YAY -- Friday!!! Can't kick back yet -- first, the news:
3.6 million Americans on Medicare paid $2.1 billion less in prescription drug costs in 2011 due to health reform. That's not chump change.
Still, anti-reformers are still taking shots. Now, a court in Mississippi will hear a case that argues that the individual mandate violates the right to medical privacy. Mississippi is one of the most backward states in the country when it comes to health insurance. Blue Cross dominates the market and the Insurance Department is scared of them. There are no external appeals, no rate review -- and no options for people who can't get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. For that state -- of all states -- to try to get out of implementing health reform -- well, Mississippians should be mad.
The conferees who are supposed to be negotiating the payroll tax cut extension are having a hard time staying on subject, discussing pretty much everything other than the payroll tax. The Senate Dems are threatening to move forward with their own bill if the conferees don't get on track. I foresee another bruising mess at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, remember the fight over raising the debt limit? Congress created a supercommittee to identify $1.5 trillion in cuts, and if they failed, there would be automatic cuts to many programs? And then the supercommittee failed -- and guess what? Congress -- especially the GOP -- isn't very happy about those automatic cuts. They want to change them. Buyer's remorse, or something like that.
The outcry over Susan B. Komen Foundation's decision to cut its ties with Planned Parenthood continues to grow. Komen is digging itself an ever-deeper hole, though. At first, they said they were not going to fund any organization under investigation, and since one lone anti-choice Congressman is investigating Planned Parenthood, they had to de-fund. Now, they are saying they are shifting their money to outfits that can perform mammograms, whereas Planned Parenthood only refers for mammograms.
Advocates here in Connecticut are battling a policy that denies coverage of "habilitation" versus "rehabilitation." In other words, they will cover treatments that seek to restore something that was lost due to illness or injury, but they won't cover treatments that help mostly kids learn new skills -- treatments for anything from spina bifida to learning disabilities, for example.
Federal officials have now formally recommended that boys be vaccinated for the human papilloma virus and that diabetics be vaccinated for hepatitis B. Have you been vaccinated?
This is so moving. A medical school professor has videotaped his cancer journey -- wanting to teach us all how it goes. Meanwhile, a young girl has survived a 6 organ transplant. There's a lot wrong with our health care system, but there's also a lot right.
And that's it for this morning. Have a great day and a great week-end. Jennifer