Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

I'm off to testify today on a bill that would add consumers to the Board of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange. Bet you know where I come out on this. But first, the news:

On this Valentine's Day, WaPo examines love. It's a mystery, for sure, what makes us fall into and out of love, why we act sort of crazy around it. Some say it's all in our brains.

Well, well. The House GOP has decided to stop arguing about the payroll tax cut extension -- they're letting that move forward without knowing how it will be paid for, although negotiations still move on over extended unemployment benefits and putting off the reimbursement rate decrease for doctors in Medicare. Maybe this is a good thing -- or maybe this is a sign that they are not going to compromise over unemployment and Medicare reimbursement rates. Mostly, I think they just knew they could not raise taxes on the middle class as we head to the election. But Dems want to keep the three issues tied together, fearing they won't get the other two issues done if the payroll tax goes forward alone.

The President released his 2013 budget yesterday. The GOP was blasting it before it was even introduced. The President proposed increasing taxes on investment income and cutting military spending. He also would adopt the "Buffett rule," which would set a 30% income tax on income over $1 million. The budget includes $864 million to set up health insurance Exchanges, a core piece of health reform.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services contributes $9 million in funding to encourage doctors to work in underserved areas.

The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Pool has attracted fewer people than anticipated, but states are still running through their allotted grants due to the extremely high health costs of people with pre-existing conditions.

The Pentagon wants to raise health insurance fees on some working retirees to help with the budget cuts. Vets say they will fight this.

The LA Times's David Lazarus says the birth control controversy shows the need to abandon employer-based health insurance. Interesting argument from a smart guy. What do you think? It may be that this is happening, like it or not; for the third straight year, employer-based insurance is on the decline.

The feds have recovered a record number of health care fraud judgments. For me, this is step one in how to control health care costs.

Soon there will be an app instead of a shrink! Scientists are at work on an app that will help deal with depression and anxiety. Just think of the money you would save on shrink bills! (*kidding* -- no app could ever substitute for my therapist).

Going to college with a chronic illness? Here are some survival tips from a Crohn's patient.

Do you like new things, crave taking risks? Novelty-seeking may be a predictor of well-being. This actually makes sense to me. I know how much energy I spend trying to fight change; I'd surely be better off if I could embrace it.

A little more on Jonathan Gruber's "comic book" that explains health reform. It's really good -- I wish it were free so everybody could read it.

Will a worm help us overcome autoimmune diseases? This theory has been floating around for several years -- you eat the eggs, the eggs hatch, and the worms do whatever they do so your immune system works better. It's been working in MS and Crohn's disease in small studies. I'm not sure I'm ready to try it yet, but hey -- whatever works!

Colon cancer risks can be cut greatly with prevention. HAVE THAT COLONOSCOPY.

A new study finds no benefits in B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids in preventing cancer.

Scientists zap the brain to get with the flow. The "flow" is that term scientists use for that state of focus, when you're in the zone and everything's clicking. Can it be induced?

Ever think of going to a dental school for dental care? It's way less expensive.

An increasing number of women choose home birth, but will insurance cover it? It may save you money.

The relationship between soy and breast cancer is uncertain.

Stem cells regrow heart tissue in a small study.

High calorie intake is linked to mild memory lost in the elderly. Put down that muffin!

Are your kids getting enough sleep? What's enough?

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

1 comment:

  1. I really like Jonathan Gruber's / Nathan Schreiber's cartoon book.