What We're Reading: The Struggle to Battle Obesity

What we're reading, May 2, 2016: new discoveries about why people struggle to keep off weight; first Zika-related death in the US; and Medicare Advantage needs more competition.

Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. A new study following contestants from Season 8 of the show The Biggest Loser found that most contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost, reported The New York Times. The study has yielded new discoveries about why people struggle to keep off the weight they lose. Researchers found that contestants had slower metabolisms when the show ended and that as the years went by their metabolisms did not recover.

Although death from the Zika virus is rare, the first Zika-related death in the US was reported in Puerto Rico. In the meantime, Congress has not yet approved President Obama’s requested emergency funding to fight the virus, according to The Hill. In fact, Congress has adjourned for a week-long recess without making any headway as Republicans balk at a bill to finance the requested $1.9 billion, according to The Atlantic.

Competitive bidding is not part of Medicare Advantage, which accounts for one-fourth of Medicare’s budget. Austin Frakt, an editorial board member of The American Journal of Managed Care, wrote in The Upshot that a plan to inject more competition into Medicare Advantage is likely doomed despite the fact that it would save $77 billion over 10 years. Currently, the lack of competition allows plans to upcode, or make their enrollees look sicker than they are, which Medicare pays more for.