Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Themes

I think this week has an extra day in it. Nonetheless, here goes:

The big news in health care today is a study that shows that surgery performed in utero is the best chance for helping to treat spina bifida. Amazing.

In health reform news, a new study shows that any alternative to the individual mandate would leave many more people uninsured, and would not save as much money as the individual mandate.

The Obama Administration is extending health reform's consumer protections to college students with insurance through their school. The rule requires at least $100,000 in annual benefits starting on September 23, 2012.

The GOP is stumbling over medical malpractice reform, with some Tea Partiers opposing caps on noneconomic damages because that would interfere with the rights of states to set their own limits.

Meanwhile, GOP budget cutters are aiming for Title X, which provides funding for family planning. They don't want abortion, they don't want family planning . . . hmmm. This is really aimed at de-funding Planned Parenthood. In other words, it's really about abortion. But does it make sense?

At least equally problematic, States with budget crises are cutting health programs for the poor and disabled. South Carolina is eliminating hospice care from Medicaid. Washington State is cutting a program called Disability Lifeline. California is limiting Medicaid recipients to 6 prescriptions per month and 10 doctor visits per year.

Some Democrats are suggesting that Justice Clarence Thomas recuse himself from hearing the challenge to the health reform law because of his wife's role in the opposition. Won't happen. Meanwhile, 28 States are asking President Obama to foster faster review of the court challenges to health reform, going right to the Supreme Court and bypassing the courts of appeals.

If you have a flexible spending account, don't forget that you have to spend that money by March 15.

Strokes are becoming more common in the young and middle-aged, while declining in the elderly. And there's some indication that diet soda can contribute to the risk of stroke or heart attack.

And that's today's health news. Have a great day. Jennifer

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