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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The importance of an adequate paid parental leave policy was made clear for Reddit co-founder and venture capitalist Alexis Ohanian after he encountered struggles becoming a new parent.

"I wasn't fully appreciative of it, sadly, until I found myself preparing to take my leave," said Ohanian at the Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival earlier this week. He had told Reddit's vice president of people and culture, Katelin Holloway, that he had wanted to go through the process like any other employee.

 Then, Ohanian experienced a rough entry into fatherhood. His wife, tennis great Serena Williams, endured life-threatening complications while giving birth. She wrote about the experience candidly later on.

"It wasn't until seeing everything my wife went through — having Olympia nearly killed her," Ohanian said. "To think about going through that period, even with all of the resources that we have — the wealth that we have, the family support that we have — and it was such a traumatic period, and especially the months thereafter. I could not have imagined going through it with any less support, let alone knowing that I had 16 weeks of paid leave."

Ohanian also noted his privileged position in taking the leave. "I'm a founder," he said. "I'm not going to get fired."

Since then, he's been one of the most high-profile champions for paid parental leave. Even in Silicon Valley, where cushy worker benefits are the norm, it can be hard for men to fully commit to taking time off work, which he encourages on all fronts.

"It's fun. It's really valuable time you'll never get back," Ohanian said. "Some of the feedback I've gotten over the past couple years have been from the bro-iest bros!"

His campaign for paid family leave comes during the tightest job market in half a century, with unemployment rates at a 50-year low. As such, many companies are revamping their benefits — including family leave policies — and not only changing the time limits but also making them available to employees who had previously not been eligible

Earlier this week, the trendy salad chain sweetgreen announced its new family leave policy, adding to a growing movement by companies to sweeten deals for even hourly employees.

"At sweetgreen, mothers, fathers, adoptive parents, foster parents, and others with new additions to their families will now receive 5 months fully paid leave. This move is rare for our industry and we hope this creates a conversation for other companies to join," the company announced on Tuesday.

"We believe it is our responsibility to lead the way given the U.S. is one of the few countries that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents," the company said.

Here are some other companies leading the charge with their parental leave policies.


As of May 13, 2019: paid parental leave of up to three months after someone has been with the organization for two years, and paid leave of up to six months after five years of employment. The program applies to every full-time employee (defined as someone who works 24 hours or more per week).


Lyft provides 18 weeks fully paid time away as a new parent, regardless of gender. This can be flexible and broken up, but it's encouraged to take at least one week at a time. (A reminder that Lyft does not consider drivers employees so they are not eligible for family leave.)


All employees receive a period of at least 16 weeks paid time off at 100%. Birth parents are also covered 100% for any pregnancy and post-delivery leave in addition to their 16 weeks of bonding leave, which could be up to 17 additional weeks. There's an option to use four weeks of leave to create a flexible return to work schedule, such as every Monday or Friday.


Parental/maternal leave: 18 weeks for all full-time employees for a parental leave. (A reminder that Uber does not consider drivers employees so they are not eligible for family leave.)

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iStock/Srdjanns74(NEW YORK) -- As the temperature climbs this Memorial Day weekend, so does the danger lurking inside our own cars.

Hot car deaths reached a record level last year with at least 52 children killed, from California to Tennessee to Mississippi, according to national nonprofit

Just this Wednesday, a baby girl died when she was left for hours in a hot van outside her Florida day care, according to authorities. A co-owner of the day care was arrested on child neglect charges.

"We are all just beyond devastated," director Amber Rollins told ABC News after Wednesday's death.

Children's bodies heat up much faster than adults' do, according to the National Safety Council.

Children's internal organs begin to shut down once their core body temperature reaches 104 degrees -- and it takes very little time for a car to get too hot for children, according to a report published by the council last year.

On an 86-degree day, for example, it would take only about 10 minutes for the inside of a car to reach a dangerous 105 degrees, researchers said.

Rollins offers these tips for drivers:

  • Always keep cars locked even if you don't have children.
  • Always keep keys out of children's reach.
  • Place an item you can't start the day without in the backseat.
  • If a child goes missing, check the inside and trunk of all cars in the area immediately.
  • Teach children to honk the horn if they get stuck.

"If you see a child or animal alone in a car, do something," Rollins said. "If they are in distress, you need to get them out immediately and begin to cool them."

Her nonprofit,, is advocating for Congress to require rear occupant alarm technology in cars.

"We have to do more," Rollins said. "This cannot continue to happen week after week, year after year when the solution is right at our fingertips."

