Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Themes

I was actually going to let myself sleep late and skip blogging this morning, but my gut would not cooperate. So here's the news:

The President is facing opposition to his jobs bill not only from the GOP, but from Dems who are afraid to do something that looks like stimulus. However, poverty is spreading and people are feeling such pain - I honestly don't understand why there's opposition to providing help that may save lives.

Federal employee labor unions are preparing to fight cuts to employee pensions, benefits that they are afraid the super-committee will make. Meanwhile, the President is going to present a detailed plan to deal with the debt next Monday. It's likely to include raising Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67, but the word is that he will not put Social Security on the table since it's not contributing to the debt. The super-committee is clear, though, that the public's confidence in Congress hangs in the balance. And Speaker Boehner will urge the committee to reform the tax code -- by lowering corporate tax rates, not raising revenue. And without a 2012 budget, Congress is working on a stopgap measure that would fund government -- with some cuts -- through mid-November.

The insurance industry and large provider groups, along with large consumer-based organizations like AARP and Families USA, have teamed to create Enroll America, which will help to get people enrolled in new health plans starting in 2014. They know it's better for them if everybody enrolls. It's better for everybody. So we're in with this. More about Enroll America here. Meanwhile, in California, as the state struggles with budget deficits, they are asking permission to cut Medicaid for many in the state -- and this could affect its implementation of health reform.

The World Health Organization again warns of increased deaths due to noncommunicable diseases -- in other words, chronic illness. This is a world-wide problem that can be addressed, but no government seems prepared to do so.

The wonderful Dr. Pauline Chen writes about the stresses of being a doctor. If you've been following this blog, you know I'm a fan of Dr. Chen's. This essay talks about how difficult it can be to respect patient choices when you know they're wrong, at least medically. It's good to know that doctors (or some doctors) struggle over these issues.

Pat Robertson -- televangelist and protector of all things moral and decent -- says it's okay to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's. After all, Alzheimer's is a kind of death. This is Christian? I am no authority, but I think not.

Stuart Taylor -- long-time court watcher -- handicaps the health reform lawsuits and predicts that the Supreme Court will uphold the individual mandate.

Remember several months ago, when the USDA scrapped the food pyramid and went to the healthy plate? Well, now, Harvard has come up with an even healthier plate.

A new report says hospitals' performance has improved, but the big name hospitals aren't on the list, so that makes you wonder about the report to some extent.

And that's the news today. Have a great day! Jennifer

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