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Supreme Court declines to hear South Carolina attempt to block Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood



a large white building: Supreme Court declines to hear South Carolina attempt to block Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood


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Supreme Court declines to hear South Carolina attempt to block Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that blocked the South Carolina Department of Health from cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

The high court’s rejection means that last year’s ruling from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will remain in effect, prohibiting the state from terminating Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider.

While it takes four justices to approve a petition, the court doesn’t publish the vote totals and it declined to hear the case without comment.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed an executive order in 2018 prohibiting abortion clinics from participating in Medicaid.

Video: ACA unlikely to be struck down; Roberts and Kavanaugh are expected to support severability: Turley (FOX News)

ACA unlikely to be struck down; Roberts and Kavanaugh are expected to support severability: Turley

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Medicaid, the health care program for the poor, generally doesn’t pay for abortions, but conservatives have longed pushed to cut any state and federal funding flowing to the Planned Parenthood, which also provides an array of other health care services.

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Under the order, South Carolina’s two Planned Parenthood Centers, which provide family planning and preventive care services, cancer screenings, and other health care, were terminated as Medicaid providers.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, representing one of its patients, filed suit, arguing the order is a violation of federal law that says Medicaid beneficiaries may get care from any qualified provider, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

South Carolina appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the state has the right to determine what providers are “qualified” to participate in the Medicaid program.

The Supreme Court has in recent years declined to hear similar appeals from Louisiana and Kansas.

The decision Tuesday came during Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she repeatedly declined to offer her views on landmark cases establishing a woman’s right to an abortion.

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Chicago Coronavirus Positivity Rate Declines To 4.3%

CHICAGO — New regional COVID-19 mitigations lifted on one area of Illinois this week and imposed on another, as rising coronavirus positivity rates in neighboring regions risk triggering additional restrictions.

Chicago has the lowest coronavirus positivity rate in the state of any of the state’s 11 effective mitigation regions. The positivity rate fell from 4.6 percent to 4.3 percent during the week ending Tuesday, the most recent day where data is available from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

During the same period, daily new hospitalizations of patients with “COVID-like illnesses,” or CLI, fell from a rounded rolling average of 24 people a day to 23 people a day on Oct. 6.

Only one region is currently subject to increased restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus as part of the 11-region Restore Illinois COVID-19 resurgence plan, as of Friday. It is the third region where public health officials have tightened limits on gatherings and businesses due to high positivity rates.

In Region 1, the Rockford emergency medical services region, the seven-day rolling average coronavirus positivity rate has remained above 8 percent for more than two weeks. Three days above the threshold leads to mandatory mitigation measures. Restrictions on indoor service at bars and restaurants will be in effect in the nine-county region until its rate stays below 6.5 percent for three consecutive days.

That happened this week in Region 4, where the “tier 2” restrictions on businesses and gatherings were first imposed on Aug. 18. The Metro East region hit a high of 10.5 percent positivity in late August before coming down to 5.8 by Friday, when public health officials announced the restrictions had been lifted.

Region 7 was the first to have its regional restrictions rolled back, with mitigations imposed on Aug. 27 were lifted Sept. 18.

The region with the fastest growing positivity rate — and the highest rate outside of the Rockford region — is Region 5 in Southern Illinois. The Marion emergency medical services region saw its positivity rate spike from 5.6 percent to 7 percent this week. If the rolling average continues to rise at that rate, the region could be on pace for additional restrictions as soon as next week.

The next highest rate was in Region 6 excluding Champaign County. Public health officials have begun calculating the region’s positivity rate without counting results from the University of Illinois’ comprehensive saliva testing program. Outside of the county, the positivity rate was 6.7 percent, although it had declined by half a point from a week earlier.

The number of counties in the state at a warning level on the IDPH decreased by two over the past week. The 26 counties where two or more county-level risk indicators show an increasing COVID-19 threat are: Case, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Effingham, Fayette, Henderson, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lee, Mason, Massac, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Shelby, Union, Vermilion, Whiteside, Winnebago and Warren.

As of Thursday night, there were 1,812 people hospitalized in Illinois with

India declines proposal to test Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine in large study

(Reuters) – India’s drug regulator has knocked back a proposal from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd <REDY.NS> to conduct a large study in the country to evaluate Russia’s Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine and has asked it to first test the vaccine in a smaller trial.

The recommendations by an expert panel of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) noted that safety and immunogenicity data from early-stage studies being conducted overseas is small, with no inputs available on Indian participants.

India’s move comes as a setback for Russia’s plan to roll-out the vaccine even before full trials show how well it works, while pushing back its efforts to win approval for the vaccine in the country that leads the world on average number of new infections.

India is expected to overtake the United States over the next several weeks as the country with the world’s largest number of cases.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is marketing the Sputnik V, and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories last month announced their partnership to run clinical trials and distribute the vaccine in India.

Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine, and did so before large-scale trials were complete, stirring concerns among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot.

RDIF and Dr. Reddy’s did not immediately reply to Reuters’ requests for comment outside business hours.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; editing by Ankur Banerjee and Anil D’Silva)

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Soda Consumption Declines in Most Groups

In the United States, the percentage of children and adults who have a “heavy intake of sugar-sweetened beverages” — defined as consuming at least 500 calories from these beverages or drinking the equivalent of 3.5 x 12-oz cans of soda each day — is dropping, researchers report.

From 2003-2004 to 2015-2016, heavy intake of sugar-sweetened beverages declined from 10.9% to 3.3% among children (aged 2-19) and from 12.7% to 9.1% among adults (aged 20 and older).

However, diving deeper reveals that while the rate of heavy intake of sugary drinks fell among children and younger adults (20- to 39-year-olds), it rose among adults aged 60 and older, and it remained unchanged among non-Mexican Hispanics and 40- to 59-year-olds. 

These findings suggest that “attention must be paid to certain subgroups with high intake for whom trends are not decreasing, particularly 40- to 59-year-olds and non-Mexican Hispanic adults,” the investigators urge.

The study, by Kelsey A. Vercammen, a doctoral student at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, was published online September 24 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Because the results zeroed in on several groups who showed no improvement or actually increased their intake, these [findings] can be used to better target interventions,” Vercammen said in a statement issued by the journal.

“Ongoing surveillance is also important to keeping these trends moving in the right direction,” she said.

Senior author Sara N. Bleich, PhD, also of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, added: “Our study contributes important new evidence and insights to research on [sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption, and it tells a public health success story.”

Zeroing in on “Heavy” Consumption

Sugar-sweetened beverages “are a key public health concern,” Vercammen said in a podcast accompanying their publication, noting that these drinks are widely consumed in the United States by about 60% of children and 50% of adults on a typical day.

They represent one of the largest sources of added sugar in the diet, and excess consumption is tied to obesity, diabetes, and dental cavities.

To address this, several cities and countries have levied taxes on sugary drinks or passed laws requiring fast food restaurants to only offer healthy beverages with children’s meals.

In general, studies have reported “pretty promising declines” in consumption of these beverages over the past decade, said Vercammen, but it has not been known if this is also true for “heavy users.”

To investigate this, researchers examined 24-hour dietary recall data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 21,783 children and 32,355 adults over the 12-year period.

They analyzed the intake of four types of nondairy beverages with added sugar: soda, fruit drinks (excluding 100% fruit juice), sports/energy drinks, low-calorie (diet) drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages (such as sweetened coffees, teas, water, and nonalcoholic drinks).

The population was a diverse nationally representative sample (39% White, 24% Black, 20% Mexican American, 8% non-Mexican Hispanic, and 9% other), and roughly half