Friday, February 25, 2011

Finally Friday Edition

I'm getting a slow start this morning, so now I'm rushing to get you today's news. Here goes.

Half of Americans don't know if the health reform law is still the law. It is. It has not been repealed (that would take the President's signature) nor has a court said it can't be implemented. So for now, the law is still the law.

And implementation continues. There's a fight brewing in North Carolina, where Blue Cross wants to run the Exchange, which would not be fair to other insurers, nor would consumers have objective information about their alternatives.

Still, insurers raked in over $12 billion in profits last year. And HHS gave the states new funding for insurance rate review in the hope that it will help control the nonstop increases in rates.

Senate Democrats are trying to come up with budget cuts that will meet the demands of the GOP and avert a government shut-down. But since they won't eliminate funding for health reform implementation or family planning, it's unlikely that the GOP will agree. A lot of ground needs to be covered in the next week if the government is going to keep operating. Meanwhile, the White House is concerned that a shut down would slow the economic recovery. And the House GOP is working on a short-term extension of the deadline, but they are insisting on making big cuts even in a short-term measure.

The battle in Wisconsin is not just over state employee unions. It's also about deep cuts to Medicaid and medical care for low income residents. Still, the feds keep pumping Medicaid funds into the states, including new grants to fund prevention programs.

A new protocol for deciding who gets a donated kidney will favor younger recipients.

As mental health cuts mount, more psychiatric cases end up in jail.

And that's it for now. Have a great day. Jennifer

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