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Experts Preview the Health Care Showdown at the Supreme Court — This Week on Sound Medicine

March 23, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS -- Health policy and ethics experts discuss the Affordable Care Act, soon to face a U.S. Supreme Court challenge for its controversial “individual mandate” provision.

The fate of the individual mandate. The Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments this week about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in 2010. The court is expected to rule in late June or early July. On the show this week, Sound Medicine’s health policy expert Aaron Carroll, M.D., addresses the crux of the argument, the “individual mandate” — the requirement that each person buy health insurance, or pay a penalty. Dr. Carroll directs the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at the IU School of Medicine. He blogs on the politics of health care for the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Legal and moral views of the individual mandate. Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, offers both a legal and a moral examination of the issues facing the Supreme Court.  Dr. Caplan is a professor of bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. 

Vaccine recommendation for adults. A CDC vaccine advisory panel now urges adults 65 and older to receive the vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis — also known as TDAP. In the past few years, pertussis — or whooping cough — has cropped up in a number of cities around the country, and experts now recommend all adults over 19 receive a booster to prevent the spread of the disease. Sound Medicine’s Barbara Lewis learns about the importance of TDAP booster shots from March of Dimes Medical Director Alan Fleischman, M.D., and from South Bend, Ind., parents Katie and Craig Tornhout, who share their tragic experience with whooping cough.

The HPV vaccine, safe for girls and boys. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine be given to adolescent boys as well as girls. The vaccine was recommended for girls in 2006, as a way of preventing cervical cancer. The new recommendations were spurred in part by increasing evidence that the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing other cancers, as well as genital warts. This week, we hear from HPV vaccine expert Gregory Zimet, Ph.D., who stresses the safety record of the vaccine. Dr. Zimet is a professor of pediatrics and clinical psychology at the IU School of Medicine.

Doc Chat: alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. Recently, several studies have reported that women who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have an increased risk of breast cancer. One study, in the online journal Cancer, advised that teens with a family history of breast cancer not drink alcohol. Sound Medicine’s breast cancer expert, Kathy Miller, M.D., weighs in on those findings.

Book: Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. According to brain science, we really can get organized if we put our minds to it. Harvard University psychiatrist Paul Hammerness, M.D., and executive wellness coach Margaret Moore join Barbara Lewis to talk about ways people can harness brain power to be more efficient. Dr. Hammerness is assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard; Moore co-directs the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

In this week’s Checkup feature, why it might be unhealthy to consume shark fins. And in the Did You Know? segment, new research dispels the myth that sleeping problems increase as we age.

Sound Medicine is an award-winning radio program co-produced by the Indiana University School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM). Sound Medicine is underwritten by Indiana University Health Physicians and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
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