Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

The super-committee met yesterday and heard testimony from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office saying that cuts in spending will harm the economic recovery. Gee -- how many times have I said that? No matter -- the deficit hawks will push to shrink the size of government regardless of the cost. For them, it's not about budgets; it's about ideology. Dems are afraid that, with President Obama opening the door to Medicare and Medicaid cuts, the super-committee will end up cutting far more than the President suggests. The super-committee now has its own website where you can share your ideas for fixing the economy.

One in six Americans live in poverty. 50 million people remain uninsured. And the deficit is top priority? The President says this is not who we are as a people. Um, I think it's how some of us are. The President's jobs bill would raise revenue by taxing health benefits paid to people earning more than $200,000 per year.

The GOP Presidential candidates have placed the HPV vaccine squarely at issue. The vaccine prevents the human papilloma virus from being spread. It is spread through sexual conduct. Rick Perry signed an Executive Order requiring teens to be vaccinated. But he's taking heat because this somehow encourages sexual activity in teens. And it puts government in the bedroom. Utterly ridiculous. It's one of the few things Gov Perry has done that actually promotes health (here's a snippet of his record on health care), and he's taking heat for it. Of course, it doesn't help him that the vaccine's maker is one of his biggest donors. But there's real danger here that this "discussion" will result in fewer teens getting the vaccine.

States struggling with their budgets are embracing Medicaid managed care. No matter that, in states where it's been done already like Connecticut, it's been shown to cost more than state-run Medicaid. This is about privatization, not cost cutting.

Insurers fought health reform, but now they're working as part of a coalition to get the uninsured enrolled. Others in this coalition include providers, hospitals, and large consumer-based groups like AARP and Families USA.

The Senate Dems finally moved the disaster aid bill with the help of 8 Republican Senators.

Here's one way to cut spending -- the Administration's newest program to stop improper Medicaid payments.

366 million people now have diabetes.

A Pennsylvania judge ruled that health reform's individual mandate is unconstitutional. With three Courts of Appeals already ruling on the law, which is heading to the Supreme Court, this latest ruling has little significance. However, the judge also struck down the requirement that insurers cover people with pre-existing conditions, finding that the two are closely linked. This is a new and dangerous twist.

The science of laughter -- and why it makes us feel so good!

Abuse of Xanax has led one clinic in Louisville to cut off all supplies. Seems drastic?

And there it is, today's news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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