Friday, November 18, 2011

Finally -- Finally -- Friday Edition

I feel like this week is more like two weeks. Then again, working 60 hours in 4 days could make you feel that way. Well, at least there's only one more day to get through before I get to snuggle with my cat and get some rest. But first, the news:

Congress passed a budget bill funding 5 agencies for all of 2012 and all of the federal government through December 6. It's long on law enforcement, short on funds for local governments. And they slashed funding for construction of housing for the poor by 38 percent.

The supercommittee doesn't appear to be making any progress. If they fail, what happens? WaPo says nothing. I've read previously (see prior blog posts) that there's a real fear about how the markets will react. That's actually my biggest concerns. The automatic cuts that would be triggered do not take effect until 2013, so that's plenty of time for Congress to undo the deal if they choose. As for tax increases, the GOP is still not where it needs to be, but people are talking about not whether to raise taxes, but how. Progress? With so few days left, it's hard to say. People in the know are pretty pessimistic. Indeed, Politico reports that talks are on the brink of collapse. According to The Hill, the GOP want President Obama to intervene.

USA Today says the supercommittee is looking at ways to cut the cost of treating "dual eligibles" -- people with both Medicaid and Medicare -- whose care is often fragmented and always very expensive. The thought is to move them into managed care. I'm so wary of these privatization "fixes" -- managed care was a huge waste of money in Connecticut's Medicaid program. I'm not convinced that handing a problem over to private insurance companies solves anything.

With a few weeks left of open enrollment, a new report shows that Medicare copays for brand name drugs are going up, a lot.

California and disability advocates have reached an agreement that will keep adult day healthcare centers open. Good work.

We are not doing enough for kids' heart health, says a report that focuses on diet, cholesterol, and exercise.

And last but not least, here's my op-ed on why consumer representatives are needed on the Board of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange.

And that's it -- a slow news day. Have a great day! Jennifer

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