Friday, February 18, 2011

Finally Friday Edition

Another week, another . . . week. It never ends, does it? Well, here's the news:

The House GOP has begun the push to defund health reform, tacking a provision onto the continuing resolution needed to fund the government for the next 7 months. This sets the stage for a government shut-down since it's unlikely that the Senate will agree, and I like to think there's no way the White House will approve. Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner says he will not agree to a temporary extension of funding at current levels. Do you remember when the government shut down in 1995? I do and it wasn't pretty.

Meanwhile, the House GOP has voted to eliminate czars -- senior policy advisers to the President, including those on health care and disabilities issues. Since when does Congress dictate how the President staffs the White House?

And the House version of the repeal of the 1099 bookkeeping requirement has the middle class returning tax credits or subsidies that they may receive under the health law if their income increases in the middle of the year. This version goes to the full House, and if it passes, the House and Senate will have to negotiate a compromise. Although compromise doesn't seem to be happening much these days.

The Obama administration is asking the Florida judge who ruled against the health reform law to clarify whether he meant to suspend implementation pending review by the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. I personally wouldn't have asked this question; it invites the wrong answer.

Rep. Grace Napolitano has introduced legislation that would provide mental health services in public schools. She has some celebrity support in the form of athletes who agree that services in the schools are needed. And two Senators are looking to expand Medicare's mental health benefit.

Texas is asking the feds for permission to reduce the scope of benefits provided under Medicaid. Not likely.

This week has meant a concentrated attack against the major provider of women's reproductive health care in American, Planned Parenthood. The GOP is looking to defund it as part of their budget attack. Just so you know, Planned Parenthood does a lot more than provide abortions. They are a full service women's health organization. The loss of this funding would mean an absence of resources for so many women.

Also on the women's health front, Michelle Obama is promoting breast feeding as a way to combat childhood obesity and promote child and maternal health. Michelle Bachman and other conservatives have a problem with that. Yesterday, Sarah Palin joined the fray. Apparently, what Michelle Obama suggested as a health measure is being construed as an attempt to inject government further into private lives. Come on, now. Did someone pass a law mandating breast feeding? No. It's just advice. And it's supported by science. Let it go.

A new study finds that psychotherapy helps chronic fatigue. Hmmm.

And that's today's news. Jennifer

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