Daily Rounds: Latest Prenatal Gene Testing; Embracing RomneyCare; Immigration Status Worries; Fixing The Surgery Gap

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Clinical Trial Is Favorable For Prenatal Gene Test (The New York Times) — "A new method of prenatal testing that can detect more genetic problems in a fetus than ever before could be headed toward wider use after encouraging results from a clinical trial, researchers said. The study, which is expected to be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal soon, found that the new technique, microarray, surpassed standard testing in detecting chromosomal abnormalities that can cause problems like autism or mental retardation."

Romney Spokesperson Cites Massachusetts Health Law (Politico) — 'Bill Burton, a strategist for Priorities USA, said he’s as “stunned as anyone that [Saul] would invoke Romney’s support for individual mandates, particularly in a state that wasn’t Massachusetts.” “They’re clearly sputtering in response to very painful stories from workers who lost their jobs, their health care and their pension benefits,” Burton said.'

U.S. Health Reform May Expose Immigration Status Of Millions (Reuters) — "She and other illegal immigrants worry that their ability to access healthcare at facilities like La Clinica will become even more risky once President Barack Obama's healthcare law takes effect. The reform requires all U.S. citizens and permanent residents to obtain health insurance, either through the government-run Medicaid program for the poor or by purchasing private insurance via state exchanges starting in 2014. It also bars undocumented immigrants from participating. As more low-income citizens receive insurance, the fear is that many of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants will be easier to identify just because they lack coverage. "It's my 3 a.m. nightmare," said Alicia Wilson, La Clinica's executive director. "While we do not collect information about the immigration status of our patients, the fact that they will be uninsured could be taken as 'code' for also being undocumented."

Repairing The Surgery Deficit (The New York Times) — "Across Africa, countless people die or become disabled because they cannot obtain necessary surgeries. It is conservatively estimated that 56 million people in sub-Saharan Africa — over twice the number living with H.I.V./AIDS — need a surgery today. Some need cesarean sections or hernia repairs, while others require cataract surgery or treatment for physical trauma....Many African countries, including Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Ethiopia, have recognized the need for a more creative solution. Instead of finding ways to lure surgeons to rural areas, these countries have started experimenting with “task shifting” — that is, training non-physicians to do the basic work of surgeons."

This program aired on August 9, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.