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kuppa_rock/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the weather warms up, more people are heading outside for both fun and exercise. But with warm weather comes a greater risk of heat-related illnesses, which is why it’s important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re practicing high-intensity activities, such as running.

Heat-related illness is more likely to affect people who are 65 years old and above, however, other age groups can also be affected. From 2001 to 2010, there were 28,000 heat-related hospitalizations in the United States, with the highest rates occurring in the Southeast and Midwest, according to the latest figures from the Environmental Protection Agency. From 1979 to 2014, over 9,000 people died from heat-related causes.

During that same time period, however, sports-related heat strokes more than doubled, with more deaths reported between 2005 and 2009 than any other five-year period in the preceding 30 years, according to a 2014 study.

The good news is these complications are preventable if you take the right precautions.

Here’s what you should know about heat-related illnesses and staying hydrated.

Why is hydration important?

Water is a fluid that’s necessary for carrying nutrients to our cells, preventing constipation and improving mental and physical performance.

It’s also essential for sweating, one of the main mechanisms the body uses to cool down. When we sweat, the heat that our bodies produce is transferred into the water within our bodies, which is then expelled as sweat. Without proper hydration, the body is unable to cool down properly. Dehydration can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heatstroke.

For the average person each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that women drink 2.7 liters of water (from all beverages and foods and men drink 3.7 liters).

What are some warning signs of dehydration?

Common symptoms include feeling light-headed, dizzy, nauseous or tired and having headaches. These are often the first signs of heat exhaustion. Urine is also a good way to determine your hydration levels — the lighter it is, the more hydrated you are. If it appears dark yellow or amber, then it’s more concentrated, and you’re most likely dehydrated.

If these symptoms become more severe, they can lead to shock, a condition where the body’s tissues are unable to maintain adequate blood flow.

What are some complications of dehydration?

When symptoms of dehydration become more severe, they can lead to major complications if left untreated. Dehydration occurs when the body has lost its stores of salt and water. If these stores aren’t replenished, painful, involuntary muscle spasms known as heat cramps can occur.

In cases of severe dehydration, a person can go into shock due to inadequate blood flow throughout the body’s tissues and muscle tissues can break down — a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This, in turn, can progress into life-threatening complications such as heat stroke, which occurs when the body overheats and sweating and other cooling mechanisms fail.

Is it possible to overhydrate?

Though rare, it is possible to drink water to the point that it’s dangerous. This is because too much water can lead to a low sodium level, known as “hyponatremia.”

Exercise-associated hyponatremia is the term used for people who have low blood sodium levels that occur during or immediately after strenuous exercise. Exercise-associated hyponatremia was noted in 13 percent of the 488 finishers who participated in the 2002 Boston Marathon, according to one study.

The biggest risk factor for the condition is drinking too much water too quickly — more than 1.5 liters per hour — which leads to fluid overload. Other risk factors, according to one review, included a longer race time — such as in marathons — a lower body mass index, and being a woman.

Despite sports drinks with added carbs or electrolytes providing sodium to those who drank them, a 2006 study found that they were still not effective at preventing exercise-associated hyponatremia in older, active adults ages 54 to 70.

How can I stay properly hydrated?

The American College of Sports Medicine has provided key tips for hydrating yourself before, during and after an intense workout. Here they are:

Before exercise:

· Hydrate. Drinking fluids with meals will help replace the ones you lose during exercise and reduce your risk of dehydration.

· Checking your daily weight can be a helpful tool to track fluid loss. Postexercise and day-to-day changes are likely from losing fluid.

· Consider drinking 16 to 20 fluid ounces four hours before you exercise, especially if your weight is on the lower end pre-exercise.

· Allow your body to recover after exercise for at least eight to 12 hours to help with fluid replacement.

During exercise:

· Drink to thirst. No more, no less.

· Drink no more than 0.8 liters of fluids per hour because anything more could put you at risk for hyponatremia.

· Adjust for the weather. Hotter temperatures mean more fluid loss, so you will need to drink more.

· Consider drinking something with 6% to 8% carbohydrates for longer events.

After exercise:

· Drink 16 to 24 fluid ounces for every pound lost relative to your pre-workout weight.

· After exercise, you should drink beverages with your meal.

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Stephen J. Cohen/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Almost a year after Olympic skier Bode Miller and his volleyball star wife lost their 19-month-old daughter in an accidental drowning in a neighbor's swimming pool, Morgan Miller is working to raise awareness about water safety.

In an Instagram post, Morgan Miller shared a PSA she made with another mother who lost a child to drowning. In it, they share details of what happened to their families and educate others on how to avoid the same fate.

