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What are the implications of King vs. Burwell?

Photo credit: Kaiser Health News

Note: This post was written by Jean Abraham, Ph.D., and Lynn Blewett, Ph.D.

On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of King vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court’s decision on this case will have significant implications for the capacity of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reduce the number of uninsured persons in the United States. In this brief we provide an overview of the potential impact of this case on the implementation of the ACA.

Background: The ACA’s Coverage Expansion Mechanisms

The ACA expanded access to health insurance coverage through two primary mechanisms. The first mechanism is an expansion of the Medicaid program through the extension of eligibility to individuals with modified adjusted gross income up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (approximately $33,465 for a family of four). The primary beneficiaries of this expansion are low-income childless adults, as Medicaid eligibility for adults historically has been tied to parental status except at the lowest income levels. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid, and 30 states, including the District of Columbia, have done so to date.

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5 Health Tips for Women

Photo: David Lee

Carrie Ann Terrell, M.D., is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, specializing in women’s health at the University of Minnesota. Terrell sees patients at the Fibroid Clinic, Women’s Health Specialists Clinic and Leo Fung Center for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) and Disorders of Sex Development (DSD).

With women’s health week wrapping up, Health Talk wants to remind you that it is never too late to start reaching your health and fitness goals. I’ve compiled 5 tips to help you reach those goals.

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Preventing Colon Cancer in African Americans with Earlier Screening

UMN researchers survey fair goers at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair

In observance of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, HealthTalk is featuring a University of Minnesota researcher working to reduce the harm caused by colon cancer in the African American community.

Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women in the United States, but African Americans bear the greatest burden. This is why one University of Minnesota researcher is calling for lowering the age at which African Americans have a routine colonoscopy.

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Report maps complex challenges to Ebola vaccine efforts


As experimental Ebola vaccines start to head toward large clinical trials in Africa, a report released today by academic experts and a British charitable foundation spelled out the complexity of the challenges involved in providing a vaccine to help stop West Africa’s sprawling epidemic.

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I got my flu shot today and here’s why you should, too

Today I did something that could help safeguard my community from getting a potentially deadly infectious disease. Before you begin to think I did something heroic, I did something so simple it may surprise you (sans the title of this blog post): I got my flu shot.

Yes, it’s that simple folks. I got my flu shot. It took less than 30 seconds and the pain involved from the flu shot was far less than the pain involved in getting the actual flu.

I’ve heard many excuses or explanations as to why people choose not to get a flu shot, and many are rooted in myth, not fact. Health Talk even debunked many common flu shot myths in a blog post in 2013.

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E. coli in our lakes: What does it really mean?

Image courtesy Death to the Stock Photo

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the personal blog of University of Minnesota associate professor of biosciences Timothy Johnson, Ph.D.
Johnson’s research at the U of M College of Veterinary Medicine includes investigations into antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, microbial communities in the animal gastrointestinal tract, and multidrug resistance of E. coli and Salmonella in both humans and animals.

If you follow the local news, or have children that love swimming, you have probably noticed an increasing number of beaches in Minnesota closed recently due to high E. coli levels. Just in Minneapolis, Lake Hiawatha Beach and Lake Calhoun’s Thomas and 32nd Street beaches were recently closed in response to high E. coli counts in the water. The simple phrase “E. coli” strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who has ever experienced gastrointestinal distress. However, it is important to understand what E. coli actually is and what “high E. coli levels” actually means to our lakes.

What is E. coliE. coli stands for Escherichia coli. This is the formal name for a species of bacteria in honor of the German-Austrian physician Theodor Escherich, who first identified the bacteria associated with digestion in infants. Here are the important take-home messages about E. coli:

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