Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

It's Wednesday, so here's the news:

We all know about the Supreme Court's case challenging the individual mandate. However, yesterday, 26 states filed a brief challenging the authority of the federal government to require the states to expand Medicaid. It wasn't a good sign when the Supreme Court agreed to consider this question and I'm nervous -- this is so critical for people who can't afford insurance even with a subsidy. In most states, childless adults who are not on Social Security disability cannot get Medicaid. The Medicaid expansion, set to take place in 2014, was supposed to change that, ensuring that poorer adults also would be covered. But Medicaid is funded jointly by the feds and the states, although the feds would pick up the cost of the expansion at least early on. Of course, states can opt out of participating in Medicaid at all, but the states argue that isn't much of a choice since Medicaid is so critical to the health of millions of Americans. This could be the sleeper issue that really hurts health reform.

The Wall St Journal is taking a poll -- should doctors communicate with patients via email? So far, the votes are overwhelmingly yes.

Marijuana does not impair lung function like tobacco does, says a new study.

Americans are stressed, but getting used to it. We've adapted. Hmmm.

This is really interesting. An interactive tool that allows you to calculate your life expectancy so doctors, patients, and families can make better, more informed treatment choices.

Decorative water walls -- you know, those fake indoor waterfalls -- pose a health threat to patients with low immune systems. One appears to have been the trigger for an outbreak of Legionaire's disease.

One in six adults is a binge drinker. This is some serious drinking -- more than once a week, and about 8 drinks at a time.

And that's it -- a slow news day, at least in health care. Have a great day. Jennifer

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