Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Musings

Mondays just come around too fast for me, and I have a busy week this week. So I better get going. Here's the news:

Congress needs to get serious about extending the payroll tax cut, unemployment, and the deferral of the Medicare physician reimbursement cuts. The GOP claims there will be quick action. Of course, there's still no agreement about how to pay for any of this.

Texas will not get a waiver from the medical loss ratio rules that are intended to help bring down premiums. Medical loss ratio is the percentage of premium dollars spent on health care. Health reform says that must be 80 or 85 percent. States were allowed to request waivers if the new rule would destabilize the state's market for health insurance. Texas made a request and the feds said no. Which is good because Texas is one of the states where we hear about the most suffering.

Your blood pressure should be taken in both arms, and if there's a significant difference between the two, that may be a symptom of vascular disease. A very inexpensive way to guard against a killer -- good advice.

Doctors, hospitals still make too many simple mistakes -- as simple as failing to wash their hands. The associated costs are part of the reason for high health care spending.

The Obama Administration's ruling that contraceptives have to be made available by all health plans is getting some push back at Catholic colleges. The church itself is pretty upset, as well. No surprise here.

More about Wellpoint's plan to compensate primary care doctors more to pay for care management. This is a really important experiment at innovation. Will care coordination pay off in the long run? I bet the answer's yes.

You want to know why your Crohn's disease (or any disease related to inflammation) gets worse when you're stressed? Here's a study that shows that stress activates the immune system, causing inflammation. The suggested response? Avoid relationships that are difficult and contentious. Yeah, right.

The wonderful Dr. Pauline Chen writes about how advertising affects the medications we take.

A new diabetes drug injected once a week wins FDA approval.

Here's why states are cracking down on pain meds -- dealers are getting so creative that they are opening their own pharmacies. And so the people who really need meds can't find a legit doctor to prescribe them. What a mess.

A group of workers at the FDA are suing the agency for monitoring their personal email. They were looking for communications with Congress. As a general rule, no employee has a right to privacy when using a work computer. Keep that in mind.

A blog may be therapeutic for teenagers. I know it is for me.

Caffeine may alter estrogen levels, although its effect is different depending on race and the researchers don't fully understand why.

And that's it for this morning. Have a great day. Jennifer

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