What We're Reading: Big Decline in Rate of Unintended Pregnancies

What we're reading, March 8, 2016: rate of unplanned pregnancies in the US is at a 30-year low; doctors told they are overprescribing addictive medicines don't change their behavior; and despite Obamacare, surprise medical bills find a way.

The rate of unplanned pregnancies in the US has reached its lowest level in 30 years. While there are some variations in rates by income, race, ethnicity, education, and age, the rates declined in almost every demographic group, according to The New York Times. While changes in contraceptive use are thought to be driving the decline, 81% of pregnancies among women who were cohabiting were still considered unintentional in 2011.

When doctors are told that they are overprescribing addictive drugs, they don’t change prescribing habits. According to Reuters, government letters to doctors prescribing more addictive drugs than their peers had no impact. This is different from previous research that has found sending letters that compared doctors with their peers has encouraged them to vaccinate patients.

While the Affordable Care Act has made some progress against surprise medical bills, there are 2 big loopholes, reported TIME. First, patients could receive a separate bill after a medical emergency from the provider for whatever the insurer didn’t cover. Second, caps on out-of-pocket charges only include in-network care. But who is to blame? It’s not clear, but one of 3 groups could eventually be on the hook: insurance companies, the hospitals, or the physician lobby.