Friday, May 25, 2012

Finally Friday

Almost time for this old girl to hunker down and get some rest.  TG for three day week-ends!  But first, the news:

Battle lines are being drawn on the Bush tax cuts, which expire at the end of the year.  The GOP wants to extend them all; the Dems want to extend them only for people earning up to $1 million.  Either way, it will affect the deficit, which, in turn, affects health care spending.  So keep an eye on this one, folks.  It's going to be a big battle through the election.

A major initiative to move the elderly and disabled into the community and out of nursing homes has proven more difficult than anticipated.   The program is called Money Follows the Person.  The idea was to take the money Medicaid was paying for nursing homes and use it for housing and community supports.  Some states are doing well; others are moving slowly, having trouble assembling a statewide network of community supports.  We need to stay at it, though, because this program makes so much sense.  Nobody wants to be in a nursing home if they don't have to. 

Here's an exciting thought.  We all know that Congress is not going to approve universal healthcare, single payer, Medicare for All -- whatever you want to call it.  But one member of Congress -- Rep. Jim McDermott -- is proposing legislation that would allow states to request federal funds to start their own health care program. While the odds of passage are not great -- when was the last time Congress did something big? -- it's yet another way in which we may be able to reach the goal of universal coverage.  We need creative thinking, so we see this as a positive step.

The Senate passed the FDA reauthorization bill yesterdayThe House Committee already passed its version, which has broad bipartisan support.  So it appears that this may actually get done.  Surely, we need to do whatever we can to get new drugs to market without needless administrative delay. 

One of my favorites, Dr. Pauline Chen, writes about a play called Love Alone that's about the consequences of a grievous medical error.  The play, being staged in Providence, RI, is about the effects of medical error not only on the patient's family, but on that of the doctor, as well.  Sounds really wonderful.  Do you believe doctors stress like this over their mistakes?  Some do, some don't, is my guess.

And we have another installment from the blogger who's sharing her journey through a bone marrow transplant.  Today, she's talking about music.  And cancer.  Quite moving.

Is the iPhone the biggest thing for the blind since Braille?  That's the claim.  Apparently, there's a feature you can turn on that will tell you which app you're on and help you navigate it by touch. Check out the article for instructions. 

And there you go, another day's news.  Have a great day and a great week-end!  Jennifer

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