What We're Reading: Hawaii Passes Bill to Protect Transgender Patients

What we're reading, April 27, 2016: Hawaii passes bill to protect transgender patients; childhood obesity has plateaued, not declined; and HHS awards $5 million to Puerto Rico to fight the Zika virus.

Hawaii has taken a different approach to transgender patients compared with Mississippi and Tennessee. The Hawaii Legislature has passed a bill that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against transgender patients by denying, canceling, or limiting coverage based on the person’s gender identity, reported The Washington Post. The bill has already passed the state senate and is now going to the governor. One of the bill’s opponents expressed concern that it could mandate coverage of gender reassignment surgery, which would be costly for everyone.

Despite optimistic reports, there hasn’t been a decline in childhood obesity. However, NPR reported that the prevalence of obesity among US children has plateaued. From 1999 to 2014 there was a consistent increase in obesity. But there have been success stories and promising efforts placing more attention on preventing obesity among primary care physicians and pediatricians may lead to some declines, according to researchers.

While Congress has yet to approve the requested funding to combat the Zika virus, HHS awarded $5 million to Puerto Rico to fight the spread of the virus. The money will go to 20 health centers to use to expand voluntary family planning services, outreach, education, and to hire more staff, according to a press release. So far 474 cases of Zika in Puerto Rico have been reported and the number is expected to continue rising.