A three-day week-end, and YES, I am taking Monday off -- I need it! But first, I have to get through today -- starting with the news:
Contraceptive was the news of the day yesterday, as the House held a hearing on the President's policy requiring free coverage of contraceptives WITHOUT ANY INPUT FROM WOMEN! (Well, okay, two women testified against contraceptive coverage). The justification was that the hearing was about religious freedom, not about contraceptive coverage. But, of course, the issue involves a balancing of the two, and to ignore the importance of women's health was a sign that these guys just don't get it. The obvious wrongfulness of this led some Dems to walk out of the hearing. And then, to make things worse, later in the day, Rick Santorum's biggest donor and sometimes spokesman, Foster Friess, said he didn't know what all the fuss was about -- in his day, "gals" held an aspirin between their knees as birth control. Really? How'd that work for them? Some religious groups believe birth control is the same as abortion, although scientifically, this is not true, and this view is out of step with the majority of Americans -- and certainly, women. I assume no editorial comment is needed here since I imagine you groaning out loud as you read this.
Congress will vote on the package that extends the payroll tax, unemployment and Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors today, with the House voting early in the day and the Senate later. It's a bit of a nail-biter, but leadership seems to think they have the votes.
The Obama administration has concluded its review of 17 states' health reform waiver requests, denying Wisconsin's request for exemption from the medical loss ratio requirement (which requires 80 to 85 percent of premium dollars to be spent on health care), and partially granting a request from North Carolina. Waivers were to be granted if imposing the rule would substantially disrupt the insurance market in the state. The feds denied 10 requests and granted partial waivers to the remaining 7.
Okay-- hold onto your seats. An under-the-skin microchip delivers doses of medication. This could revolutionize treatment of illnesses that require constant delivery of meds -- starting with pain, and maybe even diabetes. Awesome. Here's more about how it works.
The FDA will reconsider a weight loss drug it previously rejected, recognizing that it's being used off-label and people are having great success with it.
Alabama is closing most hospitals for the mentally ill for budget reasons. And then we get calls from people who are going to out-of-network inpatient facilities because there are no in-network beds available -- and their insurance won't cover it because they went out-of-network. This country had better get its collective head on straight when it comes to mental health and substance abuse. Some people -- often young people, often suicidal -- need inpatient treatment on occasion. We can't make it impossible for them to get care.
And that's it for today. Have a great day and a great week-end. Jennifer