Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Yesterday was a very busy day and today will be another -- lots of health reform implementation stuff. The news is full of bin Laden, of course, but let's see what else there is:

The GOP House continues to vote to chip away at health reform -- this week, they vote to defund the exchanges because they don't want you to be able to buy insurance more easily and affordably, and school-based health clinics because, well, I guess they want your kids to be sick. What other explanation is there for opposing these obviously good parts of reform? Interestingly, if there are no state exchanges, the law says the federal government has to create one -- and something tells me that's not what the detractors really want. The President says he would veto this bill anyway.

Meanwhile, there's a huge effort going on in the states to get exchanges up and running. It takes a lot of work -- not only the legalities, and questions about how to operate exchange that are left to the states so they would have flexibility; but also the IT piece, which is difficult. As state legislatures fail to pass authorizing legislation, states risk the feds coming in and running an exchange for them -- and they're not happy with that, either.

Graduating college students now have the option to go back on their parents' plan to age 26 -- one of the early benefits of health reform.

Record health insurance premium increases have led the California Insurance Commissioner to ask for authority to regulate rates. About time.

89 people were arrested for protesting the GOP plan to cut Medicaid.

The feds are on the road, trying to help states gear up and work out the kinks of health reform. Here's a great profile of the New England Region's HHS director -- a graduate of UConn law school, no less.

Gail Sheehy says caregivers need government help or they'll go broke.

People with deep belief in God are more likely to spend money for expensive treatments to fight cancer than people with lesser faith.

An interesting study on social norms and how they influence our behavior. And another amusing piece on studying sex -- are we happier because we're having sex, or are we having sex because we're happier?

Women skip pap smears because they have no insurance and can't afford to see a doctor. And is hormone replacement therapy all bad?

Eat more of certain foods and lose weight. And work on your balance as you get older. But how much testing is too much, as you hit middle age and are told to screen for a battery of illnesses? Some say there's a risk of overdiagnosis of prostate cancer due to screening.

Meditation's benefits continue to be discovered and expand. Serotonin's role also continues to emerge. And a new study says one drug is enough to start with in treating depression.

This is sort of weird and interesting -- fire walkers and their piggy-backed relatives had simultaneous heartbeats.

New books for special needs children. Very cool.

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

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