Monday, April 4, 2011

Flight to Mars Week Day One

Friday night is Flight to Mars, Mike McCready and friends in Seattle. So this week's news is dedicated to him.

We have five days to get a budget before the government shuts down. Talks are ongoing, but it's a tough one as we don't know whether House GOP will agree to any kind of compromise, and we do know that Dems in the Senate will not agree to defunding health reform and Planned Parenthood. The President placed calls to Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid this week-end. But they all know there are only five days left, and the pressure is on. Potential cuts will come from the Children's Health Insurance Plan, Pell grants for education for low-income students, and a health reform creation of co-0ps to provide an alternative to private insurance. Are these the right priorities? I think not. But the Tea Party is pushing the GOP to the right. Both parties are looking to make the other look as bad as possible while averting a shut-down.

Before this year's budget is resolved, the Republicans have announced their budget for 2012 and beyond, seeking to cut $ trillion over the next 10 years. Big cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Indeed, the Wall St. Journal says it would end Medicare as we know it. Medicare recipients would choose among several government subsidized plans, and Medicaid would come in block grants to the states, allowing them to do with the money what they will. The proposed Medicare changes are likely to shift costs to seniors.

And at the same time, there would be tax cuts. Huh? And it's not just about 2012. There will be votes on extending the debt limit, and talks about long-term fiscal controls. Is the US going to default on its debt, destabilizing not only our economy but others? It would be unheard of - that's for sure.

In other news, it's hard for Medicaid recipients to find specialists.

A new cheaper health insurance product has a smaller network of providers.

Doctors are saying no to endless work days.

Our eyes do get worse over time. I remember when I started needing reading glasses and my eye doctor said it was age. Nice to know it's not just me.

We've known there are disparities in health care among racial and ethnic minorities, but now, it seems, there are disparities among gay and bisexual men, as well. HHS seeks to address this disparity.

Scientists get closer to isolating the genes that lead to Alzheimer's.

Less invasive surgery to replace a heart valve -- good news.

Back pain. Chronic pain leads to depression. Headache and heartache. Exercise early and not alone. A cluster of articles about pain.

And that's it for this morning. Have a great day -- as great as a Monday can be. Jennifer


  1. I'm a Republican who supports certain aspects of Healthcare Reform. I'm also a mother to a Crohn's sufferer. The aspects of Healthcare Reform that I support are the ones that preclude pre-existing clauses by insurance companies, but I'm against growing the Medicare/Medicaid population to satisfy the special interests of insurance companies by shifting the costs to the public. By 2012, nearly half the population will be supported by the other half and insurance companies will prosper from the demographic change. My son doesn't qualify for Medicare because he and his wife are both in college. If his wife was seven months pregnant, then they would qualify. What the heck? His doctor prescribed medicine for his Crohn's that costs $1,500 per month. The school insurance he has will only cover $1,500 per YEAR. Therefore, he's not taking his meds and is getting more ill every day. To get around the pre-existing clause, if he ever lets his health insurance lapse for any reason, his insurance company will "reassess" him and place him into a "high-risk" category, in which case he will be denied coverage. Isn't this the same thing as a pre-existing clause? Just different wording. So no, Healthcare Reform isn't going to help those in need. It is only going to help the insurance companies at the expense of tax payers. Who manages Medicare and Medicaid? The two largest insurance companies.

  2. Some of your facts are wrong. First, student insurance is exempt from the health reform requirements of eliminating lifetime caps and raising annual caps. Second, your son would have been ineligible for Medicaid, not Medicare. Medicare does not grow under health reform at all. Medicaid does, but it may well make your son eligible by increasing the income limit to 200% of the federal poverty level, which I would think is a good thing. Current eligibility levels differ from state to state -- and they have nothing whatsoever to do with health reform. To help your son pay for his meds, he can go to or for copay assistance, or you can email me at and I will send you links to all the copay assistance programs. Finally, there are ways to get insurance with pre-existing conditions. For example, there are the new Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans under health reform if he goes without insurance for 6 months. In 2014, there will be no pre-existing condition limits for any plans, as part of health reform. So it sounds to me as though there are solutions to your problems, and that a lot of the solutions come out of health reform. All of the problems that you identify pre-existed health reform. And I have no clue what your last sentence means. No insurance companies run Medicare and Medicaid. The feds run Medicare and the states and feds together run Medicaid. Hope that helps. Jennifer