Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

Whew -- what a whirlwind yesterday was.  Today promises to be equally challenging.  So I'd better get right to the news.

A new poll says most Americans expect the Supreme Court Justices to vote their politics in the health reform case. And most people want at least the individual mandate to be stricken down.  I wonder whether those people would feel that way if they knew that we spend $43 billion to pay for care for people without insurance, that the "penalty" for not buying insurance is all of $95; and that we can't cover people with pre-existing conditions without an individual mandate.  But since nobody's teaching, people are listening to mainstream media and they don't understand.  I wish I knew how to reach them.  Meanwhile, the fuss about President Obama's comments on the case simply won't die

A jury awarded an elderly woman $34.3 million from a long-term care insurers in damages for not covering her stay in an assisted living facility.  Good for her!  Long-term care policies often take every possible opportunity to deny coverage.  Maybe now they'll think twice. 

The health cuts in the GOP budget approach $3 trillion!  You're not going to do that without depriving somebody of care.  It would turn Medicare into a voucher system, leaving seniors to find their own insurance and pay premiums that exceed their voucher, pay deductibles, copays and coinsurance -- a huge cost-shift to seniors.  Medicaid would become block grants, and health reform would be repealed.  Happy now? 

Meanwhile, more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in Accountable Care Organizations that stress care coordination, with resulting cost savingsTwenty-seven applications have been approved.  To learn about Accountable Care Organizations, go here.

Drug shortages are plaguing hospitals.  Anethesia.  Cancer drugs.  Is this a real shortage, or are drug makers holding back to drive up prices?  I hate to think that. 

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers.  But only if you catch it early.  So screenings are critical.  When doctors offer only colonoscopy, patients are less likely to get screened, but if offered options, they are more compliant. I can't blame anybody for hating colonoscopies.

Should the government pay for prenatal care for undocumented immigrants?  Nebraska's anti-abortion faction is split on this one.

Doctors learning how to cook?  I guess this is a way to teach them good nutrition, which benefits their patients.  So maybe this is a good thing?  Interesting. 

And that's it for this morning.  I'll be out much of the day -- wave if you see me whizzing by!  And have a great day!  Jennifere

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