What We're Reading: Universal Flu Vaccine; E. coli Outbreak; Automatic Enrolling in ACA, Medicaid Plans

Bill Gates is offering $12 million in a push for a universal flu vaccine; the number of people sick from the E. coli outbreak rises to 98; and a Representative is proposing automatically enrolling eligible individuals in Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid plans.

Bill Gates Offers $12 Million for Universal Flu Vaccine

In a push to develop a universal influenza vaccine, Bill Gates announced that his charity—the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—is offering $12 million, reported STAT. A universal vaccine for the flu, which would provide long-lasting protection against a wide array of flu strains, continues to be an ongoing challenge facing influenza researchers. However, STAT noted that the offer is just a small fraction of what the development of such a vaccine would cost.

Nearly 100 Now Sick From E. coli Outbreak

US health officials announced 14 more people have become sick from the Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, bringing the total number of people affected to 98 across 22 states. This strain of E. coli produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, according to The New York Times. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. The outbreak began last month and is now the largest multistate outbreak from this strain since 2006, according to the CDC. Forty-six people have been hospitalized,10 of whom had developed kidney failure.

Proposal to Automatically Enroll People in Medicaid, ACA Plans

Representative Ami Bera, D-California, has introduced a bill to grant states the ability to set up pilot programs that would automatically enroll eligible people into Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Medicaid plans. The proposal includes a 60-day period where people can opt out, so they are not forced to buy coverage. The Hill reported that the idea behind Bera’s proposal is that people are more likely to sign up for coverage if the default is to be signed up and they need to actively opt out of coverage.