Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

I'm deep into interviewing for a new administrative assistant as the work piles up. So I'm going to get right to the news:

How long can states block the implementation of health reform? Some say if the Supreme Court upholds the law, they have to move forward with implementation, but others are bound and determined to refuse. If you live in Virginia and have a pre-existing condition, how about you write to your Attorney General, Ken Cucinelli, and tell him you'd like to be able to buy insurance so he should get with the program?

One in five families struggle with medical debt, and half of those struggling can't afford even to make payments. We just can't get to 2014 and subsidies to help buy insurance soon enough.

According to AARP, the price of popular drugs rose by 26% despite the fact that the price of generics continues to fall. If we don't get a handle on this, we are never going to get health care costs under control.

Medicare is changing their explanations of benefits to make them easier to read so beneficiaries can spot fraud and help root it out. All insurers should do this. Health care fraud is a huge cost, and patients can be part of the solution.

Interesting -- an ICU where patients are monitored electronically, remotely. Nurses in one location can monitor patients at 3 hospitals, and if there's a problem with heart rate or breathing, they can alert an on-site nurse. Hmmm.

Vets with mental health problems are more likely to abuse narcotic pain meds. Vets with PTSD are more prone to addiction, but they are prescribed pain meds more often than others. Suicides and overdoses become common.

There's a lot to be said about dying well, say two new books. We should have the care we want -- but no more than that. Palliative care and quality of death when quality of life no longer is an option.

A consumer group warns that colas contain a cancer-causing agent. This group has petitioned the FDA on this issue before, but their studies bear out that there's a problem here. I don't drink soda for a bunch of reasons, especially because it's not good on my gut. But if I did, I'd be giving that another thought after reading this.

Parents of twins with a very rare disease called Niemann-Pick Type C disease are fighting to get FDA approval of medication that may help. They've already gotten approval to use one compound that seems to be slowing the progression of the disease. But they will not stop until there's a cure. Amazing.

The pros and cons of antidepressant use during pregnancy.

Estrogen alone is linked to lower rates of breast cancer. For years, we've been told that estrogen and progesterone together were bad for us, but the question has remained about estrogen alone. This new study is the strongest one yet.

A retirement home that had a policy allowing only healthy seniors to congregate in the dining hall has changed its rules, inviting disableds to join. Sort of. Hmmm.

And there you go, today's news. Have a great day! Jennifer

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