The suicide rate from 1999 to 2014 increased by 24 percent, from 10.5 per 100,000 to 13 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. That represents an increase of 1 to 2 percent per year, affecting almost every state and demographic.Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The deaths represent on average 113 suicides per day and more than 41,100 lives each year, at a cost to the U.S. economy of more than $51 billion dollars annually in lost work and medical costs.

Gov. Matt Bevin, elected in November 2015 and who had pledged during his campaign to eliminate Medicaid expansion which brought health coverage to 400,000 previously uninsured individuals, announced yesterday his plan to transform Kentucky’s Medicaid system through an 1115 waiver. The new waiver will cover almost all the Medicaid enrollees eligible under the pre-expansion rules as well as all the newly eligible under the expansion rules.

Bevin said his plan is an opportunity “to come up with what is going to be truly a transformative and sustainable and fantastic program,” according The Courier-Journal coverage of the press conference. He pledged to both save money—$2.2 billion in combined state and federal funding over the next five years—and reduce the number of Medicaid enrollees—86,000 people by 2021 by moving them to private insurance.  

Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes and texting is one of the most common distractions. State leaders have taken action In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Nine years later, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed bans.

In June, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month is celebrated around the world.

Four years after the Older Americans Act expired, the bill was reauthorized by Congress and on April 16, 2016, signed into law once again by President Obama.

In the last month, legislation to eliminate the so-called “tampon tax” has been passed in New York, Connecticut and Illinois. The push to exempt tampons, pads, and other feminine hygiene products from state sales taxes has come amid criticism that the tax unfairly affects women. Supporters argue that menstrual products should be treated like other medical necessities, which are currently tax exempt in most states.

According to two recent studies, states that chose to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act have experienced budget savings, revenue gains, and stronger hospitals as a result.

On June 2, 2016, Alaska became the 11th state to limit the sale of cough and cold medicines containing dextromethorphan to consumers age 18 and older. Found in common over-the-counter drugs like Robitussin and NyQuil, dextromethorphan is abused in the highest rates by children aged 12-17.

Suicide rates are climbing in the United States—a recent study showed the age-adjusted rate increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014—and suicide is among the leading causes of death for young people. Many state leaders are working to end the suicide trend by adopting training requirements for schoolteachers.

On June 3, 2016, Gov. Kasich of Ohio signed into law a bill to allow bystanders to break into hot cars with unattended children or pets. Some states already have on the books one or more of three types of laws addressing this issue. Twenty states have laws to specifically address the issue of unattended children in cars, outside of any child neglect and abuse laws that would address endangering a child's welfare. Sixteen states have "good samaritan" laws that protect individuals from civil liability if they provide assistance in...

The Zika epidemic has received extensive international attention since the current outbreak was first confirmed in Brazil in May 2015. Since then, active Zika transmissions have been documented in more than 30 countries across much of the Americas region, with the number of confirmed infections expected to grow in the months ahead. Leading health officials have warned that large swathes of the United States, particularly across much of the South, will be at risk of localized Zika outbreaks as temperatures rise through the summer.

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