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Another clunker: John Cornyn’s ad on preexisting conditions

In a new campaign ad, Cornyn says one of the law’s central features, its guarantee that insurers must sell plans to any patients with preexisting conditions, “is something we all agree should be covered.”

Cornyn is a fixture of Texas and national politics and the No. 2 Republican in Senate leadership. His lead in this year’s race is not slim, and his ad is more carefully worded than the rest.

But Cornyn continues to oppose the Affordable Care Act, and his campaign would not say whether he backs a Republican lawsuit seeking to strike down the entire law at the Supreme Court.

If the ACA were to fall, the legislation Cornyn proposes as a replacement to cover those with preexisting conditions says “nothing … shall be construed to restrict the amount that an employer or individual may be charged for coverage under a group health plan.” Charge them whatever price, it says.

Experts say this arrangement would leave tens of millions of Americans with preexisting conditions at risk and possibly facing unaffordable rates for insurance. That’s why we’ve previously described the GOP proposal Cornyn supports as a “car without an engine.”

The Facts

The Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health-care legislation, has long been a target for Republicans. Cornyn has voted numerous times to repeal or replace it since its enactment in 2010. This is the third presidential election cycle in which the fate of the law is a top issue for candidates and voters.

Efforts to repeal “Obamacare” in Congress have fallen short for lack of agreement among Republicans on how best to rewrite it, most notably in 2017 and 2018, when the GOP controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House. The Supreme Court has upheld the act twice in the face of challenges from conservative groups and is scheduled to hear arguments in the latest case (California v. Texas) on Nov. 10.

As coronavirus cases reached a new high in the United States, the Trump administration filed a legal brief on June 25 asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire law, joining with a group of GOP state attorneys general who argue the ACA is unconstitutional. About 20 million people could lose their health insurance amid a pandemic if the GOP effort succeeds.

The lawsuit comes from Cornyn’s home state, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R). The federal judge who initially ruled to strike down the law in this case is a former Cornyn aide sitting in Texas.

“Asked if he wanted to see the lawsuit succeed, Cornyn did not say,” according to an article last month in the Texas Tribune. We asked the Cornyn campaign the same question and did not get an answer.

On his campaign website, Cornyn says, “Our health care system is broken, but Obamacare — with its unattainable costs, job-killing policies and intrusion between a patient and their doctor — isn’t the answer.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) last month forced

SPORTS MEDICINE: Vitamin D more vital than ever | John Doherty

The best opportunity for preventive care, according to Wojtys, occurs in the teenage years, decades before diagnosis. “Peak bone mass is dependent on 5 main factors: sex, race, hormones, nutrition and physical activity,” he wrote. “Sex and race are nonmodifiable, while nutrition, physical activity and hormones are.

“While all the first 20 years of life are important in bone development, approximately 40% to 60% of adult bone mass is achieved during adolescence. Interestingly, 25% of peak bone mass is acquired during the two-year span around peak height velocity: 12.5 years of age for girls and 14 years of age for boys. Nearly all (90%) peak bone mass will have accrued by the age of 18 years, often determining our fracture risk for the rest of our lives.”

Dietary calcium is key for developing strong bones.

Wojtys advises teenagers get 1,300 mg per day for optimal growth. “Keeping in mind that an 8-ounce serving of milk provides 300 mg of calcium” Wojtys wrote, “it is clear that the calcium demand for optimal growth is not easily met. I don’t know of many teenagers who drink four glasses of milk per day. For those restricted to vegetable diets and who do not consume milk or other calcium-fortified plant milks, the challenge to obtain enough calcium becomes much more difficult.”

To optimize absorption of calcium, Vitamin D is necessary. Without Vitamin D, bones are able to absorb only 10-15% of available dietary calcium, according to Wojtys. This vital substance is found in milk, eggs, fish, breakfast cereal and multivitamins. Play outside in warm weather, in a T-shirt and shorts, and the sun and your skin will combine to make it for you.

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SPORTS MEDICINE: National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Month a time to look back | John Doherty

When the season did resume for the Blues, though, in a bubble in Edmonton in July, the team announced that Bouwmeester was not going to be with them.

It is unlikely he will ever be with the Blues — or any other NHL team — again. Yet, the former Olympic gold medalist (Sochi 2014) should still be thankful. The presence of medical professionals and their swift use of the AED made his chance of survival much greater.