Both mothers encouraged parents to make a water safety plan.

"Time is not on our side when it comes to water. And even though my daughter was resuscitated there was too much damage to her brain for her to survive," Morgan Miller said. "It takes seconds."

Emmy Miller was 19 months old when she died following a drowning accident in Orange County, Calif last June. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is responsible for more deaths among children ages 1-4 than any other cause except for birth defects, and children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. Furthermore, for children 1-4, most drownings occur in home swimming pools.

"With a holiday weekend quickly approaching, be vigilant, be aware and be a voice to spread awareness," Morgan Miller wrote on Instagram. Do not rely on the visual stimulation of water to trigger your awareness."

At the time of Emmy's death, Morgan Miller, 32, was pregnant with her third child, son Easton, who was born last October. (Bode Miller, 41, also has two children from previous relationships.)

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gilaxia/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Over 62,000 pounds of raw beef products shipped nationwide are being recalled due to possible E. coli contamination, just days before Memorial Day, one of the country’s biggest grilling holidays.

The beef products came from Aurora Packing Company in Aurora, Illinois, where they were packed on April 19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The products that are being recalled — cuts of meat that include skirt, brisket, short ribs and ribeye — are labeled with an establishment number of “EST. 788.”

The FSIS implored anyone with these beef products to throw them away or return them.

The contaminated meat was discovered during random sample testing by the FSIS.

Although there have been no confirmed reports of illness from eating the meat, the FSIS asked anyone who is concerned about an injury or illness to contact a health care provider.

E. coli is a bacteria often transmitted through contaminated food or water. The bacteria can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, with these symptoms normally appearing three to four days after exposure.

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Fourteen pregnant nurses from the oncology unit of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are pictured in an undated handout photo. (Courtesy Massachusetts General Hospital)(BOSTON) -- Over the past few months, 14 nurses have come into the office of Ellen Fitzgerald, director of nursing in an oncology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Each nurse has told Fitzgerald the same thing: "I am pregnant."

The 14 nurses in the unit, which treats leukemia and bone marrow patients, are all expecting between now and November. That is on top of four nurses in the unit who have already given birth this year.

While the prospect of planning for 18 maternity leaves at once may sound overwhelming, Fitzgerald said the seriousness of the illnesses they treat in their oncology unit puts it all in perspective.

“I don’t know that you can be anything but joyful about bringing life into the world,” Fitzgerald said. “We will take care of our patients and our nurses.”

Fitzgerald said she created a spreadsheet to track the nurses' schedules and that she plans to turn a room in the unit into a lactation room so that her nurses can pump peacefully.

For the pregnant nurses, all in their 30s, being pregnant at the same time has been a bonding experience for the already close coworkers.

“It’s a blessing because I feel so supported by my manager and colleagues who have become my close friends,” said Kathleen Chivers, who is due in September with a girl. “I feel so lucky.”

The nurses said they are supporting each other in ways big and small, from sharing advice to maternity clothes and staying stocked with snacks for whoever needs one at any moment.

“We do serious work but we have a lot of fun together and are very close,” said Sally Alexander, who is due in June. “We’re very supportive of each other on a day-to-day basis and now even more so when people may need a little help because they can’t walk as fast.”

Chelsey Johnson is expecting her first child — a boy — next month. She spoke for the first-time moms-to-be in the group who are relying on their coworkers for advice.

“Being pregnant is a really a wild ride and you don’t know what to expect and there’s been 13 other people to ask,” she said, describing the experience as “happy” and “reassuring.”

While it is easy to imagine there being a reason beyond coincidence for how groups of women like the ones at Massachussetts General get pregnant at the same time, doctors say there isn't one.

"More likely, I think it's people who are around the same age, going through the same thing and they see people getting pregnant and being able to handle it," Dr. Joanne Stone, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, told Good Morning America last month. "It's more of an atmospheric thing than there's any medical reason for it."

The nurses plan to take an average of 12 weeks maternity leave. Fitzgerald said that for the first time in her career she has over-hired for her unit.

"I will be over budget and the hospital supports that because we have to have coverage," she said. "It’s just causing smiles around here. We know we will absolutely get through this."

Another nurse, Caroline Arriggi, surprised the group further when she announced that she is pregnant with twins. She is already planning for a photo shoot in November with all 19 of the unit's babies.

The coworkers said they are also planning future play dates with their children. They also wouldn't be surprised if there are more pregnancy announcements to come.

When asked what the last due date is for the group of 14 pregnant nurses, they replied, "November," and then quickly added nearly in unison, "That we know of."

