Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

Another day, another news round-up. Here you go:

I begin with the height of arrogance. One freshman Senator says that he will object to and withhold consent from doing ANY business in the Senate until the deficit is cut. He finally allowed business to proceed, but this shows that one Senator can grind government to a halt. Craziness, if you ask me.

An interesting piece on the Tea Party, read in the context of the debt ceiling debate. The premise is that the Tea Party is based on what they're all against -- big government -- but they're not of one mind when it comes to what they're for.

Joe Lieberman and Tom Coburn proposed a new set of cuts to Medicare -- and top Dems have rejected it.

This is all part of the continuing negotiations about raising the debt ceiling. The GOP remain determined to do it with entitlement reform and spending cuts, with no revenue raisers. The Dems remain determined to have a combination of cuts and new revenue. If they deadlock and can't move past this point, we will hit the debt ceiling and interest on our debt will increase, ballooning the deficit. What a mess. Some Dems are so frustrated that they are raising the question of whether the debt ceiling is even constitutional. And some say the Dems are not drawing lines in the sand like the GOP is, so they may not get the deal they are after. They are upset with President Obama for not explaining the debt crisis well enough to the public. The GOP are saying the August 2 deadline is not a hard time limit, and the President is not acting like there's a huge rush, according to some.

Meanwhile, the Dems are considering shifting costs of Medicaid to the states -- which will, in turn, shift those costs to beneficiaries, the poorest of the poor, the elderly. Understand how dangerous this is. If they did this, the states would insist on being able to reduce Medicaid eligibility, and they would charge copays and maybe even premiums to people who can't afford them. Those people would then go without health care. And that would make them sicker -- and far more expensive to treat. Opposition to these cuts is crystalizing.

The Administration has begun to roll out a national prevention strategy to shift focus from treatment to prevention. Although I agree that prevention is critical, there are so many illnesses that cannot be prevented. I hope this shifting focus doesn't hurt us.

Half a million seniors are seeing lower drug costs due to health reform. A good thing, most definitely.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has rolled out a directory of health care quality reports that will help you decide where to go for treatment. The idea is to give consumers localized information on measures of health quality.

Insurers may start buying hospitals to cut health care costs. Interesting if this becomes a trend.

The Obama Administration has shelved its plan to use "secret shoppers" to see how hard it is to get in to see a doctor. Too bad. This sounded like a good idea to me. Apparently, doctors complained. Duh.

Doctors say that a device commonly used in spinal fusion is based on faulty research, assailing their colleagues for research infected by a conflict of interest. The allegation is that they did not report adverse events.

A new study finds that mammograms save lives. Have you had yours?

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

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