Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Moaning

Once again, may I say how much I hate Mondays? Oh, well. They keep coming anyway. So here's the news:

Now that it's pretty clear that Congress isn't going to repeal or defund health reform, the focus shifts to the courts. Oral argument in the 4th Circuit court of appeals is on Tuesday. The law will be defended by the Solicitor General's office, which is very unusual -- the SG usually doesn't appear in any court other than the Supreme Court.

It seems that perhaps Medicare is off the table in debt reduction talks, at least for now -- but Politico describes 4 ways in which entitlements may still figure into debt reduction. But after the 2012 election. And the Hill reports that Medicaid may be a better target than Medicare since the poor people it serves don't have the political clout that seniors have. And for many GOPers, health care is still on the chopping block. Kent Conrad's conservative Dem proposal may involve relatively small cuts to Medicare.

The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is the main Medicare cost-cutting mechanism in the health reform law. It will make binding recommendations that will take effect unless Congress acts to block them, if costs go over certain thresholds. It will also release reports about health care spending, even in years when it's not triggered.

Despite a 2009 task force recommendation that women don't need annual mammograms until age 50, women in their 40s want the test.

The feds are cracking down on medical marijuana in states where it's legal.

Florida is about to become the largest state to shift Medicaid into HMOs. It was a disaster in Connecticut, not only financially, but in terms of access to care. We'll see how it goes elsewhere. Also in Florida, a report reveals elder abuse in assisted living facilities.

Vermont has passed single-payer health care. So now we'll see if it works.

And that's it for a light health news morning. Have a great day! Jennifer


  1. Jennifer, what is your organization doing about the trend of insurance carriers to change ALL specialty drugs from a medical benefit, whose deductible and coinsurance go toward the out of pocket cap, to a pharmacy benefit with a very high co-pay, 20-25% that does not apply toward the out of pocket cap? With some specialty drugs costing over $100,000 annually, most patients can not afford $25,000 out of pocket. What this does is to effectively take these life saving treatments away from the people who need them.

  2. As you know, I already answered this on Facebook J