KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Biden Health Agenda

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President Joe Biden wasted no time getting down to work. Among the raft of executive orders he signed on Inauguration Day were several aimed at curtailing the covid crisis, including one requiring mask-wearing by federal employees and anyone on federal property for the next 100 days.

Meanwhile, with the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of two new Democratic senators from Georgia, Democrats took over the majority in the Senate, albeit with a 50-50 tie. That leaves Democrats in charge of both the legislative and executive branches for the first time since 2010, but with such narrow majorities it could be difficult to advance many of Biden’s top health agenda items, starting with an expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of KHN, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Tami Luhby … Read more

Vaccine experts defend UK decision to delay second Pfizer Covid jab

Medics told they risk undermining public confidence by querying policy of three-month gap between doses

Leading vaccine experts have backed the government’s decision to delay the second dose for up to three months, after doctors warned that the strategy was proving “ever-more difficult to justify”.

The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents doctors, has suggested that the UK has become “increasingly isolated internationally” by deciding that the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine can be delayed, and called for a maximum delay of six weeks. However, several prominent scientists backed the government’s plan to maximise the number of people receiving their first dose.

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Covid Vaccine Rollout Leaves Most Older Adults Confused Where to Get Shots

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Over a month into a massive vaccination program, most older Americans report they don’t know where or when they can get inoculated for covid-19, according to a poll released Friday.

Nearly 6 in 10 people 65 and older who have not yet gotten a shot said they don’t have enough information about how to get vaccinated, according to the KFF survey. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

Older Americans are not the only ones in the dark about  the inoculation process. About 55% of essential workers —designated by public health officials as being near the front of the line for vaccinations — also don’t know when they can get the shots, the survey found. Surprisingly, 21% of health workers said they are unsure about when they will get vaccinated.

Black and Hispanic adults, as well as those in … Read more

Need surgery? Should you avoid your surgeon’s birthday?

If you need surgery, it should reassure you to know that researchers have been studying factors that predict surgical success or failure for years. Some of the most important findings have been ones you might expect.

For example, studies have found that hospitals and medical centers that perform a lot of hip and knee replacements tend to have lower complication rates than those performing fewer operations. As a result, there is a trend for people needing these surgeries to have them performed at high-volume centers. Similarly, surgeons who frequently perform hip or knee replacement surgery tend to have better results than those who perform them rarely. Studies like these have been published for a number of other operations and conditions.

Less obvious factors to consider in scheduling surgeries

It might surprise you to learn that less obvious factors have also been studied. For example, researchers have examined whether

  • surgical outcomes
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'We have to act': Biden says government has 'moral obligation' to provide economic relief – live

10.23pm GMT

Hello there, it’s Maanvi Singh – I’ll be bringing you live updates through the next few hours.

First up, here’s the US Embassy in London’s response to tabloid controversy over Biden’s Oval Office makeover – which included the removal of a Winston Churchill busy.

We’ve seen some discussion about the Churchill Bust, so we just wanted to remind everyone what the Special Relationship is truly about

10.02pm GMT

Between 100 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington, DC, to provide security for Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a US official said on … Read more