Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

A bipartisan group of 6 Senators is trying to convince the American people that we can't fix our deficit without major overhauls of Social Security and Medicare, along with raising taxes. And a couple of Democrats have made it their mission to re-sell the public on health reform. And the Massachusetts AG is touting health reform based on what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts. Of course, Mitt Romney -- running for GOP nominee for President -- says although he's proud of Massachusetts, it's the wrong thing for America. And Ezra Klein of WaPo is calling on the GOP to come up with a health reform plan of their own.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has identified 5 spending aspects of the health reform law that they want to make discretionary -- and then eliminate: grants to states to set up Exchanges so you don't have a marketplace where you can buy health insurance; the Prevention and Public Health fund, because of course prevention and public health care bad?; funding to build more school based health centers -- really?; grants for sex education -- at least they're consistent here; and grants to encourage doctors to go into primary care. Again, really? These are the evils of health reform?

The 1099 bookkeeping mess is still playing out. Everybody agrees it should be repealed, but how should we pay for it? Some want to take subsidies back from the poor who crossed the line in the middle of a year and no longer qualify for subsidies. But it would be hard for these folks to pay it back.

Meanwhile, doctors are trying a new model, skipping insurance entirely, having patients pay them a lump sum for total care. And pharmacists are lobbying for a bill that would have Medicare recipients sit down with their pharmacist and review their meds, hopefully making them more compliant with doctor's orders. And physicians and patient advocates differ on a plan to create a Physician Compare quality rating system for doctors in Medicare.

About time someone wrote about this. Medigap coverage can be hard to find for disableds under age 65, and its cost may be prohibitive. There are pre-existing condition exclusions in many states. This is a well kept secret in Medicare that cripples people on disability.

And that's the morning's news. Have a great day. Jennifer

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