Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Morning New Mommy Edition

I'm dedicating today's blog post to our former administrative assistant, Echo Kendall, who became a mom yesterday, on Mother's Day.  Little Urijah Tristan Johnson looks happy and healthy, as best I can tell from the photos.  It was hard not to tear up when I saw a picture of Echo holding him -- and Echo's sister Celeste, and Echo's mom Cindy, one of my dearest friends.  So congratulations to Echo and Berthel, and all the grandmas and aunts and cousins on the newest addition to a wonderful family.

Let's see what else is going on this Monday morning.

Interesting article in the NY Times about how slippery slope logic often leads us down a wrong path -- and worries that it will play a big part in the Supreme Court's health reform decision.  Really, can you imagine Congress passing a law requiring that we all buy broccoli?  C'mon, really?

GOP State officials are stalling on setting up health insurance exchanges or marketplaces where you will be able to compare and buy health insurance. The thing is that, whatever you believe about health reform, this is a really good idea.  Indeed, it was implemented years ago by the GOP state of Utah.  I get so many calls from people looking for insurance. I can tell them what to look for in a plan, but I can't tell them what's available in their state, or what it will cost.  Exchanges will change all that, giving consumers the power of choice for the first time when it comes to health insurance.  This is likely not part of the law that the Supreme Court will strike down.  It does not depend in any way on the individual mandate.  And if the states don't do it, the feds will step in and do it for them, so several states have plans to move quickly if this part of the law survives the Supreme Court.  I can tell you that, based on what we're going through in Connecticut, the decisions that have to be made to decide HOW to set up an exchange are hard ones.  States that think they can start in July and finish by the federal September deadline are bound to make mistakes, at best. 

The Rebates are coming, the Rebates are coming!!!  If your insurer is required to rebate part of your insurance premium because the medical loss ratio (percentage of premium dollar spent on health care) is too low, they will have to tell you it's due to the health reform law.  

The health care sector is growing jobs like mad, already lifting Pittsburgh out of recession.  Short-term, surely this is good.  But what if the health reform law is struck down?  What if government gets serious about cutting healthcare spending?  Will research funding dry up?  Should we build an economy based on a sector involving so many unknowns?

A bunch of websites ranks hospitals for quality.  These are worth bookmarking . . . just in case.

Nursing has changed with technology, but there will never be a substitute for the nurse's kind hand or soft assurances.  Anybody who interacts a lot with the health care system will tell you that nobody matters more than nurses, from the patient's perspective.  But we need more nurses, and it's a demanding profession.  Can it keep up with demand?

Americans are happier than ever, says a new Gallup poll.  Sometimes I read polls and wonder who they actually polled.  Because I'm not feeling this one -- are you?  Hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers have lost their benefits, for example.  I'm guessing Gallup didn't poll them.

And now I'm off to the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange Health Plan Advisory Committee meeting.  I don't have any idea how this is going to go, but I'm nervous.  Wish me luck!

And have a great day!  Jennifer

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