In today?s news, the White House proposed a plan on Tuesday to strengthen a crucial Medicare trust fund by increasing taxes on individuals making more than $400,000 annually and allowing Medicare to bargain for lower prescription prices. According to new Penn State research, users may be more inclined to engage in physical activity when fitness-tracking smartwatches push wearers to track their own activity rather than only providing step counts and activity tracking. A new study cautions that young persons in the United States are more likely to experience a heart attack or stroke as they become older due to a rising burden of heart health risk factors.
Biden proposes Medicare financial solution
Original Source: Biden releases plan to address looming Medicare funding crisis
On Tuesday, the White House proposed boosting taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 and enabling Medicare to negotiate medication pricing.
Medicare, which covers 65 million seniors and disabled individuals, is broke. According to its trustees’ latest prediction, Part A, its hospital insurance trust fund, won’t be able to fully pay planned benefits until 2028.
President Joe Biden’s proposal to extend Medicare’s solvency by 25 years or more is projected to fail in the Republican-controlled House, which opposes tax hikes.
In his State of the Union address last month, the president pledged to extend Medicare’s trust fund by at least two decades. His 2024 budget proposal, due Thursday, will include the changes. As the two sides argue over the debt ceiling, Biden has pledged to safeguard Medicare and Social Security, accusing House Republicans of wanting to reduce them.
This week’s proposal will keep Medicare sustainable until 2050 without lowering benefits. In reality, we can obtain better value, making sure Americans receive better treatment for the money they pay into Medicare,? Biden wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times on Tuesday.
According to a White House fact sheet, the plan would raise the net investment income tax on earned and unearned income beyond $400,000 to 5% from 3.8%. Owners of certain pass-through enterprises who include company income on their personal tax filings would also be liable to the levy.
The Affordable Care Act’s tax income would go to Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund.
According to the information sheet, it would build on the Inflation Reduction Act, which congressional Democrats approved this summer, by allowing Medicare to negotiate more prescription costs and sooner after their debut. It would also require commercial health insurers to pay Medicare rebates if drug makers raise prices faster than inflation.
The plan would limit Medicare enrollees’ out-of-pocket payments for generic hypertension and cholesterol medications to $2 per prescription each month.
It would also eliminate out-of-pocket expenditures for three visits each year and require Medicare parity for mental and physical health. Medicare would have to fund peer support workers, trained addiction counselors, and some digital platforms.
According to the fact sheet, letting Medicare negotiate prescription pricing will save beneficiaries billions.
The president’s approach ignores Social Security’s budget issues. Projections show its trust funds depleting in 12 years. Recipients would lose 20% or more of their benefits.
A smartwatch study claims that self-monitoring physical activity is important
By 2023, hundreds of millions of Fitbits and Apple Watches were sold to healthy people. These devices’ step counts and activity tracking help many users exercise more. According to Penn State research, on-screen cues may drive users to be more active than step counts and activity tracking.
In a new study published in Health Psychology, 58 physically inactive young adults wore fitness tracking smartwatches for three months and were given targets to raise their activity levels.
A unique wristwatch app gave participants zero to six prompts daily. Certain watches showed how many minutes they had been active in the last two hours. The watch sometimes asked the wearer how many minutes they had been active in the last two hours.
Prompts have varied effects. Reporting people’s activity did not promote physical activity. Nonetheless, prompts to report exercise increased daily steps by hundreds.
Participants pressed plus or minus symbols on the smartwatch to estimate their activity for five minutes. After answering, they clicked “Log it!” Whether or not study participants reported their activity honestly, the inquiry made them consider how active they were and could have been. According to researchers, wristwatch users self-monitored their active minutes to improve their behavior.
?For decades, experts have understood that getting people to self-monitor is the essential for any form of behavior change, from improving diet to boosting physical activity,? said David Conroy, Penn State professor of kinesiology and human development and family studies and study lead. Self-monitoring is difficult and time-consuming, however. For instance, how many minutes were you active yesterday?”
As wearable fitness trackers have become increasingly popular, they have delivered quick behavioral feedback in the form of calories burnt or steps done.
“That feedback has basically taken the place of effortful self-monitoring,” Conroy said. Yet, this research implies process self-monitoring is crucial.
The researchers found the optimal amount of self-monitoring reminders every day by adjusting the number of cues individuals received during the 10-hour trial. Steps increased with one self-monitoring cue, were higher with two, and peaked with three or four. Three self-monitoring cues increased step counts by 30%. Step counts dropped after five or more suggestions, demonstrating that prompting can be too much.
Although wearable devices frequently push step counts to users, step counts were unchanged for people who received behavioral feedback in the form of summaries of their activity over the past two hours, regardless of whether they received one, two, three, four, five, or the maximum six prompts per day.
Most interventionists exercised more. Before the trial, participants averaged 2,880 steps per day and none met US government standards of 150 minutes of moderate to strenuous physical exercise each week. Participants averaged below 50% of recommended activity. The average participant met the 150-minute weekly recommendation by study’s end. Participants walked approximately 5,000 steps each day, up 73%.
Conroy said the research team thinks reflecting on one’s actions keeps goals in mind. He claimed receiving information is passive. Yet, when a person needs to report what they accomplished in the last two hours, they reflect on what they did and did not do, which may encourage behavior changes throughout the day.
?What if thinking about and reporting your activity motivates behavior change better than all those notifications you get about your step count or active minutes?? Conroy stated. That’s wonderful since wearable technologies can readily make individuals think about their actions. These findings show that smartwatches and fitness trackers with simple cues could help individuals stay healthy.
