Friday, March 2, 2012

Finally Friday Edition

Well, it looks like we made it to Friday yet again. Another grueling week we've had. One more shot at the news:

The Blunt Amendment -- which would have allowed ANY employer to refuse insurance coverage of ANY health care service they found to be religiously OR MORALLY objectionable -- was defeated pretty much along party lines, with 3 Dems voting in favor (Manchin of WV, Nelson of NE, Casey of PA) and one GOP-er -- the wonderful Olympia Snowe of Maine, who is retiring from the Senate due to all the partisan crap -- voted against. The fight over contraceptive coverage is not over, but at least we made it past this hurdle.

America's views on health reform are still mixed, largely because many of them don't understand it. There's no question that it's already helping people -- 1 million young adults to age 26 have insurance; seniors are paying less for drugs; there is free coverage of preventive care in Medicare and commercial insurance -- and no question that it will help millions of people get insurance in 2014, when people with pre-existing conditions will be able to buy insurance and there will be subsidies to help pay the premiums. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday said he would not seek to vote on repeal of health reform until after the Presidential election, and he got blasted for it, and has now pledged to repeal the law. Of course, any votes on repeal are symbolic -- that's not a bill the President would sign. Still, the GOP will make March the "repeal Obamacare" month, to coincide with the Supreme Court arguments.

How honest do you want your doctor to be with you about your medical condition? The wonderful Dr. Pauline Chen writes of her struggles to achieve the right balance between full disclosure and not scaring people to death. And me? I want to know it all.

A stark portrait of poverty in America, and just how hard it is to break free of it. Before you jump on the blame-the-victim bandwagon, read this article.

The "sandwich generation," raising kids while caring for elderly parents -- a growing trend.

A mobile euthanasia team has launched in the Netherlands. Do people have the right to die when they choose? Under what circumstances? In the Netherlands, the view appears very different from that of Americans.

Our friend Susan Campbell writes about how hard it is to find placements for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It's getting harder amidst budget cuts and soaring costs.

And that, my friends, is the news. The NY Times hasn't posted the answer to yesterday's medical puzzle yet, but I'll try to check later and see if it's up yet. In the meantime, have a great day! Jennifer

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