Friday, August 31, 2012

Finally Friday

Ahhhh.  A three-day week-end, and much needed.  But first, the news:

Paul Krugman on Ryan's Medicare plan.I'm not saying a word -- just read it.  And here's Ezra Klein on Ryan's claim that the health reform law is a "new entitlement we didn't even ask for."  Actually, President Obama promised it, we elected him, and so yeah, a whole lot of us did ask for it -- and it's not an entitlement program, either.  It's just a different way of buying health insurance.  And here's a Q & A on both parties' plans for Medicare.

50 million people are uninsured.  The state with the largest number of uninsureds is . . . TEXAS! I could have told you that.  I think we get more calls from Texas than anywhere else in the country. 

So the California Medical Association and some other providers sue Aetna because Aetna allegedly threatens patients who want to see out of network doctors.  Then Aetna refuses to negotiate rates with these doctors, saying it's sort of hard to negotiate with people who are suing you.  Meanwhile, patients are stuck in the middle and may even have to change doctors if Aetna and their doctors don't come to agreement on reimbursement rates.  These disputes are happening more and more. 

California Medicaid (called Medi-Cal) has a pilot program called Partners for Children, through which a child with a life-threatening illness is paired up with a liaison to manage medical care and insurance, and an assigned nurse available 24/7.  How wonderful.  Not only does it help the child and her family, but it also saves money.  This is what insurers need to do more of.

A gripping tale of what it's like to do heart transplants on children. Sometimes, when I'm working on a health insurance appeal that's life and death, I feel incredible pressure.  But I never actually have a person's heart in my hands.  The teams who do transplants -- especially on children -- are amazing.

The FDA approved a drug to ease constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.  So many people suffer from these ailments -- I hope this drug lives up to its promise.

Senators Blumenthal and Gillibrand held a hearing in Connecticut on Lyme disease yesterday.  Such a hard issue.  The published studies don't bear out the patients' clinical experience, and yet these patients clearly are sick.  But getting insurance to cover treatment exceeding 30 days of antibiotics  is nearly impossible.

And that's it for today.  Have a great day and a great week-end!  Jennifer

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