A study published in 2018 in Sports Health identified 132 cases of SCA suffered among athletes age 11 to 27 between 2014 and 2016. Survival to discharge from a hospital was the result for 64, or 48% of the victims. However, if an AED was present and used promptly, the survival rate increased to 89%. Furthermore, whether an AED was available or not, if an athletic trainer was in attendance, the survival rate was 83%.

Had Bouwmeester been stricken at home or on a city street, his chance of survival would have been only 10%. Multiple studies have consistently demonstrated that rate nationwide.

A more recent study, since the onset of COVID-19, reported worse numbers. The decreased survivability was blamed on bystanders declining to do CPR, because of being fearful of catching the virus, and paramedics taking longer to arrive, due to having to don extra equipment to protect themselves from the virus.

If more members of the general public were trained and willing to do CPR, the success rate found in athletic arenas would be duplicated elsewhere.

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Brisbane doctor John Robert Ullman, 52, accused of supplying drugs to bikies

A Brisbane doctor accused of supplying and trafficking drugs to outlaw motorcycle gang members has been suspended from practising medicine by the Health Ombudsman.

Chermside skin cancer doctor John Robert Ullman, 52, was arrested and slapped with more than 160 charges last week relating to allegations he supplied testosterone, diazepam and other drugs to at least 39 different people over a two-year period.

As part of his bail application, Ullman’s lawyer Tyronne Thomas argued the doctor should be released because he was the only GP rostered on to work during the school holidays at the skin cancer clinic.

“He also within the next couple of weeks he also has patients that require skin cancer treatment,” Mr Thomas told the court on Wednesday last week.

“I’m instructed he’s the only general practitioner working at the clinic over the school holidays.”

Doctor John Robert Ullman leaves the police watch house in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
media_cameraDoctor John Robert Ullman leaves the police watch house in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

But the Health Ombudsman has announced it has taken “immediate action” against Ullman, suspending his medical registration as of Friday last week.

“In accordance with (the Health Ombudsman Act), the Health Ombudsman’s decision will continue to have effect until the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal sets the decision aside or the Health Ombudsman revokes the suspension of (Ullman’s) registration…,” the ombudsman said.

Ullman’s profile was also removed from the website of the skin cancer clinic within 24 hours of his arrest despite him being granted bail.

Magistrate Michael Quinn said at the time he was satisfied the prosecution had a “strong case” but granted the bail on strict conditions including that Ullman provide a $50,000 surety.

Under the bail conditions he is also required to reside at his Chelmer home with his family, surrender his passport, report to Indooroopilly police each Monday and Friday and have no contact with the people he is accused of supplying drugs to.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Hayley Kipps had objected to Ullman being granted bail, alleging he was a risk of further reoffending if released from custody.

“Of serious concern is that some of the alleged supplies relate to outlaw motorcycle club gang members,” Snr Const Kipps told the court.

She said allegations Ullman had supplied drugs to 39 people were of “serious concern” and there was a “high probability” he would commit offences if released on bail.

“It is the prosecution submission that an actual period of custody is within range so there is not a risk of (Ullman) serving too much time (if not granted bail),” she said.

Ullman will face court again on November 16.

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‘Community Member’ At John Glenn Middle School Tests Positive

BEDFORD, MA — Bedford School officials have learned from the local health department that a ‘community member’ at John Glenn Middle School has tested positive for the coronavirus, district superintendent Phillip Conrad announced in a message to district families on Wednesday.

The alert did not specify whether the person who had tested positive is a student or staff member, but said the district received word of the positive test from the Bedford Board of Health.

Conrad wrote in the message that the first course of investigation was to determine whether the person attended school during the infectious period. State health officials define the infectious period as being within two days of when the person became symptomatic or, if the person is asymptomatic, within two days of being tested.

The Board of Health has determined, Conrad said, that the person was not at school during the infectious period and that no close contacts to the person were identified as having been near the person who tested positive.

“Our first responsibility is to keep our school community safe,” Conrad wrote. “We have been planning for this scenario during our reopening planning process and have a comprehensive plan in place to sanitize the school each school day, inform families whose students were at risk of exposure or in close contact, and support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience.”

Conrad did not mention any implications of what the positive test means for the school’s current hybrid model, but said school officials would continue to be vigilant in adhering to protocols that have been put in place at the school when officials elected to move to the in-person hybrid model. Students at the school returned to the classroom for hybrid learning on Sept. 16.

The district is also providing remote learning options for students that are required to quarantine so that those students can receive educational support from the district, Conrad said.

“We are committed to continuous communication with and support of our families,” the superintendent wrote in the message. “If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately.”

This article originally appeared on the Bedford Patch

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