Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm Back! Tuesday Tidbits

Good morning! I made it through my colonoscopy and upper endoscopy, only a little the worse for wear. Now, let's get down to business and the news:

The GOP bill to extend the payroll tax cut includes not only extended unemployment benefits, but it also would repeal portions of the health reform law that crack down on doctor-owned hospitals, which tend to be more expensive for insurers. It also would disqualify millionaires from unemployment and food stamps. There should be a vote in the House today. But according to Politico, neither party has the votes they need to pass this by the end of the week. And then there's the 2012 budget bill, which is being held up as leverage to get the payroll tax through. But here's a scary one -- the GOP is looking to take back health insurance subsidies -- which don't start being paid until 2014 -- to pay for the payroll tax cut. If you want affordable insurance, you need to be against this move. Speaker Boehner says the payroll tax cut will pass. He says most of the bills pay-fors were once supported by the President. But the White House says pushing the Keystone pipeline forward is a deal-breaker. Hospitals say the GOP bill will involve big Medicare provider cuts, and they are not happy.

Don Berwick, the visionary who recently stepped down from a position as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says we should not be blaming Medicare and Medicaid for high health costs -- it's about the health care delivery system, which is in desperate need of modernization.

Our friends at the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) urge the Secretary of HHS to consider our most vulnerable when deciding what should be included in the essential benefits package.

The General Accountability Office says health funding in the stimulus has created new jobs.

Drug shortages are harming people, including many with cancer who need their chemo drugs. The reasons are complicated and a bit uncertain.

Child homelessness is up 33% in 3 years. This is tragic. We must do better.

Diverticulitis may not require surgery, as new uses for drugs are discovered. Now, try getting your insurance company to pay for them!!! Meanwhile, bariatric surgery may be helpful for teens, but many insurers exclude them.

A doctor explains why it's worth it to spend money to try to save a life. Some say it's a waste when the person dies, but Dr. Bach says no.

Six months ago, I had never heard of PANDAS. Then it was written up in one paper ... now another ... and then today, the Wall St. Journal. It's a condition in which strep throat causes OCD and tics in kids.

Coffee may cut the risk of endometrial cancer in women. This coffee thing makes me nuts -- it's good for this and bad for that. I think this is just one of those things we're supposed to do in moderation.

I saw this yesterday -- a gene therapy has been used to treat hemophilia. The science is new and studies have to be completed, but what an exciting possibility!

Do you eat raw cookie dough? Read this and think again.

And there you go, your morning fix. Have a great day! Jennifer

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