What we're reading, October 27, 2016: the number of counties with just 1 Obamacare insurer will skyrocket in 2017; Teva and IBM partner for 2 projects; and the United States may never be able to rid itself of the Zika virus.
Competition is down on the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces. According to Vox, there will be a total of 960 counties in 2017 that have just 1 insurer selling on HealthCare.gov, compared with 182 in 2016. The areas of the country with just 1 insurer also tend to be the places with the largest premium hikes. Currently, there is no back-up plan if any of those insurers exit the exchange, leaving a county with no Obamacare insurance option.
Teva Pharmaceuticals and IBM are partnering for a drug repurposing project. Using the IBM Watson Health Cloud, the companies will use cognitive technologies to discover new uses for existing drugs, according to the press release. Teva and IBM will also partner to improve chronic disease management. They will first focus on respiratory and central nervous system diseases and will integrate data from The Weather Company for the analysis.
The United States may never get rid of the Zika virus. NPR reported that health officials have not been able to stop the spread of Zika in Miami, and the CDC’s Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, admitted that diseases spread by mosquitoes may not be controllable. The agency upgraded its health advisory and said local transmission may be happening in the entire Miami-Dade County. Meanwhile, Brazil and Colombia are trying something new to prevent Zika from being spread. The countries are going to infect mosquitoes with a bacteria that would prevent them from transmitting diseases.