What We're Reading: Senate Passes Government Budget Bill With Zika Virus Funding


What we're reading, September 29, 2016: as part of the bill to prevent a government shutdown, the Senate has finally approved Zika virus funding; electronic health record breaches skyrocketed from 2014 to 2015; and California passes "right to try" law for terminally ill patients.

Congress managed to agree to a government budget bill to avoid a shutdown. Included in the bill, which passed the Senate and is pending in the House, is $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus, according to NPR. In order to get the deal made, language that prevented money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics was removed. The New York Times also reported that the bill, which funds the government through December 9, also authorizes aid for Flint, Michigan.

From 2014 to 2015, the number of electronic health record breaches skyrocketed from 12.5 million to 113 million. The Washington Post reported that hackers are becoming more creative and successful when it comes to accessing personal information, and the healthcare system has been hit hard. Health records are valuable for use or sale because they contain extensive amounts of information about an individual.

California has passed legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental treatments. Under the “right to try” law, drug manufacturers can offer new treatments to patients who have tried FDA-approved ones, according to The Hill. California’s governor vetoed a similar bill last year because he was hoping the FDA would shorten its approval process. Some experts believe the law offers false hope to patients with life-threatening illnesses since experimental drugs have a small chance of success.

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