Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Themes

Well, turns out my crappy feeling yesterday was an adverse reaction to a new drug. Back to the drawing board -- but a good reminder. If you're taking a new drug and you start to feel unwell, consider whether it's the med doing the damage. The adverse reaction I had was not listed on the label, but when I told my doctor, her response (via email) was STOP! But it's up to us to identify those symptoms and reach out to our doctors and ask -- and not take any more of the medication until we get a response.

And after that cautionary tale, here's the news:

Nearly 500 state legislators will file a brief today in the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold the individual mandate -- including legislators from the 26 states challenging the law.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard argument in a case that asks whether state employees are entitled to the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Let's hope they get this right. Because here's one they got wrong. If you work for a religious institution, you may not have any rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act or other anti-discrimination laws, according to a Supreme Court decision handed down yesterday. The ruling will NOT apply to people who don't do religious-oriented work, but this teacher -- who gave religious instruction for 45 minutes each day, and the rest of her day was spent on secular teaching -- was a "called" teacher, and that was enough for her to fall into the "ministerial exception." This is a huge step backwards for people who work for religious institutions.

5% of patients account for HALF of the health care costs in America in 2009. About $90,000 per person in the top 1%, which accounted for 22% of health care spending. Who are these folks? Women. Elderly. White. People "in poor health" -- people with chronic illnesses.

A report shows that narcotic prescriptions rose sharply in New York and the New York Attorney General is using it to support a narcotic tracking system. Watch out, New Yorkers. If you think it's hard to find a pain management doctor now, and if the experience of other states is any indication, this can cause you real problems. Write your state's Attorney General NOW and make sure that the law includes protections for legitimate pain patients.

Should doctors consider cost when making treatment recommendations? The American College of Physicians says it's the only ethical thing to do. Read what doctors think.

Medicare Advantage Plans are using gym memberships to entice enrollees -- is that cherry-picking the healthy patients, which is against the law?

Medical schools are starting to teach alternative medicine. Wonderful!

A hormone secreted during exercise may explain why exercise helps to fight obesity and diabetes.

And that's today's news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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