Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back to the Grind Edition

I guess I have to get back to the usual schedule today, despite the fact that I'm a total zombie. So we'll start with the news:

The parties' plans for Medicare could shape the 2012 elections. The GOP want to transform Medicare into a system that provides vouchers for people to buy health insurance -- except the vouchers won't cover the whole cost, and there will be deductibles and copays, and the size of the vouchers will differ based on income. The CBO says this would shift the cost of health care to taxpayers, greatly increasing their health care expenditures. This plan has been criticized by many -- here's Ezra Klein of WaPo. However, several Republican Governors are following suit, cutting health benefits for the poor while also cutting taxes to the rich. (Does anybody get the irony besides me? They call Obama a socialist for redistributing wealth from rich to poor, but what does that make them for redistributing wealth from the poor to the rich?) President Obama is supposed to lay out a plan that also confronts the growth of Medicare this week, but he will go at it with a scalpel rather than a machete, he says. And the President will propose tax increases for the wealthy, whereas the GOP would cut taxes for the rich and corporations. At least we know the choice between them will be pretty clear. A bipartisan group of six Senators that's been working on a deficit reduction plan are not happy that the President is coming out with a proposal because they're afraid that it will be opposed simply because the President proposed it. Nice way to govern.

And we are starting to get the details of the 2011 budget deal and where exactly those $38.5 billion in cuts are coming from. Regardless, the majority of Americans -- especially Dems -- support the budget deal. President Obama gets a lot of the credit. And some reports stress that the 2011 budget isn't all about cuts.

The House is still going after health reform, now trying to repeal a provision that would fund public health and prevention. Meanwhile, states -- including our home state, Connecticut -- are working on designing and preparing to establish their Exchanges, the marketplaces where insurance will be sold and subsidies will be claimed.

How can consumers make health care decisions without knowing what things cost? Here's one couple's story -- and it's a cautionary tale for all of us.

And this is fascinating -- doctors make medical choices for themselves differently than they make recommendations to the rest of us. They'll choose something riskier but with fewer risks of side effects for themselves, but recommend the opposite for their patients.

Community health centers provide an increasingly important model for primary care delivery as the ranks of the uninsured continue to grow.

Here's a heartwarming tale of a couple, both of whom have cancer, and are fighting it together.

In an effort to improve nutrition, the Chicago schools are prohibiting kids from bringing lunch from home. Hmmm.

Should the government be involved in preventing assisted suicide for the terminally ill?

HIV-infected organs should be available to people with HIV who need transplants, some say.

Advice for joint pain? Get moving. Which reminds me -- I'm due to get back in the swimming pool now that the weather's better.

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

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