Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Good morning, all! And here's today's news:

Budget, budget and more budget. A poll shows we Americans are sort of sick of this impasse. And we are as divided in our views as Congress is. And how much of it really is about the economy and jobs? Steve King will oppose any spending plan that doesn't de-fund health reform. Michelle Bachman agrees. Meanwhile, some Tea Partiers say the three-week extension that has to be passed by Friday to keep the government running doesn't cut enough funding, so they oppose it. It cuts $2 billion per week.

And as for health reform, once the 1099 bookkeeping provision is finally repealed, some say the next step should be a step to protect insurance brokers. The medical loss ratio rules (percentage of premium dollars spent on health care) say broker commissions come out of the administrative side of the equation. This will hurt brokers and they want a fix. Meanwhile, the 1099 repeal may be tacked onto a bill that would fund the Small Business Administration for the rest of this year. And House Democrats are trying to pressure anti-reformers to disclose whether they are enrolled in the federal employee health plan.

Should the President propose cuts to Social Security? His economic team says yes; his political team says no.

Five percent of Medicaid enrollees are responsible for over half of the cost of Medicaid. These folks, known as dual eligibles, are the sickest of the sick, eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. If we take better care of them, we will save millions, some say.

Doctors are wary of electronic medical records. This is so despite the fact that the federal government is making financial assistance to go electronic available.

Pharmacists are offering additional services to compete with mail order pharmacies. Meanwhile, a new study shows that drug prices outstrip all other medical costs. And there are new ideas for helping patients take their medicine on time -- one of the most important things we have to do in order to achieve better health outcomes.

Alzheimer's takes a heavy toll on 15 million unpaid caregivers. We don't pay enough attention to caregivers in America. It's a hard job and should be recognized as such.

Do you lie to your doctor, hiding behavior of which you are ashamed? You are not alone -- and it's not smart since your doctor is there to help you.

Happiness may not be all it's cracked up to be, says Univ of Wisconsin study. We're better off with longer term activities that make us feel fulfilled.

New thoughts about end of life care and how to make sure your family knows what you want and what you don't.

Gluten intolerance may affect you even if you don't have Celiac disease.

The NY Times has a special issue on the importance and significance of pets. They help us emotionally. They hold the family together. And there are all kinds of service dogs, as well. And if you walk your dog, that's good exercise. As I write this, a purring Emily is perched on my knee and I know she's better than all the valium in the world!

Friends are good for your health, too -- so thank your friends! And have a great day. Jennifer

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