Susana Machado • January 12, 2018

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

It Takes Guts

A paper published Monday chronicled the travels of a capsule through five participants’ gastrointestinal systems. The capsule can track gas content, fiber content, and the time it took to move through the digestive system and relay this back to the researchers.

The measurements help the researchers analyze the microbiome of the gut. Though it sounds like the storyboard for a Magic School Bus episode, the actual plan for the capsule is to use it as a diagnostic for digestive disorders.

Testing Telehealth

The Department on Defense has expanded its telehealth services so active duty military have personnel, veterans, and their families have access to services by establishing a designated telehealth provider on its networks.

The DoD is hoping this will help mitigate their lack of ability to provide services remotely and address the healthcare needs of veterans and military family members who are not covered by VA services.

How Will Changes in Medicaid Affect Americans?

The Trump administration has granted states the ability to impose work requirements for those with Medicaid, a program which provide health insurance to low-income Americans, children, seniors, and people living with disabilities.

The new rule follows the logic that if you are “able-bodied,” but not working you should not be able to enroll in a free health care program  because you aren’t paying into the system that subsidizes it.

However, the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities found that many Medicaid dependents cannot work because they are primary care providers for sicker members of their family. No one quite know the effect this change could have on the 70 million people enrolled in the program.

Don’t Have a Cow

In a clinical trial, human antibodies to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were developed in, you guessed it, cows. Scientists in the U.S. believe these antibodies could be used to create a treatment for the viral infection.

The syndrome has a 35 percent fatality rate, with outbreaks occurring in waves since 2013. No other treatments or vaccines have been developed.

The Healthcare Industry is a Job Engine

Healthcare has surpassed manufacturing and retail to become the largest source of jobs in the U.S. One of the drivers of this boom is the aging American population. By 2025, 25 percent of the workforce will be over 55.

Another reason is healthcare is publicly supported. The government has spent a lot of money on program like Medicare and Medicaid. In addition, many manufacturing jobs have relocated to other countries since they offer cheaper labor, meaning they do employ as readily in the U.S.

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