Monday, November 7, 2011

It's Monday? Really?

After a week without power, it wasn't the best time to have to travel to Long Island to give a speech to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation chapter. But as always, mingling with my fellow patients was rewarding. I just wish Monday wasn't here yet. Oh, well. Here's the news:

Will Congress extend unemployment benefits? Speaker Boehner says President Obama is inciting class warfare, but with the GOP the watchdog for the wealthy, I think we can argue that the President isn't the one who started this war. GOP stonewalling on tax hikes is the main cause of debt gridlock. Meanwhile, members of Congress are asking the supercommittee not to tax health care benefits that employees receive from their employers. And increasing the Medicare eligibility age could consume up to 45% of seniors' Social Security checks.

Ultimately, an estimated 24 million Americans will buy insurance through Exchanges, online marketplaces where you will be able to shop for insurance, apply for subsidies, and even find out if you are eligible for Medicaid. So all of the players -- from consumers to insurers -- have a lot riding on how Exchanges are designed and operated. Do you know what your state is planning? If not, you should find out.

Meanwhile states are concerned that they will be bear the brunt of the health law's shortcomings even though those shortcomings are attributable to the federal law.

We should find out this week what the Supreme Court is going to do on the health reform lawsuits. We fully expect them to take up at least one of the cases focusing on the individual mandate, but will they also hear the challenge to Medicaid expansion, other issues? They're expected to decide this week.

Town halls in South LA are meant to help people find out what health plans they can enroll in, but the response is under-whelming. You have to wonder how they're being marketed.

Under health reform, children of low income state workers are allowed to sign up for the Children's Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).

In New York, people with developmental disabilities die too often of unnatural causes. Be outraged.

Some states and local governments are replacing full-time employees with contract workers who are cheap and don't get benefits. Is this fair to state employees? And most of all, is this fair to the people who need services and won't have an experienced worker (nurses, aides) caring for them.

Flu can be fatal in children with MRSA. Even healthy kids can succumb to flu. Yet another reason to get a flu shot. Meanwhile, kids are not getting the new pneumonia vaccine, also very important.

The LA Times has a series on diabetes today. First, the diagnosis and how your life should change once you get that diagnosis. The search for a cure using stem cell research. One-on-one coaching may help control the disease. And the link between diabetes and dementia. Type I glucose checks for school-aged kids.

New brain research helps us understand drug addiction as a chronic illness.

If we're always searching for self-improvement, do we lack self-acceptance? Such a smart point.

More people are landing in the ER after taking a muscle relaxant known as carisoprodol (Soma, Soprodol, Vanadom). It's intended for short-term use and doesn't mix well with other drugs.

Two-thirds of kids in middle school have sleep problems. That's huge. Kids need sleep.

Can music help emergency responders give CPR? Apparently so -- if you listen to the right beat.

Meanwhile, over 55,000 people in Connecticut have been without power for 9 days. It's inexcusable, and it's a health issue as critical as any other we have dealt with. Heads should roll -- but will they?

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

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