I don't know about you, but this week is already in the crapper for me. Let's see how it is for the rest of America:
The NY Times is calling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's debt ceiling proposal a magic trick. President Obama would have authority to raise the debt ceiling, the GOP could vote against it, the President would veto their disapproval, and there would be a hike in the debt ceiling without a GOP fingerprint on it. This would be accompanied with some spending cuts, but not to entitlements, along with a Commission that would be set up to recommend further cuts (didn't we do the Commission thing already?). The House GOP is taking a symbolic vote today for a deal that would cut spending, cap spending, and approval a balance budget amendment that would take years for the country to ratify -- gimmicks that the President has said he would veto if by some miracle they made it through the Senate. A group of freshman GOP from the House are delivering a letter demanding a written plan from the President -- as if the President hasn't outlined suggestions in the negotiations to date. Senator Tom Coburn came up with his own deal to cut $9 trillion over 10 years through cuts and an increase in Medicare premiums. Americans are pessimistic about Congress's ability to get this deal done, although a slight majority think President Obama is doing a better job than the GOP. The parties are surely blaming each other. They ought to listen to the Dalai Lama, who says they should learn to work together. Politico says the situation is getting scary -- and I agree. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner says the sides are moving towards a deal. Really? Bill Clinton now says he'd use the 14th amendment and raise the debt ceiling on his own.
It's critical to understand that Medicare doesn't cover a lot of things, so seniors and people with disabilities are left holding the bag. This would get worse if Medicare were to cost even more.
In case you have questions about health reform, here's your summer fact-checking!
Many, if not most, states are working on health insurance exchanges, marketplaces where you will be able to compare and buy insurance. But the feds are supposed to run an exchange in the states that don't comply with the law. How feasible is a federal exchange? Good question.
Regulations and loans to nonprofit entities to create health co-ops were released yesterday. More attempts at innovation to see what will work to control costs while covering needs. And the health reform law will bolster funding for school-based clinics.
Another issues arising out of the health reform law -- the law allows middle-income earners to collect Medicaid by not counting Social Security payments as income. However, that would mean that people on Social Security disability who can't yet get Medicare would not have the option of Medicaid in the meantime.
Following on the heels of an Institute of Medicine report on pain, there seems to be renewed interest in figuring out better ways to treat it.
Do you have high blood pressure? If so, don't take NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Motrin, Advil). It could raise your risk of stroke and heart attacks.
The use of therapy dogs in healthcare settings is growing. Emily wants to know why not therapy cats -- she surely is one to me!
Glenn Kaminsky of Bantam, CT is profiled in USA today due to his many years of volunteerism.
Wheelchair-accessible taxis -- great idea!
And that's the morning news round-up. Have a great day! Jennifer