"A lot of us are in that core age bracket where people are having their first child or have one baby and are planning for another," Ariggi said. "I think Ellen [Fitzgerald] just has to get used to all these pregnancies all the time."

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fcafotodigital/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Seven dietary factors may increase the risk of cancer for American adults aged 20 and over, according to a new study published in the JNCI Cancer Spectrum medical journal.

The study, conducted by researchers at Tuft's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, found that in 2015 over 80,000 new cancer cases were associated with low whole-grain intake, low dairy intake, high intake of processed meats and red meat, low fruit and vegetable intake, and high intake of sugary beverages.

Those new cases represent approximately 5.2 percent of total cancer cases reported among U.S. adults in that year, similar to the percentage of cancer cases linked to alcohol consumption -- approximately 4 percent to 6 percent -- according to the researchers.

“Our findings underscore the opportunity to reduce cancer burden and disparities in the United States by improving food intake,” the study's lead author, Dr. Fang Fang Zhang, said in a statement.

While the study looked at national data for diet and cancer, that data is based on what people self-reported.

"It was a very interesting study," ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said Thursday on Good Morning America. "They based it on mathematical models, statistics, estimates, they crunched some numbers based on how people say they ate and the new cases of cancer in the United States."

"It’s not only about eating the wrong things, it’s about not eating enough of the right things," she added.

Low whole-grain intake was the dietary factor most strongly associated with a higher cancer risk, according to the study. Cancers most associated with diet were colorectal cancers, followed by cancer of the mouth and throat.

Researchers also found that diet was responsible for higher rates of cancers among racial minorities in the U.S., including African Americans and Latinos, compared to white people.

Ashton said that especially in regards to the study's finding about low whole-grain intake, people need to keep in mind that diets and eating are "not one size fits all."

"You have to find what works for you and there is a trade off, and a big one when you talk about low-carb diets," she said. "Because for a lot of people [on low-carb diets], they’re keeping their weight down, they’re preventing obesity and diabetes and heart disease and some types of cancer, so that can be a good thing.

"But, again, if you’re not eating grains and dairy and fruits and vegetables, you’re missing out, so again, moderation, holistic and do what works for you," said Ashton.

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Courtesy Chelsea Garcia(NEW YORK) -- Aubrey Garcia, a 7-year-old girl with spina bifida, is running straight into people’s hearts after completing her first track race.

Aubrey’s mom Chelsea Garcia learned that her daughter had a fluid sac on her spine and an enlarged ventricle in her brain when she received her 20-week ultrasound. When the doctor called the next day to tell her and her husband what they had found, the couple didn’t know how to take the news.

"I had never met anyone with the condition or read anything about it," Garcia said. "You never think you’re going to hear something bad about your child."

The day after Aubrey was born she received surgery to remove her spinal defect and insert a shunt to drain the extra spinal fluid into her abdomen. Despite the procedure, the effects of her condition still impact her.

Aubrey has no feeling from the knees down and has worn orthotics on her feet and ankles since she was 3 months old. When learning to walk, she had to teach herself using only her hip and thigh muscles. Because of this, she has relied on the help of mobile prone standers, walkers and therapy to help her walk the majority of her life. After years of hard work, Aubrey began to walk on her own at 6 years old.

"Sometimes I’ll suggest using a walker to get around if we’re going to Walmart or a big store like that, but she refuses," Garcia said. "She wants to do it all on her own."

Because of Aubrey’s strong will, it came as no surprise when she told her mom that she wanted to run track just like her older sisters.

"She’s very headstrong and she won’t be stopped from doing anything and she’s not fazed by learning how to do things differently," Garcia said. "She’s never acted like any of this was a problem. It’s just normal, this is her life. She’s never been less than happy."

Garcia entered Aubrey in the "Little Cardinal" track meet, a running competition the town puts on for kids once a year. After months of anticipation and practicing by running down the field with her friends at her sister’s track meets, Aubrey was ready for her big race.

Garcia stood with Aubrey by the starting line while her husband waited for her at the end of the lane. When the starting bell sounded, Garcia couldn’t help but get tears in her eyes.

"It’s just one of those moments you can’t help but cry because you thought these were things you were never going to get to see happen," Garcia said. "Yet it wasn’t surprising to see her out there running because that’s just how she is."

Aubrey stumbled before she got to the finish line, and although the other kids she competed against already finished, the crowd made it clear that she was first in their hearts.

"I couldn’t help but lose it when she began to stumble," Garcia said. "It was amazing to see how many people were clapping and rooting for her to finish."

