patient on this issue. But he said some amendments had made it more palatable.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Women wanting an abortion won't need an ultrasound in Idaho. State lawmakers were considering a measure to make that the case.  Right to Life advocates wanted this legislation to persuade more women to say no to an abortion.  Over the last two months, the mandate sparked rallies and fierce debate.  Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise) said “I just see that there's a higher, at least in my opinion, need to protect the unborn and to respect the life of the developing child.”

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. is hearing arguments on the Affordable Care Act.  One of the main questions is whether the government can force people to buy health insurance. 

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) opposes the law.  He suggests an alternative way to fund health care.  "Rather than having the government pay for the health care," Crapo says.  " The government could utilize the same resources to subsidize access to health insurance for those who are truly in need."

National Women’s Law Center

A nationwide study says Idaho has one of the widest gaps between how much money insurers charge women and men. The survey by the National Women’s Law Center found Idaho women pay around $700 more each year.

The National Women’s Law Center reviewed the rates of the best-selling insurers in states that allow a practice known as “gender rating.” The Center found that in Idaho a 40-year-old non-smoking woman is typically offered a rate 40 percent higher than any man her age. That’s even when comparing plans that don’t cover maternity care.

DBKing / Flickr

Idaho's Attorney General is in Washington D-C today and tomorrow to watch oral arguments at the U-S Supreme Court on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Idaho was one of the first states to challenge the federal health care law.  Brian Kane is the Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General and has been Lawrence Wasden’s “point man” in the legal process.  Kane told Samantha Wright that Idaho's decision to get involved happened two years ago, before President Obama signed healthcare reform into law...

 

 

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