Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

I don't know about you, but I have an insane day today, so I'd better get right to the news.

A third federal judge from the District of Columbia has upheld the health reform law. That makes the score 3 to 2, in favor of constitutionality.

The White House says they're ready for a government shut down -- although they don't want one, contingency plans are in place. The GOP thinks it won't take the blame for a shut down, like it did in 1995. Roger Simon's not sure who has the most to lose if there's a shut down. Meanwhile, Senator Harry Reid has introduced a one-month extension at current spending levels, but the GOP wants more cuts even in a temporary bill.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is dispatching experts to states who are looking for help in cutting their Medicaid budget without dropping coverage. And they are telling us that Social Security reform is not part of the current budget debate. And HHS gave grants for community living to thirteen states, including some that oppose health reform.

But Pennsylvania terminated a health plan for low income adults -- that's 42,000 people without health insurance all of a sudden, and with nowhere else to go. And community health centers -- once thought immune from budget cutting -- will be losing a lot of funding in all the budget cutting, leaving people even fewer places to do.

Local and state officials are speaking out against the defunding of Planned Parenthood, helping to explain the important role Planned Parenthood plays in women's health.

And my favorite story of the day -- a health insurer has been fined $4.3 million for violating medical records privacy rules by failing to give consumers access to their medical records. Maybe now, when we request a copy of a file, we'll actually get it.

In a really important case, the Supreme Court held that vaccine makers cannot be sued for adverse effects. To make them liable would have crippled the vaccine making industry, they said. People with adverse effects can claim damages from a special fund established for this purpose.

This is interesting. Teachers in Wisconsin who are protesting the union busting moves of the Governor are getting doctor's notes to excuse their absences. What does that say about the doctors?

Teachers feed kids who come to school hungry, they say. Tragic.

Cellphone use affects brain activity. I doubt that will change anybody's habits, though.

And that's the morning's news. I'll be on the run most of the day, so have a good one. Jennifer

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