Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Morning News

Is some health insurance better than nothing? Not according to Senator Jay Rockefeller and others in the Senate. These are the so-called mini-med plans, some of which pay as little as $2000 in benefits annually. The claim is that consumers don't understand how limited their plan is until they get hurt or sick. I've certainly had calls from consumers like that. But is the right answer requiring the plans to explain their terms, or getting rid of the plans entirely? All of this goes away in 2014 -- if health reform survives that long.

Then again, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance grew an average of 41% from 2006 to 2009 (so not because of health reform). Further proof that the status quo was unsustainable. Here's the full report -- how did your state do?

Congress messed up on the food safety bill, adding a provision assessing fees on companies that have to recall food in the Senate when such provisions must originate in the House. So that means this will take a do-over that probably won't happen in the lame duck session. Will the new Congress be willing to act in a bipartisan way, even on something as universally lauded as food safety? Senator Harkin says it will get done this week. I'm not holding my breath.

Especially since the House has stalled the child nutrition bill that would have expanded free school lunches and established nutrition guidelines.

A new report says health reform doesn't do enough to curb prescription drug price increases, and offers some interesting ideas, starting with publicizing the actual prices insurers pay for drugs. Can transparency solve this problem?

And here's a poignant piece about elder care and the challenges of caring for elderly parents.

Have a good day! Jennifer

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