Garcia said Aubrey was smiling from ear-to-ear when she finished the race. Although 50 meters may not have seemed long to the other kids, Aubrey conquered many hurdles to cross that finish line.

"My husband and I both told her how proud we were of her and how we were so amazed she made it," Garcia said. "To see her do something that you didn’t think she’d ever be able to do, it makes you think about all the other things she’s capable of."

Garcia says Aubrey definitely wants to run in the next track meet and is looking forward to participating in the Special Olympics when she’s old enough.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- You might think kids are sharing too much on social media, but in many cases it's parents who are doing it -- with kids complaining that their moms and dads are revealing way too much.

For 14-year-old Lillian Durben of Silverlake, Washington, her mom Kate Durben was posting photos of her without permission.

"To be honest, I was very upset," Lillian told ABC News' Good Morning America in a sit-down interview.

Mom Kate said that although she knew her daughter didn't want her to share certain pictures, she just couldn't resist.

"I justified it by saying, 'It's fine, it's a cute picture. Why wouldn't she want me to share it?,'" Kate told GMA. "She looked cute … but that isn't the issue, is it?"

"It really wasn't the picture I was upset about," Lillian explained. "Mostly it was just because I asked her not to post my photo. I just was hurt after I clearly didn't want her to."

Kate has since pulled down the photos that Lillian had asked her not to share.

Even celebrity moms have found themselves in hot water. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was recently scolded by her daughter Apple after posting a photo of her on Instagram.

"Mom, we have discussed this," Apple wrote in the comment section. "You may not post anything without my consent."

Jodi Gold, a child and adolescent psychologist who is the director of the Gold Center for Mind, Health and Wellness, said parents of middle schoolers and above should get consent from their children before posting.

"We're all on social media and all of our kids are on social media, so we're now going to have to navigate the parental-child relationship in the realm of social media," Gold told GMA.

Gold also warned that even if your kids are too young to care, you should still use discretion.

"The naked [baby] pictures in the bathroom are really cute, but will the 20- or 25-year-old children really appreciate them? Probably not," Gold said.

And it's not just photos. In April, an anonymous user who said he or she was in middle school vented on Reddit, "…my mom has posted literally every aspect of my life … If we get in a fight, she's on FB asking for advice. I feel like I have absolutely no privacy. I can't talk to my own mother for fear she'll post it on social media. I'm her child, not her dog."

Gold said it's important for parents to keep the dialogue open with their kids.

"It is very dangerous if you start posting about what's going on with you and your child, because you will shut down that dialogue immediately and you will lose your child's trust," said Gold.

"It's fine to vent to friends but there's appropriate places to vent, and social media is not the place," Gold added.

Kate Durben said she now sees that damage can be done if you don't respect your child's wishes.

"She's got her own image to manage," Kate said of her daughter.

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Adam Calaitzis/iStock(LAWRENCE, Mass.) -- More questions than answers remain in the mysterious death of a 13-year-old girl as investigators look into how she died at a Lawrence, Mass., emergency room this week.

Authorities have not released the name of the Amesbury, Mass., girl, but the family identified her as Chloe Ricard, reported ABC Boston affiliate WCVB.

The 13-year-old was brought to the Lawrence General Hospital emergency room at 4:47 p.m. Monday and was pronounced dead "shortly after arrival," the Essex District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

An autopsy was conducted Tuesday, but it's expected to "take some time before there is a ruling on the cause and manner of death," according to the district attorney's office.

Foul play has not been ruled out, district attorney's office spokeswoman Carrie Kimball told ABC News Wednesday.

Investigators are not disclosing how the teen arrived at the emergency room, citing the ongoing investigation, Kimball said.

She added, "The people who brought her made her identity known to the hospital."

Ricard's family said the teen had stayed with a friend on Sunday night.

"Who can do that? Who can take and just dump her?" Chloe's mother, Deborah Goldsmith-Dolan, told WCVB.

Chloe's stepfather, Brian Dolan, added, "I've been trying to piece it together, like trying to get a hold of her friends to see if I can find out what's going on, and no one is saying nothing to me."

No arrests have been made, the district attorney's office said, and the investigation is ongoing.

Brian Dolan called his stepdaughter "a great kid... she was bright."

"Just the wrong place with the wrong people," he told WCVB.

A spokesperson for Lawrence General Hospital tells ABC News, "Our hearts go out to the family in this situation. We're cooperating fully with the police in the investigation."

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DNY59/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Katie Porter while fighting through the pain of a burst appendix during campaigning and just weeks before election day in Irvine, Ca., texted her campaign manager that she needed to go to the hospital.

