Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally Friday "Oh, man" Edition

Oh, man. I spent over $1000 fixing my work computer after it was attacked by perverse malware, and now I can't log on remotely from home, which means something's wrong on the work computer STILL. Oh, man.

And yet, I'm still here with the news.

Some glitches, some failures in the health reform law. The big deal is that Congress failed to include any appropriations for consumer assistance programs all over the country that were supposed to help people find insurance and even appeal insurance denials. Many of those programs are struggling, and Texas has complete closed its program. Then there was the 1099 reporting requirement and a glitch on Medicaid eligibility, both of which were fixed. And the CLASS Act -- long-term care -- has been deemed unaffordable for now. Those are relatively small issues, although the consumer assistance programs are critical. How Congress could have cut funding for something so critical and relatively inexpensive -- $30 million for all 50 states per year, which is a drop in the federal budget bucket -- I don't understand. Oh, man.

The Congressional Budget Office finds that some of the early pilot programs to improve care and cut costs in Medicare have not had any positive effect. Oh, man.

Lack of dental coverage sends patients to the ER for pain. Most people -- including me -- don't have dental coverage. Many go years without seeing a dentist, waiting until they are in pain. Then they go to an ER, which isn't going to do much with a dental problem. Oh, man.

The American Psychiatric Association is tinkering with its definition of autism -- and that may mean kids don't get the treatment and support they need. This is an outrage. It's APA statements that preclude many people from getting insurance coverage of residential treatment programs already. Now autism? Oh, man.

Suicide rates among active duty soldiers are at record highs. We owe these folks the treatment they need before things get this far. Oh, man.

Johnson & Johnson will pay $158 million to settle a case brought by the state of Texas for improperly marketing Risperdol to Medicaid recipients. Big pharma -- oh, man.

Washington Adventist Hospital denied visitation to a same sex partner. Visitation -- that's all. Oh, man.

A new drug combo for Hep C holds promise. And a new program for encouraging HIV testing called Testing Together encourages screening. A good oh, man (just a slight difference in tone).

Food stamp recipients challenge their critics to walk in their shoes. Newt Gingrich has been pounding them, as have others. I often say I wish anti-health reformers would sit in my chair for a day and hear what I hear, the secret tragedies of America. So I get this. Oh, man.

Many teens who got pregnant say they didn't know they could, so they didn't use birth control. Sounds like a failure of education to me. Oh, man.

The Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange board is muddling along, making major decisions without input from consumers. Oh, man.

And that's it for this morning. Let's hope next week is better than this one has been. Oh, man. Jennifer

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