Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Good morning! Back in Connecticut, back to the grind -- and back to the news!

Laughter is the best medicine! It may lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and reduce depression.

Will the supercommittee curtail Congress's own spending? Those who say yes offer varying proposals. And what happens if the supercommittee doesn't reach a deal or, perhaps worse, reaches a bad one? Meanwhile, GOP governors are asking the supercommittee to reform Medicaid, perhaps converting it to block grants that will allow states to fashion their own programs. The GOP governors prefer block grants to President Obama's Medicaid plan, which would change the formula according to which states are paid by the federal government so all states receive the same rate. (For example, in CT, it's 50/50. In some states, it's 60/40, and so on).

Health reform supporters are taking back "Obamacare." Instead of using it as a perjorative, groups are sending the message Thanks Obamacare! Interesting strategy.

Health costs continue to rise, but wellness programs are starting to pay off in cutting costs. Both employers and insurers are offering incentives to promote healthy habits. Will prevention really reduce health care spending? What about those of us who are already sick?

Fascinating. Want an estimate of what your health care treatments are going to cost? Good luck -- the GAO couldn't get an up front estimate. If consumers are going to be intelligent shoppers, this must change.

Opposition to the merger of ExpressScripts and Medco heats up as many -- including me -- worry that it will drive up prescription drug costs.

What do you do about health insurance if you're only employed part-time? What if you're employed part-time and have a pre-existing condition? No easy answers.

A federal judge has blocked a Florida law that would have forced welfare recipients to pass a drug test.

Doctors do screw up. How can you protect yourself? Be vigilant. Be involved.

Now that the CLASS Act is dead, what will Americans do for long-term care? Continue taking care of their loved ones at home? We need a better solution. It appears that the federal government is not going to come up with one.

Have a lot of medical bills? Try negotiating. Many providers will take less than full payment if you talk to them.

The human papillomavirus is now linked to heart disease in women, too, in addition to cervical and other cancers. Get that vaccine if you haven't.

Should we test the anthrax vaccine in children? Hmmm.

This seems weird to me. A new study stressing the limits of breast cancer screening mammography. Indeed, possible over-diagnosis. I'm sorry -- but if it's me, I want the mammogram, no matter how much it hurts.

Medical school enrollment is on the rise -- great news in light of projected doctor shortages.

This is so clever -- GPS shoes for people with Alzheimer's. Whoever thought of this is genius!

States are targeting prescriptions by "pill mills." Abuse of pain meds by doctors and criminals makes pain meds less available for people who really need them -- a bad situation by any measure.

Taking vitamins and supplements if you don't have a deficiency not only may be a waste -- it may cause harm.

Looking for a warm drink as the chill begins to get under our skin here in the Northeast? Here are some health tips about what will be best for you.

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

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