Health Highlights: March 7, 2017

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Republicans Introduce Obamacare Replacement

An initial Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act was formally introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday.

The proposed package scraps the mandate for health insurance and instead offers tax incentives designed to encourage Americans to get health insurance coverage, The New York Times reported.

The bill does propose preserving two of the most popular elements of the health care reform law known as Obamacare. There would still be safeguards for people with pre-existing medical conditions, and young adults would still be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until the age of 26.

But the highly unpopular fines on people who choose not to buy health insurance would be eliminated.

Preliminary voting on the proposal will begin in House committees on Wednesday, the Associated Press said. The Senate has yet to offer its version of a replacement plan.

No official estimates on how many Americans might lose their health insurance under the replacement package were available from Republicans on Monday, according to the AP.

The package would change premium subsidies in a way that may not provide as much assistance to people with low incomes, the wire service reported.

As for Medicaid, the expansion of the health insurance program for the poor would continue until 2020, after which states adding Medicaid recipients would no longer receive the additional federal funds President Barack Obama’s law would have provided, according to the wire service.

At the same time, the plan changes Medicaid funding from open-ended federal financing to a limit based on enrollment and costs in each state, the AP said.


Bird Flu Confirmed at Tennessee Chicken Facility

A strain of bird flu has been confirmed at a commercial chicken breeding facility in Tennessee.

The H7 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was found by the state Agriculture Department at the facility in south-central Lincoln county after the facility alerted the state veterinarian’s office about in increase in chicken deaths, CBS News/Associated Press reported.

State officials did not name the facility, but said it and about 30 other poultry farms within about a six-mile radius of the site are under quarantine.

No affected chickens have entered the food chain and there is no risk to the food supply, according to officials, CBS/AP reported.

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