Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 1 of 3 Edition

Only a three day week this week, so let's make it a good one.

All signs are that the supercommittee has failed. They plan to announce their failure today. The deadline is Wednesday, but at this point, the parties are just blaming each other for failure rather than trying to come up with a midnight solution, although some won't say it's over 'till it's over. The GOP would not agree to a deal that raises taxes -- and at some point, making the Bush tax cuts became a GOP condition that the Dems could not agree to. The Dems would not agree to a wholesales restructuring of Medicaid and Medicare. In other words, the supercommittee failed for the same reasons the President and Speaker Boehner failed months ago. How will this failure affect the markets? Ezra Klein says no biggie since there will be automatic cuts in 2013 instead. More on how the markets may react -- or not.

After the election, though, expect cost cutting -- and expect a focus on health care.

Meanwhile, southern states like Georgia are working to set up exchanges even though they oppose the health reform law, just in case the Supreme Court upholds the law.

A tale of two recusals? Justice Thomas is being asked to recuse himself from hearing the health reform law case because his wife is such an ardent, vocal opposer; Justice Kagan is being asked to recuse herself because she was Solicitor General under President Obama and may have had a hand in shaping legal strategy. My prediction: Neither of them will sit this one out.

A fascinating move by the Supreme Court, which has appointed two lawyers to argue positions that nobody agrees with. One will argue that the law can stand even without the individual mandate; the other will argue that the mandate cannot be challenged until it takes effect. And here's a sort of decision-tree that helps explain the health law cases.

As the Department of Health and Human Services finalizes regulations on the essential benefits package -- the things that must be covered by plans participating in state exchanges -- there's quite a rift forming over whether birth control should be provided free of charge. The Catholic church is looking for a broad exemption for churches, schools, nonprofits -- anybody with a "conscientious objection." Is that fair to their employees and their employees' dependents who will be covered under those plans?

Hospitals are looking for ways to save money without sacrificing care. Can medical cost cutting improve care?

The FDA has revoked approval of Avastin for breast cancer, saying it's not effective enough to justify the risks.

Drugs used for psychotics are prescribed for kids in foster care at an alarming rate.

Last week's quiz -- multiple endocine neoplasia (MEN) Type !

Want to become a morning person? Here's how.

If you remember when Our Bodies, Ourselves came out, you're old like me. It's turning 40 this week! Oy.

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

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