Even though there was an emergency room close by she asked to go to Hoag Hospital because she knew her health insurance would cover her since it was an in-network provider.

Six hours later she awoke from surgery to see the medical team around her in a panic.

They couldn’t get her temperature to drop or her blood pressure to rise and she would spend the next five days in the hospital recovering.

Roughly $55,000 worth of her hospital costs were covered by her Anthem Blue Cross insurance policy. However, a few days later, Porter said she received a roughly $3,000 bill from her surgeon. While the hospital she went to was in-network, the surgeon himself was not and her insurance company refused to pay.

“Apparently, to Anthem Blue Cross, $3,000 was too high a price to charge for saving my life,” Porter said in a Tuesday congressional hearing.

Rep. Porter’s surprise medical bill is a phenomenon that impacts 57 percent of American adults, according to a University of Chicago survey conducted last summer.

In the midst of a political showdown between Congress and the White House over issues ranging from subpoenas to immigration, lawmakers are currently considering bipartisan pieces of medical billing legislation that might ultimately make it to the president's desk. Two weeks ago, Trump announced his desire to see surprise medical billing legislation rolled out and within a week, Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate drafted bipartisan legislation to answer that request.

A number of 2020 presidential contenders have weighed in on this issue including Sen. Bernie Sanders whose re-launched Medicare-for-all proposal would provide government-run, Medicare-style health insurance for all Americans, outlaw most duplicative private insurance in the process and end copays, deductibles and surprise medical bills.

Several of his fellow 2020 presidential competitors have signed onto his bill in the past, including Senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing with lawmakers, medical experts and health care trade association leaders to address the problem of surprise medical bills.

“I know both sides of the isle of Congress are interested in finding a solution that protects patients,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said.

In the Senate, lawmakers unveiled the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act that would ban surprise medical billing for patients who visit an out-of-network provider in both emergency and non-emergency situations. The bill, which Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has been working on for nearly a year, would have patients pay the same cost as if they went to an in-network provider. However, under the legislation insurers and providers could appeal the payment amount to an independent arbitrator.

"Patients should be the reason for the care, not an excuse for the bill," Cassidy said in a statement. "This is a bipartisan solution ensuring patients are protected and don't receive surprise bills that are uncapped by anything but a sense of shame."

The No Surprises Act, which was drafted by the House Ways and Means Committee, is similar to Cassidy’s proposed legislation but leaves out the independent arbitration process which the White House has said it doesn’t support.

Reps. Joe Morelle, D-N.Y., and Van Taylor, R-Texas, released their own piece of bipartisan legislation that would give providers and plans 30 days to participate in negotiations about medical costs. If they do not come up with an agreement, then the insurer must pay the provider a temporary payment. Either party could dispute the temporary payment from arbitration.

“Americans are already struggling to afford the continually increasing cost of health care – they shouldn’t be blindsided by unexpected and hyper-inflated medical bills when they unexpectedly need to see out-of-network providers,” Taylor said. “Reducing out-of-pocket health care cost isn’t a partisan issue and I am proud to come together with Representative Morelle to introduce this commonsense proposal that will end surprise billing and give more certainty to our constituents."

According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 17-point margin say Trump’s handling of health care makes them more likely to oppose than support him for a second term.

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Kate Lord/New York University(NEW YORK) -- Frank Baez was a teenager when he started working as a janitor at New York University's Langone Tisch Hospital, cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms and hallways.

On Monday, Baez, now 29, graduated with a nursing degree from the same institution where he started as a janitor.

"I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU," said Baez, who moved to New York from the Dominican Republic with his mom at age 15. "Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished."

Baez got his first job in housekeeping at the hospital because he wanted a job that would help support his family.

Once he started working, he became intrigued with the medical field and applied for and got a job as a patient transporter, taking patients to and from their rooms for surgeries and tests.

He eventually left the job to finish his bachelor's degree at nearby Hunter College, becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college. But Baez said he always knew he wanted to return to where he started: NYU.

"While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized I wanted to be one of them," he said. "I learned how much they advocate for their patients and the passion they have for their job."

Baez was encouraged by the nurses he worked with to apply to NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He entered an accelerated program that allowed him to graduate with a nursing degree in just 15 months.

"Our program is extremely rigorous," said Natalya Pasklinsky, director of simulation learning at the college of nursing. "Frank didn’t just kind of make the program, barely getting through. He flew through it with flying colors."

Pasklinsky worked as a nurse in the same unit where Baez worked as a janitor while in high school. She saw him be promoted to patient transporter and remembers the thoughtful care he gave patients.

