health

The Tennessee General Assembly goes into session early next month. In this edition of HealthConnections, Dr. Carole Myers is joined by physician and State Senator Richard Briggs. Together, they discuss some of the big health issues facing Tennesseeans, including vaping and opioid addiction.

A pioneering study carried out in 1998 demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can contribute to mental and physical problems not just in childhood, but well into adulthood. Subsequent studies have reinforced those findings. It's estimated 60 percent of American adults have been affected by ACEs, and those effects can include obesity, heart disease, alcoholism and drug use.

Knox County helps local health care providers absorb the costs of treating 1,100 of the county's poorest residents. The indigent care program was adopted about three decades ago. The program's budget reached a high-water mark in 2007 and has been pared back since. This spring, Knox County's health department asked for a funding boost (to $4.5 million - a $200,000 increase). County mayor Glenn Jacobs had different plans.

Obesity rates in Tennessee are high - higher than national averages, in fact. And that extends to demographic breakdowns, too. One in three men in Tennessee is considered obese. The same is true for women. Tennessee children are considered the heaviest in the nation.

Describing the parameters of the problem is a start, but not the solution. The University of Tennessee's Dr. Carole Myers says addressing obesity requires multiple steps and multiple players, from individuals, to social groups, to companies, and even governments.

Nine years after the Affordable Care Act got Americans thinking more deeply about health care, insurance and related topics, Democratic presidential candidates are talking about even more change. A group of proposals commonly grouped under the heading "Medicare for All" propose major changes for the healthcare industry, a significant chunk of the U.S. economy.

Brandon Hollingsworth, WUOT News

Efforts to improve the health of the 6.6 million people who call Tennessee home have been successful, but people who study and analyze health and well-being say much more needs to be done.

The Governor's Foundation for Health and Wellness kicked off a six-city presentation tour in Knoxville on Tuesday. The bottom line, as outlined by foundation chair Rick Johnson, is that a focus on personal habits - such as exercise, diet and tobacco use - has moved the needle in a positive direction since 2013, but more substantial change will require a bigger, longer-term effort.

Two weeks ago, we explored questions about the present and future of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. In this edition of HealthConnections, we continue the conversation with a focus on Medicare.

Dr. Carole Myers examines the funding and future of Medicare, and outlines potential budget cuts that have been proposed.