Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Lots going on.

President Obama said yesterday that he favors allowing states to opt out of federal health reform as long as they meet criteria that shows they have their own health reform plan in place, including coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps, etc. The GOP says this is making their case against reform, showing the need for state-by-state exceptions.

And on the budget, there appears to be a two-week extension deal. The GOP got $4 billion in budget cuts, but no defunding of health reform. Still, the GOP -- especially freshmen -- have their heels dug in and are determined to shrink government substantially. Will they still scuttle the deal, even for a two week extension? And there are leaders not currently holding office who favor a no-deals approach, even if it means a shut down. The White House prefers a month-long extension.

And GOP leaders are standing strong for the next round of talks. This is so even though Moody's yesterday estimated that the GOP budget cuts would cost 700,000 jobs. Eric Cantor, 2nd in command in the House, says we shouldn't drive up the deficit just to save jobs. And there's the question -- what matters more, jobs or the deficit?

But nobody's touching Social Security.

President Obama did hear the Governors complaining about Medicaid, though, and offered to set up a bipartisan commission to figure out if there are better ways to cut funding without destroying the safety net for the poor.

Meanwhile, the Administration filed its opening brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit challenging the Virginia decision striking down the individual mandate. But there are those who say the individual mandate won't work because the penalties in the law are so low that there are people who will pay the penalty rather than buy insurance.

And here's a new insurance option in Massachusetts, with lower premiums but higher copays when you use a more expensive provider. Will other insurers follow the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts model?

Doctor-owned centers for things like imaging and physical therapy spark scrutiny under self-referral laws.

A really interesting piece on how to get patients to be more compliant with doctors' orders.

And I love this notion of self-compassion. Read this for better health. And optimism helps heart health, so think positive!

And hang on as we see what happens next. Jennifer

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