"The way he interacted with patients, to me showed a lot of compassion," she said. "In my mind, he’s a star. I think he's going to be a fantastic nurse."

Baez, who graduated with a 3.6 GPA, has already set his next goal of becoming a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit.

"I was never an A student. I just studied a lot and worked a lot," he said. "Of course there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself, that I deserved better, that I wanted to continue to move forward and grow and go on with my life."

"What I did was, I never gave up," Baez said.

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Courtesy Victoria Brady/Laura Rosenthal(NEW YORK) -- Being a mom is hard enough but being a mom who struggles with weight can be devastating.

For Victoria Brady, it was a pediatrician expressing concerns about her 1-year-old son’s weight that spurred her to make a change for herself too.

“I decided I was tired of failing and it was time to break the cycle of obesity in my family,” Brady said. “I wanted my sons to live a healthier lifestyle than I did so they wouldn’t have to endure what I did growing up overweight.”

Since that pediatrician appointment in June 2017, Brady, 31, a mother of two, has lost 125 pounds, dropping from a size 22 to a size 6.

For another mom, Laura Rosenthal, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, it was her 40th birthday that was all the motivation she needed to lose weight.

“I turned 40 and was very unhappy with my life,” she said. “I decided to get healthy so that I did not waste the next 40 years of my life feeling miserable.”

Rosenthal, mother of an 8-year-old daughter, joined Weight Watchers in December 2017 and has lost nearly 120 pounds.

Both Brady and Rosenthal are among the weight loss success stories featured in People magazine's annual 100-pound weight loss feature, available in the newest issue of People on newsstands this Friday.

Here is how Brady and Rosenthal said they lost the weight:

1. Creating healthier versions of comfort food

Rosenthal, now 41, said she grew up on a "meat and potatoes diet." She has found healthier ways to make the foods she loves, rather than subsisting on quinoa and kale.

When she makes tacos, Rosenthal now uses chicken instead of beef and salsa instead of sour cream. She uses fat-free cheese so she can still have tortilla chips on the side, but dips the chips in black beans instead of a cheese sauce.

"I make choices every day, like would I rather have beef in my spaghetti or a piece of garlic bread?," she said. "It allows me to still choose what I want the most and I never feel deprived."

Brady said she has also found ways to make her favorite dishes healthier, using low-carb tortillas to make pizza, for example, and making banana protein pancakes instead of the more indulgent option.

2. Having a cheat meal, not a cheat day

Rosenthal enjoys a "cheat meal" every Tuesday night, but keeps it to that versus an entire day of eating whatever she wants. She also tries to incorporate all foods into her diet to help avoid cravings.

"I personally don't believe in excluding anything from my diet, be it carbs, fat or whatever, so that's another reason Weight Watchers works for me," she said. "God put all those elements into food and it's about balance, not deprivation."

3. Fitting in exercise after diet

Both Rosenthal and Brady are now avid exercisers but they focused on their diets first.

Rosenthal lost 100 pounds before she started to really work out. She started out walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week on a treadmill at work, then added in three days per week of a circuit-training workout.

Brady also fit in exercise at work, participating in group fitness sessions at her job’s gym and walking four days per week. As she lost weight, she started "exploring more intense workouts" like high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting.

4. Staying committed

Brady admits there were days during her weight loss journey that she was "depressed and discouraged" but said she never let herself get defeated.

"For a while I believed that I would need weight loss surgery or that I would always be obese," she said. "However, this journey has taught me that nothing is impossible until God says it is."

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andipantz/iStock(NEW YORK) -- No longer relegated to health food stores, kombucha has made a big splash in the world of beverages.

The fermented tea drink can now be found on the shelves of grocery stores and even convenience stores.

Kombucha typically comes with a hefty price, usually $4 or more per 16-ounce bottle, and a lot of questions about what it actually is and whether it's health benefits are real.

There can also be confusion about what is actually in kombucha since ingredients and nutrition information, like grams of sugar, tend to vary by both type and brand.

ABC News' Good Morning America is here to help with kombucha confusion. We tapped two registered dietitians -- Heather Bauer and Maya Feller -- to answer the biggest questions surrounding kombucha.

What is in kombucha?

Kombucha is generally produced from a mixture of sugar, brewed tea (typically black) and symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or scoby.

Some kombucha drinks also have fruit juice added to them.

How is kombucha made?

The process of making kombucha starts with steeping tea leaves or tea bags in boiling water. The scoby plus a small portion of previously-fermented kombucha are then added to the sweetened tea.

That mixture is then placed into a jar, covered and left to ferment, usually for seven to 10 days. The kombucha is then ready to drink, either unflavored or juices, herbs or fruit can be added.

