NIH Launches Dietary Supplement Label Database

(NIH) - 6/26/2013 - Researchers, as well as health care providers and consumers, can now see the ingredients listed on the labels of about 17,000 dietary supplements by looking them up on a website. The Dietary Supplement Label Database, free of charge and hosted by the National Institutes of Health, is available at www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov.
   The Dietary Supplement Label Database provides product information in one place that can be searched and organized as desired. "This database will be of great value to many diverse groups of people, including nutrition researchers, healthcare providers, consumers, and others," said Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., director of the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). “For example, research scientists might use the Dietary Supplement Label Database to determine total nutrient intakes from food and supplements in populations they study."
   For consumers, the My Dietary Supplements (MyDS) app from ODS is available at https://myds.nih.gov. The app is an easy way to keep track of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other products you take, and has science-based, reliable information on dietary supplements.
   Dietary supplements, taken regularly by about half of U.S. adults, can add significant amounts of nutrients and other ingredients to the diet. Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and more. They come in many different forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders, as well as liquids and energy bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and E; minerals like calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and specialty products like glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.
   By law, any product labeled as a dietary supplement must carry a Supplement Facts panel that list its contents and other added ingredients (such as fillers, binders, and flavorings). The Dietary Supplement Label Database includes this information and much more — such as directions for use, health-related claims, and any cautions — from the label.
   The Dietary Supplement Label Database offers these features:
   Quick Search: Search for any ingredient or specific text on a label.
   Search for Dietary Ingredients: An alphabetical list of ingredients is also provided.
   Search for Specific Products: An alphabetical list of products is also provided.
   Browse Contact Information: Search by supplement manufacturer or distributor.
   Advanced Search: Provides options for expanding a search by using a combination of search options including dietary ingredient, product/brand name, health-related claims, and label statements.
   Hundreds of new dietary supplements are added to the marketplace each year, while some are removed. Product formulations are frequently adjusted, as is information on labels. “The Dietary Supplement Label Database will be updated regularly to incorporate most of the more than 55,000 dietary supplement products in the U.S. marketplace,” said Steven Phillips, M.D., director of the National Library of Medicine’s Division of Specialized Information Services.
   The Dietary Supplement Label Database is the result of collaboration between ODS and NLM, with input from federal stakeholders who participate in a federal working group on dietary supplements. These include representatives from most NIH institutes and centers, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Administration for Community Living, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Trade Commission, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institute of Standards of Technology, and Department of Agriculture.
   The Office of Dietary Supplements, ODS http://ods.od.nih.gov, seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.
   The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world's largest library of the health sciences, and collects, organizes, and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals, and the public.
   Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov.

HHS: Consumers saved $3.9 billion on premiums

   (HHS) - 6/20/2013 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on June 20 that nationwide, 77.8 million consumers saved $3.4 billion up front on their premiums as insurance companies operated more efficiently. Additionally, consumers nationwide will save $500 million in rebates, with 8.5 million enrollees due to receive an average rebate of around $100 per family.
   The report includes the 2012 health insurer data required under the Affordable Care Act’s Medical Loss Ratio, or “80/20 rule.” The report shows that, compared to 2011, more insurers are meeting this standard and spending more of their premium dollars directly toward patient care and quality, and not red tape and bonuses.
   Created through the Affordable Care Act, the rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every premium dollar on patient care and quality improvement. If they spend a higher amount on other expenses like profits and red tape, they owe rebates back to consumers. For many consumers, the report found that the law motivated their plans to lower prices or improve their coverage to meet the standard. This new standard and other Affordable Care Act policies contributed to consumers saving approximately $3.9 billion on premiums in 2012, for a total of $5 billion in savings since the program’s inception.
   “The health care law is providing consumers value for their premium dollars and ensuring the money they pay every month to insurance companies goes toward patient care,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “Thanks to the law, 8.5 million Americans will receive $500 million back in their pockets and purses.”
   If an insurer did not spend enough premium dollars on patient care and quality improvement, rebates will be paid in one of the following ways: a rebate check in the mail; a lump-sum reimbursement to the same account that they used to pay the premium if by credit card or debit card; a reduction in their future premiums; or their employer providing one of the above, or applying the rebate in another manner that benefits its employees, such as more generous benefits.
   Insurance companies that do not meet the standard will send consumers a notice informing them of this new rule. The notice will also let consumers know how much the insurer did or did not spend on patient care or quality improvement, and how much of that difference will be returned as a rebate.
   The 80/20 rule, along with the required review of proposed double-digit premium increases, works to stabilize and moderate premium rates. And, with the new market reforms, including the guaranteed availability protections and prohibition of the use of factors such as health status, medical history, gender and industry of employment to set premiums rates, this policy helps ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health insurance.
   To access the report, visit: http://www.cms.gov/cciio/Resources/Forms-Reports-and-Other-Resources/index.html#Medical Loss Ratio
   For more information on MLR, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/11/medical-loss-ratio.html
   Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Arms Debate

Not All American's Have the Right to Bear Arms

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