Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday Themes

And here's today's news round-up:

The World Health Organization warns of the enormous burden of chronic illness. Chronic illnesses have reached epidemic proportions and are the leading cause of death -- more than HIV, malaria, tuberculosis -- and all across the globe.

On the budget, Speaker Boehner appears to be softening in his support for the Ryan budget that would eliminate Medicare and Medicaid as we know them. Senator Reid says he'll hold a vote on the Ryan plan in the Senate, forcing GOP to go on record in support of ending Medicare/Medicaid. And the GOP make a new argument in favor of the Ryan plan -- it's just like health reform!!! Well, not so much. But lobbyists are still out there criticizing health reform. And the GOP are facing stiff disagreement about their Medicare plan. And the Dems have jumped on this as an issue that may help them in 2012. A liberal policy group, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says the GOP plan would increase health care costs by $34 trillion.

But for me, here's the really scary story. The GOP are planning to link sweeping financial cuts to the increase of the debt ceiling, forcing Dems and the President to agree to huge cuts or risk defaulting on our debt, which could cause a global economic crisis. Either the Dems agree to do something awful like eliminate Medicare as we know it, or they refuse to cave and we default on our debt. This is my opinion: The GOP should not hold us hostage over something as critical as the debt ceiling.

California passed a law allowing the State to stop insurers from raising rates unfairly. Other states are considering similar moves.

Florida moves Medicaid into HMOs to save money. It hasn't saved money in other states -- indeed, it's cost money here in Connecticut -- but states are desperate for fiscal relief. I just wish they could look around the country and see that privatization is not the answer.

If you want to be happy, avoid your cell phone, make a donation to charity (I know a good one) and elect your boss. A new movement with a website called modeled on the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Merck is pitching a Hep-C drug to the FDA. This would be amazing.

A new checklist may help diagnose autism in babies as early as 1 year old.

And that's it for this morning. Have a great day! Jennifer

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