Today’s news updates cover the oil spill, health care costs for employers rising, future of democrats due to health care reform and more.
BP Outlines Plan to Speed Up Oil Containment
As President Obama took his fourth trip to the Gulf Coast to survey oil spill damage, BP outlined a plan it said would speed up the containment effort so that more than 50,000 barrels a day can be pumped to the surface by the end of June.
The outline came after the Coast Guard on Friday demanded the company figure out ways to accelerate the process. The cap on the blown-out well is said to be capturing about 15,000 barrels a day — but plenty more is still leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.
Study: Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Cancer
A drug commonly used to treat blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes-related kidney damage, was linked to a “modest” increased risk of cancer in a study published Monday.
The Lancet Oncology journal’s research on the use of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) found 7.2 percent of patients who took ARBs were given a new cancer diagnosis, compared to 6 percent of patients not treated with ARBs, over the same four-year period.
The U.S. study described the results as showing “ARBs are associated with a modestly increased risk of new cancer diagnosis,” and said the findings warrant further investigation.
Of the specific solid organ cancers examined, only instances of lung cancer were significantly higher in the patients assigned ARBs.
For the analysis, scientists used publicly available data from ARB studies conducted before November 2009 and fresh data on 61,590 new cancer patients and 93,515 cancer death victims.
Report: Employers to see 2011 medical costs jump
INDIANAPOLIS — Companies that offer employee health insurance expect another steep jump in medical costs next year, and more will ask workers to share a bigger chunk of the expense, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report.
For the first time, most of the American workforce is expected to have health insurance deductibles of $400 or more, the consulting firm said in a report released to The Associated Press.
Deductibles are the annual amount a patient pays out of pocket for care before insurance coverage starts. They are generally separate from co-payments and coinsurance.
New Health Reform Campaign Puts Dem Candidates in a Tough Spot
Only a few months after the heated battles on Capitol Hill, it must have been quite a relief for President Obama to turn his focus to health care reform, however briefly, last week. After being pummeled by Republicans and cable talking heads over his response to the Gulf oil spill, spending a full hour talking to seniors about Medicare had to feel positively relaxing.
The town-hall meeting held June 8 included audiences in 100 locations across the country, connected via conference call to a senior center in Maryland where Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius fielded questions about how the new health care law will affect their benefits.