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What We’re Reading: Telehealth Debate; STD Rise Among Older Adults; PFAS Limits in Water

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Lawmakers are under pressure to decide the fate of COVID-era telehealth payment changes; the CDC reports an alarming increase in sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases among Americans 55 years and older; new regulations aim to reduce harmful exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.”

Congressional Debate on Telehealth Services Intensifies as Deadline Looms

As the year-end deadline approaches for telehealth-related COVID-era payment changes, federal lawmakers are grappling with crucial decisions regarding the future of these services, including coverage under Medicare and other insurance plans, according to Kaiser Health News. The outcome of these deliberations will have a significant impact on access to virtual health care, particularly for rural and underserved communities. Despite bipartisan support for telehealth, the looming presidential election and legislative deadlines add complexity to the process, raising concerns about potential delays in finalizing critical policies.

Surprising Rise in STD Rates Among Older Americans Sparks Concern

Recent data from the CDC reveal a startling trend: Sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates are on the rise among Americans 55 years and older, according to Fox News. Chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C, and gonorrhea are among the diseases affecting this age group at an alarming rate. The statistics, spanning from 2012 to 2022, highlight a significant surge in reported cases vs previous years. Experts attribute the rise in cases to factors such as inadequate sex education during the individuals’ youth, potentially leaving them ill-equipped to protect themselves later in life.

Biden Administration Introduces Landmark National PFAS Limit for Safe Drinking Water

The Biden administration has finalized the first national standard to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly known as “forever chemicals,” in drinking water, according to CNN. These chemicals, linked to various health issues, have been found in nearly half of the water supply in the US. The new rule mandates that water utilities filter 5 specific types of PFAS, setting legally enforceable limits to mitigate health risks. However, critics raise concerns about the financial burden on water systems and question the underlying science behind the standards.

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