Monday, August 20, 2012

I Really Hate Mondays

I didn't mind working until 9 pm on Friday because I knew I had the next two days off.  And when I say off, I mean really off -- pretty much spending my time resting, sleeping, watching mediocre TV that I've recorded over the past week(s), doing nothing more than checking email twice a day and going grocery shopping.  It feels so good to be able to stay in bed as long as I want to.  But then comes Monday, and although I'm running later than usual, were it up to me, I'd still be in bed, sleeping.  Unfortunately, I told several people to call me on Monday -- people who really need help, including one who really needs help quickly.  And so my conscience would not allow me to sleep in any later than I did.  And here I am, my first blog post for the week, but really, I'd love nothing more than to go back to bed.  WAKE UP! I attempt to command myself, but the pull to be prone is so strong.  Maybe the news will get my juices flowing.

Poverty in America brings with it a plague of what are called neglected tropical diseases -- dengue fever, cysticerosis, murine typhus and more.  These are diseases we expect to see in what we call developing countries.  But in the US, 2.8 million children live in households with income of less than $2 per person per day.  Poverty rates in Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama are as high as 20 percent.  In America, the richest country in the world.  We should be ashamed.  Sadly, only some of us are.

The Presidential campaigns won't talk about that, though.  Instead, Romney/Ryan will continue to accuse President Obama of raiding Medicare to fund health reform when, in fact (1) health reform does not reduce Medicare benefits -- it uses savings from lowering reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage plans, private HMOs making a profit on Medicare, and slows the rate of growth of provider reimbursement; and (2) Ryan's budget would take the exact same amount of money from Medicare and use it to pay down the budget deficitRomney/Ryan are focusing on the fact that their plan would not affect anybody over age 55, so seniors needn't worry.  Meanwhile, the Obama campaign focuses on the savings seniors already have felt with the phase-out of the prescription drug doughnut hole.  Want the facts?  Try this piece from the non-partisan Kaiser Health News.

Maryland hospitals are looking to re-balance income, lowering prices for Medicare and Medicaid and raising prices for commercial insurance.  Apparently, Medicare and Medicaid pay more in Maryland than in most states, and private insurance pays less, so the hospitals are looking at correcting that trend.

Apps that play doctor?  Coming soon, apps you will be able to download to track things like blood glucose and heart rate.  The idea is that doctors will prescribe them and insurance companies will foot the bill.  Please don't ask me to appeal for you when your insurer denies coverage.  We're a long way from insurance covering an app.  But the FDA actually already approved one as a medical device, so maybe we're not as far from that as I would have thought.

If you have a defibrillator implanted, you need to check with your doctor about the brand and make sure it's not part of a recall of devices made by St. Jude's Medical that appear to be defectiveThe FDA wants doctors to start x-raying patients to check their leads -- we're talking 80,000 patients -- but they won't necessarily do anything for patients with the defective leads except keep close watch on them.  Sounds like a mess to me -- but you should check with your doctor for more information.

A USA gold-medal soccer player comes out with her story of living with lupus -- and her goal of finding a cure for the disease.

And that's it for this Monday morning.  I'm no closer to being happy it's Monday, but I am wide awake now and ready to tackle the day.  Have a great one!  Jennifer

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