If your smartwatch or activity tracker from the holidays hasn’t helped you reach your physical activity objectives yet, ask yourself: how active have I been? “But ask that three times a day,” Conroy added.
This research was conducted by Penn State PhD candidate Jingchuan Wu, Alexandra M. Lee, Deborah Brunke-Reese, and Constantino M. Lagoa, professor of electrical engineering.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute financed this study.
Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes Are Increasing in Young Americans
A new study warns that young Americans are increasingly at risk of heart attacks and strokes as they age.
According to a March 5 Journal of the American Medical Association study, more 20-44-year-olds are obese, diabetic, and have poorly regulated blood pressure than a decade before.
Researchers revealed that young Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than white young adults to have these risk factors.
?We’re witnessing a smoldering public health crisis,? said senior researcher Dr. Rishi Wadhera, division director of health policy and equality at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Smith Center for Outcomes Research in Boston.
?Early beginning of these risk factors is connected with a higher lifetime risk of heart disease and possibly life-threatening cardiovascular illnesses, such a heart attack or stroke,? Wadhera said. As the U.S. population ages, ?Our discovery that the burden of several cardiovascular risk factors is rising in young adults could have important public health implications.?
Norrina Allen, director of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Institute for Public Health and Medicine, said these young people’s health issues may be lowering US life expectancy.
Allen, who co-wrote the study’s editorial, stated, “It’s startling to me that this generation is the first that has a shorter life expectancy than we now do.” I think we can prioritize children and young adults’ health to reduce heart disease.
Wadhera and his colleagues studied over a decade of federal survey data on US health and diet for the study.
Obesity rates among 20-44-year-olds grew from 33% in 2009-2010 to 41% in 2017-2020. Diabetics increased from 3% to 4%.
High blood pressure rates grew from over 9% in 2009-2010 to almost 12% in 2017-2020, but many young persons with high blood pressure and diabetes aren’t treating them, Wadhera said.
Wadhera said high blood pressure and diabetes treatment rates were surprising low. ?Only 55% of young adults with hypertension and 1 in 2 with diabetes were taking blood pressure medications.?
Black and Latino adult trends troubled researchers.
Wadhera stated young Black adults had more than two times the national rate of high blood pressure and the greatest premature heart-related death rates.
Researchers found younger Black and Hispanic Americans had higher rates of diabetes and obesity.
Wadhera said high blood pressure rates in young Hispanic individuals quadrupled from 4% to nearly 11%.
Youth feel invincible
Experts blamed youth’s invincibility.
Dr. Jeffrey Berger, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, believes younger people don’t realize they’re at risk. ?You imagine you’re a little more like Superman or Superwoman, where nothing will hurt you.?
Allen said younger folks are less likely to get health insurance and frequent medical care because they feel invincible.
Allen stated, ?When you’re a young adult, I think heart disease or stroke and the results of those risk factors feels like a long way off, because most of those occurrences are happening later in life. ?Unfortunately, they are the age group with the lowest health care coverage, insurance coverage, and continuity of health care and having a primary care practitioner who will monitor and manage their risk factors is poor.?
Wadhera observed that many young folks are unaware of these risk factors because they don’t regularly consult a doctor.
?It’s hard to treat diabetes if you don’t realize you have it,? Wadhera said.
They believe socioeconomic inequalities explain Black and Hispanic adult differences.
?We know that income inequality and difficulty to get healthy food and inability to purchase drugs regularly plays a factor in how well we can prevent and control things like hypertension and diabetes,? Allen said. ?Unfortunately, even with those, control rates are very low.?
?Younger Black individuals are more likely to live in lower-income households that experience housing instability and food insecurity, as well as in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, which often have less green space for regular exercise and more exposure to environmental stressors like air pollution,? Wadhera said. ?Black people have trouble getting primary and preventative care.?
High cholesterol rates in young adults dropped from approximately 41% to 36%, according to the study.
Wadhera and colleagues believed this was due to the government’s ban on trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils in processed and fast meals.
Allen advised young folks to visit the doctor and assess their risk factors.
Allen advised knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight.
Berger advised those with risk factors like high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes to take medication and live healthily.
Berger suggested therapy. Lifestyle, proper food, and exercise are crucial. That reminds us how much work there is.?
?Any change is good,? Allen remarked. You can start by walking 20?30 minutes a day or cutting back on packaged snacks and sodas. Even little modifications can make a big difference.?
Wadhera presented these findings at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in New Orleans this week.
Summary of today?s physical health news
Overall, on Tuesday, the White House proposed boosting taxes on Americans earning more than $400,000 and enabling Medicare to negotiate medication pricing. According to a White House fact sheet, the plan would raise the net investment income tax on earned and unearned income beyond $400,000 to 5% from 3.8%. Owners of certain pass-through enterprises who include company income on their personal tax filings would also be liable to the levy. The plan would limit Medicare enrollees’ out-of-pocket payments for generic hypertension and cholesterol medications to $2 per monthly prescription.
Furthermore, to boost their levels of physical activity, many consumers rely on the step counts and activity tracking offered by fitness trackers. According to new Penn State research, when these devices ask wearers to self-monitor their activity through on-screen prompts rather of only providing step counts and activity tracking, users may be more inspired to engage in physical activity.
Finally, according to a research published March 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, there are more obese and diabetic persons aged 20 to 44 than there were ten years ago, and they are also more likely to have poorly regulated blood pressure. Researchers discovered that young Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than young White adults to experience these risk factors. According to experts, youth’s sense of invincibility contributes to the issue. By visiting a doctor and learning about their current health status, young individuals can start managing their risk factors.