Flu season may have peaked with a hospitalization rate reaching 31.5 per 100,000 people; Wisconsin's Republican governor now seeks to stabilize the state's Affordable Care Act marketplace; the Trump administration revokes protection for Planned Parenthood funding.
This flu season, which has been widespread and very active, probably peaked last week. According to USA Today, as many as 30 children have died from the flu, and the hospitalization rate has reached 31.5 per 100,000 people. The season’s severe flu has been attributed to the particular strain common this year: the H3N2 flu is associated with more severe illness and more hospitalizations and deaths. In California, last week represented the deadliest week of the current flu season with a total of 32 people under the age of 65 dying due to the flu. In total, California has reported 74 deaths, which has far outpaced the 14 deaths that occurred during the same time period a year ago.
Instead of continuing to fight against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, is now seeking to stabilize the ACA marketplace in his state. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Walker has asked for federal permission to cover expensive medical claims on the marketplace in an attempt to lower premium increases and bring more competition to the market. He has also indicated that he wants the state legislature to pass a Democratic bill that creates a state law that guarantees access to insurance for people with preexisting conditions.
An Obama-era protection for Planned Parenthood that discourages states from defunding organizations that provide abortion services has been revoked. HHS will inform state Medicaid offices that the guidance from the Obama administration that requires states pay for non-abortion services performed at abortion clinics, like Planned Parenthood, will be revoked because it restricted states, according to The New York Times. Planned Parenthood said that the new policy will allow the federal government to cut off funding for its clinics without getting Congress involved.