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Health Highlights: Oct. 15, 2018

Last Updated: October 15, 2018.

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

Poor People More Often Forgo Medical Care in States That Haven't Expanded Medicaid

Doing without medical care is much more common among poor residents of states that haven't expanded Medicaid than among poor people in other states, a Government Accountability Office report says.

The nonpartisan agency analyzed federal survey data from 2016, focusing on low-income adults ages 19-64, the Associated Press reported.

Nearly 20 percent of poor people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they did without needed medical care in the past 12 months because they couldn't afford it, compared to 9.4 percent in states that expanded the program.

About 8 percent of low-income people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they either skipped doses of medicine or took less medicine than prescribed in order to save money, compared to about 5 percent in states that expanded Medicaid, the AP reported, the AP reported.

About 22 percent of poor people in states that did not expand Medicaid said they could not afford needed dental care, compared to 15 percent of those in expansion states.

About 11 percent of those in non-expansion states said they needed to see a specialist but couldn't afford it, compared to about 6 percent of those in expansion states, the AP reported.

Seventeen states have not expanded Medicaid, and expansion is an election issue in several states.

In Idaho, Nebraska and Utah, voters will decide whether their states should expand Medicaid, people in Montana will vote on maintaining that state's expansion, and expansion is an issue in gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin, which have not expanded Medicaid, the AP reported.

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Resistance From Residents Hampering Efforts to Contain Congo Ebola Outbreak

Attempts to thwart safe burials of Ebola victims in the Congo are among the types of opposition from local residents making it difficult for health officials to contain an outbreak of the deadly infectious disease in the far northeast of the country.

Experts say the rate of new Ebola cases has more than doubled since the start of the month, the Associated Press reported.

So far, there have been 95 deaths among the 172 confirmed Ebola cases in the outbreak, according to Congo's health ministry.

Along with families' resisting measures to ensure the safe burials of victims, residents have attacked health teams and people suspected to have had contact with infected patients have tried to slip away, the AP reported.

This is the first time Ebola has appeared in this part of the country and resistance to containment efforts has been greatest in Beni, where many of the new cases are occurring.

Since Aug. 1, Ebola control efforts in Beni have been suspended twice since the outbreak was declared on Aug. 1, the AP reported.

In Beni, residents explain that this is their first experience with Ebola and with strangers telling them how to say goodbye to loved ones killed by the disease.

"Until now we didn't know enough about Ebola and we felt marginalized when Red Cross agents came in and took the corpse and buried it without family members playing a role," Beni resident Patrick Kyana told the AP.

"It's very difficult. Imagine that your son dies and someone refuses to let you assist in his burial. In Africa we respect death greatly," Kyana explained.


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