Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

It's PJ20 today -- and if you don't know what that means, well, you're missing the best rock and roll band on the planet. Not to mention my dear friend Mike McCready and his amazing wife Ashley, who are instrumental in keeping Advocacy for Patients going -- not just through fundraising, but by keeping me energized and focused. This is their day. But first, the news:

The President has drawn a line in the sand: If Congress sends him a deficit reduction plan of all cuts and no new tax revenue, he will veto it. About time. However, he also would cut Medicare payments to some providers and increase Medigap premiums, deductibles and copays. Once again, there is this pernicious theory that Medicare recipients use less health care than they need, so if we create disincentives for them to use care, they will spend less without compromising their health. This is so wrong. People will get sicker and poorer.

Preventive care is free under health reform, but what counts as preventive care?

Health reform will establish a minimum benefits level. The Institute of Medicine is supposed to make recommendations first, and then the Department of Health and Human Services will issue regulations. This will be a political hot potato. So will HHS release the regulations before the election in November 2012?

Four insurers -- Kaiser, UnitedHealthgroup, Humana and Aetna -- will provide claims data to researchers. The hope is that this information will help us better understand the rising cost of health care.

Employers are cutting disability benefits and shifting costs to employees. However, most workers don't have disability insurance. We all should -- but this is another kind of insurance you can't possibly get with a pre-existing condition except through a group plan.

HHS has issued regulations that would give patients direct access to their lab results. Currently, in most states, you can't get your lab results unless your doctor writes the order saying that. But under this new rule, patients could get their results right away.

Noncommunicable diseases -- heart disease, lung disease, mental health, diabetes and cancer - will cost $47 trillion by 2030, according to the World Health Federation.

When people who should know better, like Michelle Bachmann, make false statements about a fictional danger of vaccines, they succeed in discouraging people from being vaccinated -- which is a real problem.

New rules for organ transplants have critics concerned that people will be treated like tissue banks. Are you an organ donor?

Anthem canceled a policy because the woman was paying with her credit card automatically -- Anthem stopped accepting automatic credit card payments August 1.

There are 100 million unmarried people in America, but we have a pro-marriage bias, and the unmarried miss out on some benefits.

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

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