Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hump Day Headlines

The GOP doesn't like the idea of a millionaires' tax. Of course, part of that is a desire to protect their own wealth. The GOP wants the Federal Reserve to stop engaging in any stimulus activity. And more here. The GOP will only pay for disaster relief if it's offset by reducing funding for fuel efficient vehicles. And because it's attached to a continuing resolution to keep the government open without a budget, it may lead to a government shut-down. And the GOP cuts spending on nutrition for Women, Infants and Children, Pell Grants, low income legal assistance, and Head Start. Who is it exactly who's engaged in class warfare?

Two conservative Reps are holding up the Health and Human Services budget bill. They want deeper cuts, of course, in line with the Ryan budget which, as you will recall, ended Medicare as we know it and turned Medicaid into a block grant program.

The President and others who propose cuts to Medicaid and Medicare providers believe they can do so without hurting patients. Not so.

The federal government has given 29 states grants to boost oversight of insurance companies. 20 of those states already have laws allowing them to challenge or even veto rate increases. Here in Connecticut, we had a law, and the Governor vetoed it. Now we have a "deal" that allows the Healthcare Advocate to request a hearing when there's a rate increase over 15%. Under federal law, insurers have to provide justification for rate increases over 10%. So most insurers are raising rates 9.9% -- but Anthem is going for 12.9%, still under the 15% threshold to have a hearing.

States that haven't taken steps to create an exchange may face the feds stepping in and doing it for them. So the feds proposed a state-federal partnership, and the states seem unhappy with that, too.

The Washington Post has a special section on global health and noncommunicable (chronic) illnesses. Check it out. Very interesting.

Seniors are volunteering to help root out Medicare fraud, and teach other seniors what to look for.

A young autistic man struggles to make a place for himself in the adult world. Poignant story.

A week or so ago, there was a story that insulin might help Alzheimer's. Now, a study has found diabetes is tied to an increased risk of Alzheimer's. Sounds like the researchers are narrowing in on something.

How to make the most of a pediatrician visit. Great advice.

And that's it for now. Have a GREAT day! Jennifer

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