Health Highlights: Jan. 11, 2018

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Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Eric Clapton Reveals Tinnitus Hearing Problem

Musician Eric Clapton revealed that he has a hearing problem but plans to continue working.

In an interview Tuesday on the U.K.’s BBC Radio 2, Clapton said he’s “going deaf.” He explained that he has tinnitus, a condition that is characterized by constant ringing in the ears and is often caused by loud noise, ABC News reported.

Along with his hearing problem, the 72-year-old also said he has nerve damage that can affect his ability to play guitar. “My hands just about work,” he said.

“I’m still going to work. [I’m] doing a few gigs. I’m going to do a show at [London’s] Hyde Park in July. The only thing I’m concerned with now is being in my 70s and being able to be proficient,” Clapton said, ABC News reported.

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More E. Coli Cases Reported in U.S. Outbreak

Seven more cases of E. coli illnesses bring to 24 the total number of cases in an outbreak affecting 15 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

There has been one death and nine people have been hospitalized, including two with kidney failure, CNN reported.

The CDC also said that cases have been reported in two more states, Maryland and New Jersey. Cases were previously reported in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

All of the people in the outbreak began feeling ill between Nov. 15 and Dec. 12, about the same time that an E. coli outbreak began in Canada. That outbreak, which Canadian health officials declared over on Wednesday, affected 42 people. One of them died.

Canadian health officials linked the outbreak to romaine lettuce. The outbreak in the U.S. involves the same E. coli strain as the outbreak in Canada, but American officials haven’t pinpointed the source of the U.S. outbreak, CNN reported.

“The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill,” the CDC said Wednesday.

The agency also said the U.S. outbreak may soon be over.

“Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale,” according to the CDC.

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Trump Policy Shift on Medicaid Work Requirement Could Affect Millions of People

Millions of low-income Americans could be affected by a major Trump administration policy change that would allow states to impose work requirements on people receiving Medicaid, the government-run health insurance program for the poor, disabled and other disadvantaged groups.

Medicaid covers more than 70 million people, or about 1 in 5 Americans. Many of them have jobs that don’t provide health insurance. Medicaid recipients don’t have to be employed to be in the program, but states can seek federal waivers to test new ways to manage Medicaid.

In a major policy shift, the Trump administration has told states what they should consider to obtain federal waivers for work requirements for “able-bodied” adults on Medicaid. While these waivers would be classified as “demonstration projects,” they would actually impose new work requirements, the Associated Press reported.

Ten states have applied for work or community involvement-related Medicaid waivers: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin.

The Trump administration plan is likely to face significant political opposition and even legal challenges, according to the AP.

“Medicaid needs to be more flexible so that states can best address the needs of this population,” Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

“It is a very major change in Medicaid that for the first time would allow people to be cut off for not meeting a work requirement, regardless of the hardship they may suffer,” Judy Solomon of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an advocacy group for the poor, told the AP.

Nearly 60 percent of Medicaid recipients either work full- or part-time, mainly in jobs that don’t provide health insurance, according to a study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Most jobless Medicare recipients say they’re unable to work due to reasons such as illness, caring for a family member or going to school. Some say Medicaid coverage has made it possible for them to get healthy enough to go back to work, the AP reported.

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