What are the health benefits of kombucha?

Kombucha is touted as doing everything from helping with weight loss to lowering blood pressure and helping to prevent cancer.

Research on the health benefits of kombucha though has been conducted mostly on animals, not humans, according to a 2019 review published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Kombucha does contain probiotics, live bacteria that are considered good for the body. Probiotics come in any type of food that is fermented, from yogurt to sauerkraut and kimchi.

Both Bauer and Feller recommend probiotics in a diet for overall gut health, but pointed out that they should come from a variety of foods, not just a drink like kombucha.

"If you’re looking for the nutrition benefits, I don’t counsel to get them solely through a drink," said Feller. "What really maintains healthy gut flora for the average person is paying attention to what you eat on a regular and consistent basis, having a good mix of prebiotics and probiotics and if there’s an unwanted change in your gut health, getting individualized attention from a qualified healthcare provider."

Does the sugar in kombucha matter?

The sugar in kombucha is a by-product of the fermentation process, but there will be additional sugar if the kombucha is sweetened with a fruit or fruit juice.

The amount of sugar in kombucha depends on the brand and the ingredients. While the sugar is naturally-occurring, dietitians advise consumers to still pay attention to it.

"I would say be mindful of which brand you get and make sure you get the lowest sugar one," advised Bauer, creator of The Food Fix weight loss plan. "If you pick a brand that has 20 plus grams of sugar and you’re having four bottles a day, it can add up."

Both Feller and Bauer noted that consumers should be smart about reading the nutrition labels, especially noticing if one bottle contains more than one serving.

"Do the math and multiply it so you understand what you’re actually taking it in," said Feller, who has a cookbook coming out this fall. "Read the ingredients. It's best to be an informed consumer who’s making a mindful choice."

Are there any risks with drinking kombucha?

Kombucha is not advised for pregnant women or children, according to both Bauer and Feller. The reason is that the drink carries with it a small amount of alcohol because it is a fermented drink.

Alcohol is a by-product of any fermentation process but alcohol levels in kombucha can vary depending on how the drink is made.

Kombucha sold in stores must have less than .5 percent alcohol in order to be sold as a non-alcoholic beverage, according to U.S. government regulations.

Final verdict

Both Feller and Bauer see kombucha as an acceptable drink for people who like the taste and want to drink it, but not a drink that people must have in order to be healthy.

In other words, drink it if you like but don't blow your budget thinking you have to buy $4 bottles of it daily to have good health.

"If you’re drinking it because you’re looking for the purported health benefits associated with kombucha, I would urge you to think twice," said Feller. "If you want to have it, have it and enjoy because it was an intentional beverage choice."

Bauer said the phrase "moderation is key" applies to all foods and drinks, including kombucha.

"People go crazy on things and nothing is designed to be consumed excessively," she said. "You can’t drink coffee or Diet Coke all day either."

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Lauren Ochalek(NEW YORK) -- If you've ever wondered what a kid with Down syndrome thinks about it, Ellie Ochalek has your answer.

Turns out, she thinks it's a pretty good thing, if you consider the words "powerful," "loving," "kind" and " grateful" -- all positive personality traits.

In a video shared with ABC News' Good Morning America, the 7-year old's mom, Lauren Ochalek, asks her what makes her extra special. To which she responds "powerful," "extra kind" and "gratitude."

Ochalek said she talks with Ellie about Down syndrome frequently.

"While our lives do not revolve around Down syndrome in the least, we often talk about Down syndrome so that Ellie is familiar." she said. "We embrace the fact that she is more like her typical peers than not, but we also want her to be familiar with Down syndrome and what that means for her as a unique individual. We love watching her come into her own as a confident self-advocate."

Sometimes Ellie tells her mom that she, Lauren, also has Down syndrome.

"She does often debate that I too have an extra chromosome," her mom chuckled.

"We have also talked a lot about her extra chromosome meaning that she may have to work extra hard to achieve things, however, she also understands that she is bright, talented, and no less capable than anyone else, and that she can achieve anything that she puts her mind to," she said.

"Thus far, she has always proven us right in that regard. She is confident, competent, and blows outdated stereotypes about Down syndrome out of the water," she added.

In addition to being kind, loving and grateful, Ellie said that an extra chromosome gives her the "power to run."

Ochalek called her daughter a "devoted daughter, sister, and friend."

"She is a dancer, a swimmer, a bookworm, a spelling bee whiz, and a Girl Scout. She is also a talented student who could not be more excited to start second grade in the fall," she said.

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