Friday, May 27, 2011

Finally Friday Three-Day-Weekend Edition

What's better than a 3-day week-end, right? But first, the news:

Is Medicare the new third rail that can't be touched for fear of political death? I actually don't think so. People understand we need to make Medicare sustainable. We just don't want to do it at the cost of losing Medicare as we know it. The wonderful Jonathan Cohn explains here why all Medicare cuts are not created equal. Still, the GOP is standing firm on Ryan's plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program. They pledge to do better at messaging about their plan. And the Dems think it will be a huge boost in 2012.

And a new study shows that it's not just Medicare that Americans want to maintain; it's also Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office says that defunding health reform would threaten Medicare Part D (drug benefit) and Medicare Advantage. Yet another reason not to defund health reform.

And over 600,000 young adults are insured today under health reform, which allows them to stay on their parents' policy to age 26.

The GOP also wants to allow insurers to sell across state lines. However, Dems and consumer advocates oppose this because it would mean losing state coverage mandates. For example, if Connecticut requires insurers to cover the first $1000 of ostomy supplies each year and New York doesn't, an interstate policy would lose that special Connecticut protection.

Huge advances in fighting AIDS have been made, but at a time of world-wide budget cutting, will the funding be there to help pay for the meds that can get this disease under control?

Peter Orszag, former OMB Director, says he regrets not including a productive plan for medical malpractice reform in the health reform law. He says there should be standards that, if met, mean a doctor can't be sued. But does this Connecticut family deserve a $58 million malpractice award for negligence in childbirth, leaving a child with cerebral palsy?

Vermont's Governor signed their single payer health care law. It will take some time to implement, but finally, we will have an example of single payer in the United States. If it works, that may help us to advocate for expansion. Or maybe just move to Vermont.

Johns Hopkins receives $10 million to open patient safety institute. Sounds good.

Arizona wants smokers and obese people to pay a premium for Medicaid.

A new study questions treatment for heart disease, says raising "good" cholesterol by taking niacin doesn't improve heart health.

And that's today's news. Have a great day and a GREAT week-end. Jennifer

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for the updates. As a new Medicare-ee, I am confused by their rejection of home infusions administered by home health care agencies.

    The difference in cost of being in-patient versus receiving our treatments in our comfortable homes are astronomical!

    In my instance, my IVIg that you fought for me to get: 5 days at home at my dosage costs about $7000 (based on my 10% copay from my previous insurance). Inpatient, 1 day of IVIg is $80,000 - and that doesn't include any other hospital charges.

    $7k vs $350,000 ???? And that's monthly.

    In addition to my other other out-patient, or clinic treatments and procedures, not only are Medicare's chosen method's COST BURDEN UNACCEPTABLE... as my doctor stated, it's ridiculous and dangerous for me to be spending every other week in the hospital.

    Not only have my neurological disorders stolen my quality of life, but now the fair health coverage I've waited almost 3 years for is taking away more of my freedom.

    And as far as my math goes, it's yet another reason our health and health coverage is in danger.

    Maybe the government needs to stop cracking away at Medicare's macro-"abuses" and begin looking at these "tiny" insanities.

    Thanks again for everything you do, Jennifer.


    PS... As usual, I'm going to share this on Neuro Detour. You keep us safe, healthy, and informed. Thank you! Thank you!