Friday, September 7, 2012

Finally Friday!

Another really long, short week.  Got some work done, but we have a docket of insurance appeals right now as long as your arm.  Sort of intimidating.  Just have to take them one step at a time, like life in general.  Anyway, the news first.

Interestingly, most of the talk about health care at the two conventions came in the form of personal stories of people who've been up against the system.  It's deeply personal.  Does the deeply personal have a place in politics?  I believe the distinction between personal and political is a construct, not a real distinction.  Our policies are driven by our personal experience.  Stories are remarkably effective tools for changing minds.

$750 billion per year on medical waste. Administrative crapola, fraud, duplication of tests, avoidable errors -- it's huge, and we should be focusing right there when we start talking about health care costs.  The Institute of Medicine says our system needs a complete overhaul.  Can you imagine going to buy a car and not asking what it will cost?  Why not ask about labs, surgery, CT scans?

Our friend Nina Bernstein has written about long-term care and the cost of Medicaid for the elderly in nursing homes.  The more we prolong our lives, the more some of us will need nursing home care.  How to pay for it, though?  Medicaid isn't all about moms and kids.  And the cost of providing long-term care to the baby boomers is pretty daunting.

The great Dr. Pauline Chen writes about safety net hospitals.  You know -- the County hospitals that you avoid under all circumstances?  The assumption is that, because they're run down, the care is awful, but it's not true. 

An interesting essay by a woman who doesn't like the phrase "cancer survivor."  Neither do the members of her support group.  Maybe cancer "treatment" survivor, she says, but not "cancer survivor."  Different take -- interesting.

What happens when a Catholic hospital merges with a non-religious one?  The merged entity has to follow the Catholic Directives, which means not even offering counseling on birth control.  We're having a heck of a battle in Connecticut about one such merger.  Thanks to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women's Teresa Younger for fighting the good fight on behalf of us all.

And that it.  Check back later to the answer to yesterday's NY Times puzzle.  And have a great day!  Jennifer

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