We’ve been reporting on “spice” for months, as the popularity of the synthetic marijuana has continued to rise. Now public health officials in the Northwest are raising concerns that spice has been linked to a series of kidney failure cases in the region.
The synthetic marijuana is sold under several street names including "spice" and "K2." It's made of a variety of plant material that's sprayed with a chemical meant to mimic the active substance in marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is banned under state and federal law.
Two Idaho medical facilities received the steroid injections believed to be responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak. Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with the illness and five people have died. No one in Idaho has reported getting sick.
Between 97,000 and 111,000 additional Idahoans would be eligible for Medicaid if the state chooses to expand eligibility. But where would those people come from? Close to half would migrate from four other state programs already in place to help low-income residents with medical needs.
Who will be eligible for Medicaid if Idaho expands its program under the Affordable Care Act? That’s the question lawmakers asked Monday of state Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong. He’s part of a 15 member panel studying the option.
Armstrong says the panel has gathered a lot of information so far. But he says the federal government has not set some of the guidelines that will determine who would get to sign up for the expanded plan. That means officials are left to guess how many residents would eligible.
Idaho’s largest hospital is teaming up with a Utah company to provide in-house insurance. St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth are forming what the companies call a strategic partnership. The hope is that by having the provider and insurer work together they can reduce costs and improve health outcomes.
West Nile cases are on the rise in Idaho. The state now has eight human cases of West Nile and five additional reports of the mosquito-borne illness are under investigation.
Niki Forbing-Orr with Idaho’s Health and Welfare Department says the state is doing better than other states, like Texas. “So far the CDC is reporting 888 human cases there. All 48 states of the mainland United States have reported west nile activity and nationally 87 people have died," she says. "We’ve not had any deaths in Idaho yet, so we’re crossing our fingers that we don’t.”
As Democrats gather in North Carolina for their convention, there’s new research from the Northwest on the power of partisan rhetoric. Turns out, your core political beliefs can trump your education level when it comes to understanding the basic facts of a high contentious issue.
The Affordable Care Act. ObamaCare. Whatever you call it, it’s provided countless hours of fodder to the cable television networks.
From Glen Beck on Fox News: “You don’t play ball with them now. If you don’t get into their government health care there will be jail time.