Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Happy Birthday Health Reform Edition

Today's the anniversary of health reform. I'll have more to say about that in a little bit, but first, today's news:

There's a lot of celebrating going on around the one-year anniversary. Despite all of the good that's been done -- the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans, covering kids to age 26, eliminating pre-existing conditions for those under age 19, eliminating lifetime caps and phasing out annual caps, helping to close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, free preventive care -- and all the good that's coming, Americans are still split on the law. It remains controversial and largely misunderstood. But there is no question that health reform has offered a lifeline to many who would not have had help otherwise. Many say they have benefited already from the law. For example, seniors have saved $40 million in doughnut hole spending. Still, Senator John Thune says the law is a failed experiment. (Of course, he's focused on premium prices, and the parts of the law that may help with that haven't been fully implemented yet.) Civil rights leader Wade Henderson says it is necessary to ensure access to health care for racial and ethnic minorities (and I would add those with chronic illnesses or any pre-existing condition). Even the pollsters are split, with Dem pollsters saying the law will catch on, and GOP pollsters opposing.

Meanwhile, here are some tips on how to reform your health care to get more bang for your buck.

And on the budget, talks are proceeding in quiet during a Congressional recess. The GOP hope to release a 2012 budget in a few weeks, but they still have to provide for the rest of this year. They are stuck on issues like defunding health reform and Planned Parenthood -- not exactly deficit-related issues.

In other news, the National Institutes of Health is hosting a meeting on chronic fatigue syndrome, to see if the researchers can identify a cause.

And that's it for now on the news. But don't go anywhere -- I'll be back in a minute. Jennifer

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