Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Musings

I could have slept longer, but then who would have brought you today's news? So here it is:

The supercommittee is thinking about deferring decisions on how to overhaul the tax code. They would decide how much new revenue to raise, but they wouldn't decide the details of how to get there until later. Instead, they would let the tax committees in Congress re-write the code, thereby guaranteeing that this mess would extend well into the Presidential campaign. The GOP is willing to close some loopholes affecting the wealthiest Americans, but they are not willing to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire; indeed, they want to CUT the top tax rate from 35% to 28% (if the Bush tax cuts expired, the rates for top earners would go from 35% to 39.6%. Can the supercommittee cut a deal in only the 10 days that remain? The President called the co-chairs over the week-end to urge them to get the job done, and warned that he will not sign off on un-doing the triggers that are supposed to kick in if the supercommittee fails. Politico says this is the week we'll see movement if they're going to reach a deal. The politics of whether or not a deal is good news in the upcoming elections is complicated. If the supercommittee fails, the triggers don't take effect until 2013 -- but the next year will be a long battle to see if they really take effect. There's a very scary chance that the stock market will crash if there's no deal. One possibility is that wealthy seniors will be expected to pay more for Medicare.

The NY Times says that, if the Supreme Court decides the health reform law, they will be determining the limits of what the federal government can make us do. I don't think they have to reach that huge question; all they have to decide is whether this law and only this law is constitutional. Here's an interesting piece on the parallels between the Supreme Court's current task of ruling on the health reform law, and a 1930's Supreme Court that had to decide on the constitutionality of Social Security.

Maryland has started a new health program in which primary care providers care for patients on an ongoing basis, not only when they have a problem. Teams focus on patients with chronic conditions, helps develop individualized treatment plans, and coordinates care with experts.

The White House will be spending $1 billion to expand the health care workforce. Grants will go to providers and provider groups who have new ideas about how to care for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Fewer Americans have health insurance through their employers, according to a new poll.

People on both Medicaid and Medicare are bounced around between the two programs, getting in the way of getting them the care they need.

1 in 10 people could have diabetes by 2030. That's a staggering number -- and the cost is staggering, too. And here's one woman's struggle to avoid getting diabetes -- a lesson for us all.

Childhood sexual abuse may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. As if the abuse itself were not enough.

New guidelines recommend testing kids ages 9 - 11 for cholesterol.

Nearly one quarter of workers are depressed, says a new study. This doesn't surprise me.

A high fiber diet can thwart colon cancer. Important, but I'm not sure this is new news.

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

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