Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Themes

So the GOP is backing off of cutting Medicare -- suggesting that they start focusing on cutting federal employee pensions and farm subsidies, as well as medical malpractice reform and other cuts. It's great news that there seems to be room for negotiation. Oops! The GOP says they never meant to say that they were backing off the Ryan plan to eliminate Medicare as we know it. Geez -- I'm used to changes in positions from one day to the next, but in the time it took me to get from the NY Times to HuffPo? That's a new one.

Moving right along, VP Biden has his first bipartisan meeting on the budget this morning. Meanwhile, some GOP leaders challenge the White House to come up with a debt reduction plan. Um, that speech the President gave a couple of weeks ago, remember? And HuffPo reports that the outline of a deal to raise the debt ceiling is emerging, with a cap on federal spending and a trigger for both cuts and revenue increases are built into the deal. Don't ask me what this means -- it's way too early to tell. But the White House is working on a corporate tax reform proposal.

Here's a primer on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, in case you need to learn the basics.

The states filed their brief in the government's appeal from the Florida judge's ruling against health reform. They argue that Congress can't require people to purchase health insurance, and that, if that part of the law is struck down, the whole law must go. Oral arguments should be heard in June.

Community health centers are an integral piece of our health care puzzle. Here's a detailed discussion of the role they play -- very important reading.

Will Congress raise premiums for military health insurance, called Tricare? Not if the GOP has anything to say about it (and they do).

Physician groups will testify in Congress, demanding a five-year transition to new Medicare payment rules.

Medicare auditors have recouped $237.8 million in overpayments. Great job.

A lot of very popular drugs will be available in generic form soon, reducing cost significantly.

More on the ongoing struggle to understand chronic fatigue syndrome. There had been the belief that it was linked to a retrovirus, but a study released yesterday rebuts that.

The tough decisions patients have to make when faced with a new diagnosis -- here, a rare cancer of the eye. Such bravery.

Asthma rates rise sharply in the US.

Audit finds long wait times for breast exams. This is pretty outrageous.

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

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