Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

On the run this morning -- way behind in work due to the move, so trying to crank stuff out. First, the news:

There isn't much going on on Washington during recess. President Obama is still on his bus tour. He now says he's sending a jobs package to Congress in September, and he dares the GOP to block it. As if they haven't already shown they aren't scared of him. The GOP candidates amuse, with Rick Perry accusing the Fed Chairman of treason and Michelle Bachmann thinking it was Elvis's birthday when it was really the anniversary of his death. The US Chamber of Commerce -- bastion of conservative views -- urges the super-committee to go for a grand bargain including a reform of the tax code. But what will the super-committee do to Medicare and Medicaid? That's the question.

If we lose the individual mandate, we may well lose coverage for pre-existing conditions. That's really what the big deal in the courts is all about.

Under health reform, there will be a standardized form consumers can review to compare insurance policies and make informed choices. The draft of that form is supposed to be released today. We will be taking a close look to make sure it's as consumer friendly as the law intends it to be.

If states don't start up their own Exchanges (insurance marketplaces), the feds are supposed to run a federal one. Except there's no money for that purpose.

More doctors' offices become "medical homes," but what does that really mean? Read our friend Arielle Levin Becker's excellent discussion.

Apparently, Facebook had a policy that exempted drug companies from having open walls where people could comment. Facebook has now removed that exemption, and drugs companies are leaving Facebook. Buh-bye!

A Crohn's patient's Remicade costs $6300, but the hospital bills for $38,000 and then discounts the bill for insurance. And that's just one example of how health care prices are inflated and then discounted. This is all to keep up with government-mandated discounts for Medicare and Medicaid -- BUT when you're private pay, you don't get the discount -- you get the whole bill for $38,000.

Comparative effectiveness research tests new therapies to see if they work any better than the old ones, and to see where the new treatments fit into our arsenal to combat illness.

Experts declare that addiction is a brain disease. Now, they need to figure out how to cure it.

And that's the news. Off I go to work on an emergency insurance appeal. Have a great day. Jennifer

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