Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Gonna be a super busy day, ending with a talk at UConn Business School, which should be fun. But first, the news:

The Dems are moving on extending the payroll tax cut. They propose to pay for it with a tax on people earning over $1 million, so the GOP is against it -- big surprise. This is all kind of silly because the payroll tax goes into the Social Security trust fund, not the general treasury, so the issue of paying for it is really a non-issue. But this is our Congress.

Will the Supreme Court allow arguments in the health reform case to be televised? Probably not -- but if they do, you know I'll be stuck to a TV screen that day.

Medicare payments to doctors are set to drop by about 39% on January 1 if Congress doesn't act to delay the cuts, as they have done several times before. If they don't, look for more and more doctors to refuse to participate in Medicare -- a huge blow to a critical program. In good news, it appears that President Obama's nominee to take over the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is being well-received, even by the GOP.

Want to know what the automatic cuts are that will kick in because of the supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement? There's some pain in it for everyone.

A cure for AIDS? The stories of two patients suggest this may be a reality. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

States are being cautious in setting up exchanges in light of the possibility that the Supreme Court will strike down the law. Some states are moving ahead; others are waiting. My bet is that this part of the law does not get struck down. States should be moving. Meanwhile, the feds have denied applications for waivers from Indiana and Louisiana, who wanted out from under the medical loss ratio requirements (percentage of premium dollars spent on health care). Good decision.

I've been keeping away from campaign news, but this one is too good -- What do Obama, Romney and Gingrich have in common? They all favored health reform, including the individual mandate!

Four drugs case the most hospitalizations in older Americans -- Coumadin, insulin, and other blood thinning and diabetes meds.

Is your dentist over-treating you? I've thought this about mine for a long time.

A medical mystery, a diagnosis -- and then what?

Has a medical test result of yours ever gotten lost? I don't think this has ever happened to me, but I'd sure be unhappy if it did.

Tips on avoiding getting sick this winter. Number one: wash your hands.

Geriatricians -- under-utilized, ignored, but really important. They believe in having end of life discussions openly and frankly with patient and family.

Music therapy can retrain an injured brain. It's not bad for a healthy one, either!

Generic Lipitor goes on sale this week. Read the instructions.

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

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