Friday, September 23, 2011

Finally Friday Edition

Getting ready for our annual in-person board meeting and our little open house tomorrow. But first, there's today to get through, and that starts with the news.

The House did finally pass a spending bill to fund the government until November 18, but they did it by cutting more spending, which cannot pass the Dem-controlled Senate. Gridlock again. And the new spending cuts? Again, to offset disaster relief -- we can't spend money to save struggling communities that have lost everything due to hurricanes and tornadoes without cutting something. In other words, they moved further away from compromise with the Senate. The Dems are clear -- they will not accept disaster relief offsets. And look at what disaster relief projects are being held up as a result of this politicking.

Some states are giving federal dollars for beefing up health insurance rate review to consumer groups, and insurers cry foul. The insurers say that this undermines the credibility of the consumer groups.

The super-committee is struggling with overhauling the tax code and asking whether tax cuts pay for themselves, as the GOP seems to believe. This is part of how we got into the mess we're in, with the Bush Administration convincing Congress that its tax cuts for the wealthy would stimulate the economy and, thus, pay for themselves. It didn't quite work. How could anybody not have noticed that? Meanwhile, Medicaid directors ask for more flexibility from the super-committee. License to slash benefits. A survey shows that Americans don't trust the super-committee. I'm with them.

The GOP Presidential debate gives you a good idea of where the poor will stand with a GOP president. Rick Perry wants to end Social Security. Newt Gingrich says it's wrong to pay people unemployment compensation for doing nothing.

The CLASS Act -- part of health reform that would have created a long-term care health insurance program -- has been put on hold. No surprise here; it's been widely reported that the funding isn't there. But still, it's too bad. It was near and dear to Ted Kennedy. That makes me think, what would Ted Kennedy have done with the partisan gridlock in Washington?

Dr. Pauline Chen explains how doctors' pay is set, contributing to the shortage of primary care physicians. Fascinating insight.

A new study undermines the theory that chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a virus, dashing hopes that a cure was not far off.

Depression can lead to stroke. More proof of a mind-body connection, more justification for insurance coverage of mental health services to the same extent as physical (mental health parity).

Bedbugs are gross, but people are getting sick from the insecticide used to kill them. Ew.

And that's today's news. Have a great day and a great week-end. Jennifer

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