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Friday, April 29, 2022 | Kaiser Health News

Longer Looks: Interesting Reads You Might Have Missed

Each week, KHN finds longer stories for you to enjoy. This week’s selections include stories on the Affordable Care Act, covid, infertility, tick bites, body image, anorexia, and more.

Politico: Republicans Have Stopped Trying To Kill Obamacare. Here’s What They’re Planning Instead

For years, Republicans had an easy health care talking point: Repeal and replace Obamacare. In 2017, with full control of Washington, the GOP managed nothing of the sort. Three trips to the Supreme Court, all instigated by Republican-engineered legal challenges, have also left the law standing. It might seem that if the GOP wins Congress again in 2022, the party will leave American health care alone. The only visible attempt at a broad agenda for Republican congressional candidates — the 11 Point Plan to Rescue America by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) — includes no mention of health care policy at all. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) proposed last month on a Breitbart News radio interview that Republicans should repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but backtracked just a few days later. (McDonough, 4/26)

Stat: How Paxlovid Came To Be: From Idea To A Vital Tool Against Covid

Charlotte Allerton, Pfizer’s head of medicine design, was making dinner — omelets — with her teenage children when she got a call from the one of the company’s top development officers. He was calling with interim results from the study of an experimental antiviral for Covid-19. She pushed the food to one side and went upstairs. “It’s like any piece of news that you’re expecting,” she said. “You can kind of tell just from the way the person speaks.” She went directly to work. (Herper, 4/28)

ABC News: Why Is Infertility So Painful?: Doctor And Patient Break Down Taboo Women’s Health Topic

More than 6 million women of childbearing age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, yet infertility, and specifically the emotional and physical pain that comes with it, is still a taboo topic, even among some women. L’Oreal Thompson Payton, a 33-year-old from Chicago, said she never heard discussions about infertility and infertility treatments when she was growing up. (Kindelan, 4/25)

The Atlantic: A Tick Bite Made Them Allergic To Meat

A few months ago, Candice Matthis and Debbie Nichols sat down with their husbands to have some bacon. It was an unremarkable scene, except for two details. First, there were the EpiPens, which Matthis and Nichols both had ready in case of emergency. The two women can’t eat red meat, not after they were each diagnosed with a dangerous red-meat allergy that develops, oddly enough, after tick bites. They had bonded as friends over their strange shared fate, where a strip of bacon could send them into anaphylactic shock. Matthis is so sensitive that even the airborne particles wafting off a pan of cooking meat typically make her sick. But this time, nothing happened to her as the bacon sizzled. Her EpiPen from her remained untouched. Nichols made herself a BLT. “It had been years,” she told me. And for her, too, nothing happened, except that she remembered how good a BLT tasted. (Zhang, 4/25)

The Wall Street Journal: Russia’s War In Ukraine Could Have Environmental Impact That Lasts Decades

The war in Ukraine is poisoning the nation’s air, water and soil, with environmental-health experts saying pollutants released by the continuing assault could take years to clean up while raising the risk of cancer and respiratory ailments as well as developmental delays in children. On top of the crushing toll of thousands of lives lost in the conflict, experts are concerned about the health effects of exposure to heavy metals, and to toxic gases and particulates from explosions, fires and building collapses. The potential health impacts could reach beyond Ukraine’s borders, as the pollutants are carried downwind and downstream, according to the experts. (Subbaraman, 4/24)

Also—

NBC News: Influencers Exchange Cheap Cosmetic Surgery For Promotion On Tik Tok, But At A Cost

Over the past two years, Awnuh, 19, has undergone a variety of cosmetic procedures: cheek filler, lip filler, breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. They are expensive procedures. Her first, for lip filler, cost about $1,200, paid for with money she made by posting explicit content to her OnlyFans account, which she started the day she turned 18. Since then, her online popularity has soared, particularly on TikTok, where she posts about her physical transformation and her 60-plus tattoos to more than 415,000 followers. (Tenbarge, 4/27)

The Washington Post: What Parents Need To Know About The Hidden Body Image Issues In Boys

For decades, parents have understandably focused their worries about negative body image on their daughters, who are exposed to an avalanche of body pressures early on, from princess culture to Barbie’s tiny waist. But boys grow up under similar influences and pressure to be stronger, leaner, workshop. Despite the popular image of eating disorders and body shame as a unique threat to girls, experts and clinicians who work with children are sounding alarms about boys, who they say are probably underdiagnosed. (Joyce, 4/26)

The New York Times: A Gymnast’s Death Was Supposed To Be A Wake-Up Call. What Took So Long?

In the uneven bars final at the 1989 World Championships, Christy Henrich came within five-hundredths of a point of perfection. It was a beautiful routine, capped with a perfectly stuck dismount, and Henrich grinned as she waited for her score. She finished fourth. It was in this crucible — women’s gymnastics after Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, when commentators were champing at the bit to anoint their successors, when a 9.95 out of 10 might not win you a medal — that one of the United States’ best athletes concluded she was not good enough. Between 1988, when Henrich missed the Olympic team by a fraction of a point, and the next Olympics four years later, she developed anorexia and bulimia. She left the sport in 1991 and died in 1994, at 22, from multiple organ failure caused by starvation. (Astors, 4/26)

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