Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday -- Counting Down

So now we know we're going to get the health reform decision on Thursday.  And I'm now laying odds on Chief Justice Roberts writing for the majority.  The only thing that's good about that is I'm also guessing he won't vote to overturn the whole law.  He's certainly concerned about the legacy of the Roberts Court and he knows that what happens with this case will be historic, no matter how it comes out.  Does the fact that he joined the majority in the Arizona immigration case, which deferred to federal powers, indicate that he may be deferential to an Act of Congress?  (I don't think so.)  Or will his conservative bent take the lead?  If so -- if he votes to strike down the individual mandate -- will the Court also strike down coverage of pre-existing conditions and the prohibition against using health status to calculate premium prices?  And, of course, that's the whole ball game for me -- I'm all about coverage of pre-existing conditions.  Let's see what the conventional wisdom is this morning.

Here's an interesting recap of the oral argument.  It was a lively bench, with the Justices speaking 43% of the time, with laughter increasing as the arguments wore on.  I remember thinking Justice Scalia's joking was a bit much, and I clearly recall Chief Justice Roberts saying "that's enough frivolity."  It was, indeed, more than enough, in my view.  And here's an interesting road-map to the decision, whatever it is.  Wondering what's taking so long?  Here's an insider's view on the last days before a big decision is announced.

No question the law has already benefited many Americans.  It's helped seniors pay for prescription drugs.  And without the law, the status quo of rising premiums, higher deductible plans, greater out of pocket costs would continue to make health care a privilege of wealth rather than a right to which we all are entitled.  And still, there are those telling deliberate, blatant lies about the law.  It's an outrage that public figures would knowingly, intentionally mislead the American public.  Scary, if you ask me.

In other news, proton pump inhibitors -- medication for gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD (otherwise known as heartburn) -- have serious side-effects, including anemia and poor absorption of some nutrients.  This is pretty big -- so many people (including me) are on these meds for life.  Can't live with them, can't live without them?

The rise of the walk-in clinic.  Progress?  My first thought is how would you get your medical records if you went to different clinics all the time.  Clearly, this is meant for a cold, not a chronic illness, where continuity of care matters.  What about do it yourself medical testing?  Can you interpret the results properly?

The US Preventive Services Task Force is urging doctors to do more to compel obese patients to recognize their problem and work towards a solution.  They should tell patients what diets work and encourage 12 - 26 week programs that help you get on a better track.

That's it for now.  Have a great day.  Jennifer

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