Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

This week already feels too long. I think it's anxiety about my scopes next Monday -- or more specifically, the prep on Sunday. But before that, the news:

A bipartisan proposal would extend the payroll tax cut and provide funding for roads and bridges -- the best way to create jobs in this economy. But will it pass? It's once again paid for by a tax surcharge on income over $1 million. This appears to be the only tax cut the GOP is against, although both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich support it. The GOP plans to offer their own proposal today, paying for the cut by cutting federal employee wages, cut Medicare for the wealthy. According to Politico, this is all posturing before the final push next week. Meanwhile, GOP Senator John Kyl says the only way we keep the payroll tax cut is if we renew the Bush tax cuts. Yup, those big tax cuts that favor the wealthy -- and that nobody has ever even tried to pay for.

Did you know that Medicare penalizes people who don't sign up when they first become eligible? It's really important to know how Medicare works if you're near eligibility. Also, Medicare is going to allow its data to be used to rate doctors and hospitals.

The health reform law is changing behavior - for the better. The Part D doughnut hole is a lot smaller. People are going for free preventive care. Meanwhile, a bill has been introduced that would allow cameras to broadcast the Supreme Court arguments on the health reform case.

A Senate panel today is hearing testimony on the proposed merger to ExpressScripts and Medco, two massive pharmacy benefit managers. Keep your eye on this one, folks -- this may dictate how you get your meds for the rest of your life.

A patient was removed from the liver transplant list because he uses medical marijuana. This is thoroughly outrageous! They say it's because marijuana might cause a problem post-transplant, but the drug counseling they want to force on the patient has nothing to do with mold; it's purely about treating medical marijuana -- prescribed by a physician -- as a street drug.

The shortage of nurses may be ending, as more nurses join the workforce.

Some employers base health insurance costs on salary -- you get paid more, you pay more. The wave of the future? Hmmm.

Understand the aging brain and take care of what you've got.

Should the "morning after pill" be available over the counter, on open shelves, so you don't have to discuss it with the pharmacist?

I'm not sure I buy this. This article says left-handed people have a greater chance of ADHD, mental illness. I know some pretty impressive left-handed people. Hmmm again.

And that's today's news -- another slow news day. Have a great one. Jennifer

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