Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

Running fast this morning, and extra early.  Working on an emergency insurance appeal, have a meeting outside the office from 9-11, so squeezing in a quick blog post for you today.  Today's Tuesday, so the biggest health news day of the week -- lots to tell you about, and much of it is really interesting. 

A new report written by a conservative economist says health reform will increase the debt.  That contradicts all previous reports, including the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which says health reform helps cut the deficit -- and repeal would be a budget buster.  He says that, by extending the solvency of Medicare, health reform increases the deficit by increasing spending.  Huh?  So preventing Medicare from running out of money is a bad thing how?  I swear that's what he says.  Read it yourself!

The CT General Assembly's Government Administration and Elections Committee has voted out a bill that would add a consumer and a small business rep to the Board of Connecticut's Health Insurance Exchange.  Took them long enough.  The bill would also give CT's Healthcare Advocate, Vicki Veltri, a vote on the Board (she's currently a non-voting member).  Today's the first meeting of the Exchange Advisory Committees -- I'm on the Consumer Experience and Outreach Committee and the Health Plan Qualifications Committee, which meets tomorrow.

Equally importantly, food stamps helped reduce the rate of poverty during the recession.  What's more important to you -- the amount of the debt or the poverty rates?

Hackers somehow found their way into Utah's Medicaid records, exposing the personal information of about 780,000 patients. Why would someone want to steal data on poor people?  I can at least understand the desire to steal credit card numbers, but Medicaid recipients are poor, so why target them?  I'm sure there's some sick reasoning behind this one.

The CDC says the birthrate for US teens is the lowest ever.  Now, that's great news.  It comes as no surprise to me that the highest teen birthrate is in Mississippi

Fascinating story by our friend, Ariel Levin Becker, at the CT Mirror.  A study was done to see if imaging (CT scans, MRIs, etc.) is over-utilized or under-utilized.  It found that, in places where there is high unnecessary imaging, there's also high appropriate imaging; and where there's low unnecessary imaging, there's low imaging use.  If the places with inappropriate rates of imaging cut the inappropriate uses, it might risk losing some of the appropriate uses.  So what's the right answer?

Geriatric emergency rooms?  Why not?  Specialized emergency rooms for the elderly -- quiet, calm -- because of health reform's emphasis on patient satisfaction.  Yet another great outgrowth of health reform.  But here's a sad story about one elderly woman and the world around her.  Really, I'm not looking forward to old age at all.  But one good thing -- hearing aids are getting far better, although also far more expensive.  And depression in seniors can be treated.  And here are some life lessons from seniors.

Autism science is moving faster than everOver $1 billion has been spent on researchIt may be linked to obesity during pregnancy.  With the rate of autism climbing, there's more pressure on researchers to figure out the cause.  It's great that progress is being made.

New research on how pets can enrich children's lives.  I don't know about kids, but I can tell you that, without my feline Emily, I would be the most alone person on the planet.  She's the best friend I could ever want and I honor her for her many gifts to me.

New treatment for sleep apnea, which contributes to everything from obesity to heart disease.  Standard treatment is this awful CPAP machine -- a mask over your face held in place by straps that go over and around your head.  I took one look at it and said "please take it away."  I couldn't stand the thought of it.  But this new device -- more expensive, of course -- just places a patch over your nose.  That, I think maybe I could live with.  I'm glad to hear they're working on options.

Do you review your medication regimen with your doctor periodically?  You should.  It might improve your health.

So interesting -- some people feel pain more than others -- and now, it appears, there may be a genetic link. Hmmm.

Depression and other mental health problems are as much diseases of the body as they are of the mind.

A new report says screening smokers for lung cancer would be a good value.

And that is today's news -- certainly enough to keep you busy while I get back to my real work!  Have a great day!  Jennifer

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