Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

As you know (below), the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the health reform law's constitutionality. Interestingly, the Court also agreed to hear the question of whether the case is really ready for consideration since the individual mandate doesn't take effect until 2014. We're thinking about writing what's called an amicus curiae brief -- a "friend of the court" brief -- to talk about the importance of covering pre-existing conditions. There will be over 5 hours of argument -- astoundingly long. Meanwhile, Justices Thomas and Scalia were the featured guests at a dinner sponsored by the law firms leading the charge against the law. Need I say more? Can we really take politics out of this decision?

Regardless of what the Court does, though, there are some changes occurring to health care in America that will not be rolled back. It's going to be an interesting time, to say the least. Florida wants the feds to waive the medical loss ratio (percentage of premium dollars spent on health care) requirement for that state. Since that provision has already begun to show that it reduces premiums, I can't imagine Florida's motivation here.

Staunch Republican Tom Coburn has released a report showing how much government money is going to millionaires. We have millionaires collecting unemployment, tax write offs -- all of which comes to about $30 billion. If you weren't mad before, I hope you are now. Is this a sign that the GOP is going to take a serious look at taxing the wealthy?

This is really fascinating. Kaiser Health News has compiled all of the health-related pitches aimed at the supercommittee to show how they're being pulled in many directions. It's even worse than I would have guessed.

House and Senate negotiators have reached a deal that would keep the federal government funded until December 16 and also fund 5 agencies through 2012.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of California has been sued for increasing deductibles in the middle of a policy year. That does seem wrong to me.

Would raising the age for Medicare eligibility really save money? The answer's not as clear as you might guess.

Alternative therapies sometimes help, and they're a cash business (since they're usually not covered by insurance). No wonder they are growing in popularity. Yoga doesn't cure back pain, but it can make you more functional.

An interesting study says doctors and patients see health care differently. Read this one. It's quite interesting.

Doctors who get paid for cardiac tests are more likely to order them.

Doctors can help us lose weight. But it takes time, and time is money.

Exercise helps fibromyalgia patients. It also helps us keep our brains healthy into our senior years.

Do you get the winter blues? Have you tried bright light therapy? Experts say it works as well as anti-depressants!

Family loans -- what happens after the lender dies? Here's an explanation from an elder law attorney.

Ever wonder why no two snowflakes are the same? Perhaps the same reason no two of us are the same.

And on that lovely note, have a great day. Jennifer

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