What We're Reading: GOP Medicare Claims; Heart Trial Suspended; Impact of Immigration Rules on Doctors

The National Institutes of Health is suspending human testing of an experimental, taxpayer-funded, stem cell trial for heart failure in light of emerging questions about the scientific foundation for the treatment; Republicans are working to shift the national healthcare conversation by telling seniors their Medicare coverage may be in danger; the drive to tighten immigration rules is stirring concerns in the medical profession about how it will affect the future supply of doctors in the United States.

Will Older Voters Respond to GOP Hammering on Medicare?

With the midterms a week away Republicans are working to shift the national healthcare conversation away from pre-existing conditions and health insurance by telling seniors their Medicare coverage may be in danger. According to Kaiser Health News, it's a technique used by both parties in different elections, although it is not clear if the attempt will work. Republicans charge that Democrats’ support for expanding Medicare would threaten the viability of the program for seniors who depend on it, but various fact-checkers have repeatedly challenged these claims.

NIH Suspending Stem Cell Heart Trial

The National Institutes of Health is suspending human testing of an experimental, taxpayer-funded, stem cell trial for heart failure in light of emerging questions about the scientific foundation for the treatment, The Washington Post reported. A years-long Harvard investigation uncovered “false and/or fabricated data” in 31 scientific papers from the laboratory of Piero Anversa, a researcher whose blockbuster findings raised hope there were stem cells in the heart that could repair damaged muscle. Anversa is not directly involved in the trial, but the heart stem cells he identified are being injected into the hearts of some of the patients.

GOP Push on Immigration Limits Leads to Concerns About Doctor Shortages

The Republican drive to tighten immigration rules have stirred concerns in the medical profession about how it will affect the future supply of doctors in the United States, particularly in rural areas. Those are the same areas that tend to support President Donald Trump, Kaiser Health News reported. The American Medical Association said that 18% of practicing physicians and medical residents in patient care were born in other countries as of 2017. Foreign-born doctors are vital to the national health system, as the country is grappling with a doctor shortage that’s expected to grow to as many as 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Separately Tuesday, Trump said he was considering an executive order to ban birthright citizenship.