Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health Reform And The Specter Of 1994

From the New Republic...

It's becoming increasingly obvious that not only wholesale Republican opposition, but Democratic divisions, are risking the enactment of health reform legislation this year. Some of those divisions are rooted in relatively narrow objections this or that bill--e.g., jurisdictional squabbles between committees or between House and Senate approaches--or this or that provision--e.g., union opposition to taxation of high-end employer-sponsored health benefits. But the bigger division which falls roughly along ideological lines involves "moderate" Democrats (sometimes, as in last week's Senate "gang of six," working with like-minded Republicans) who seem to prefer delaying action on health reform to enactment of anything that vastly increases federal budget deficits, fails to reduce health care inflation, or exposes Democrats to conservative attacks on "big government."

Study: Pollution in the Womb Lowers IQ

From CBS...

Researchers for the first time have linked air pollution exposure before birth with lower IQ scores in childhood, bolstering evidence that smog may harm the developing brain.

The results are in a study of 249 children of New York City women who wore backpack air monitors for 48 hours during the last few months of pregnancy. They lived in mostly low-income neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. They had varying levels of exposure to typical kinds of urban air pollution, mostly from car, bus and truck exhaust.

World swine flu death toll tops 700

From the Guardian...

More than 700 people have died from the swine flu virus worldwide since H1N1 emerged in April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

S. Africa Stops Funding for AIDS Vaccine

From CBS...

South Africa has stopped funding research on an AIDS vaccine, a leading scientist said Monday, even as a major vaccine trial on humans began in the country ravaged by the world's worst AIDS epidemic.

Healthcare reform: More raw deal than New Deal

From Salon...

We need universal, citizen-based healthcare. It doesn't look like Obama and Congress are ready to give it to us.

Health Care for Dummies

From the Washington Post...

"We need to bring new language to this debate," Republican message man Alex Castellanos wrote in a memo to fellow GOP strategists this month. "If we paint the house the same color, no one will notice anything has changed: We will still be the same, outdated Republicans who have no new ideas and oppose everything."

Castellanos, a consultant to the Republican National Committee, offered poll-tested language that the party could use to kill President Obama's health-care legislation in Congress. "If we slow this sausage-making process down, we can defeat it," he reasoned.

Health Timeline on Life Support

From Roll Call...

With prospects slipping for Senate action on health care this month, House Democrats are lowering expectations that they will move their own version of a sweeping overhaul before taking off for a monthlong August recess.

Obama takes healthcare debate and runs with it

From the L.A. Times...

The president becomes more involved in rallying the public and Congress behind a healthcare overhaul. Like in a campaign, he will take his case to the American people.

Lupus drug passes key test, researchers say

From the L.A. Times...

The experimental treatment Benlysta greatly reduced symptoms of the autoimmune disorder in a test, says Human Genome Sciences. The findings offer hope that a 50-year drought in new drugs may end.

Gibbs Says White House Wants Pre-Recess Action on Health Bills

From Roll Call...

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reiterated that President Barack Obama wants initial bills passed in the House and the Senate by the August recess, but without the type of insistence White House officials have used in earlier statements.

Health Journal - Ear Infection Vaccine

From ONN...

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital are working on an alternative to shots and other treatments to treat ear infections in children.

The new method would involve just a single drop of liquid, simply rubbed onto the outside of the ear. And best of all, it's a vaccine designed to stop ear infections before they ever start.

Monday, July 20, 2009

N.C. high-risk pool an option for many seeking health insurance

From the Star News...

Even as Washington lawmakers attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system to make insurance attainable for more people, a new state program to cover those considered high risk has been quietly growing its rolls since starting in January.

South Africa launches AIDS vaccine clinical trials

From the Associated Press...

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa announced the launch of clinical trials of the first AIDS vaccines created by a developing country with assistance from the U.S. on Monday.

It represented a feat by scientists who overcame skepticism from colleagues and from some political leaders who shocked the world with unscientific pronouncements about the disease.

Read more

Britain's swine flu advice confuses public

From the Associated Press...

LONDON — Health officials in Britain have issued a torrent of conflicting advice on swine flu, telling people to avoid travel, stay away from crowds and even advising women to delay getting pregnant until the virus subsides.

Other health experts said Monday the advice risked scaring and confusing the public and was a complete overreaction to a virus that so far remains mild.

Read more

William Kristol | Kennedy: Let’s Ration Health Care

From the Washington Examiner...

Newsweek Managing Editor Daniel Klaidman explains that his magazine decided to ask Sen. Ted Kennedy to author a cover piece on health care, because “his absence during this historic debate had been so palpable, yet here was a way for this respected voice on health care to weigh in and be part of the national conversation at a critical moment.”

Well, Sen. Kennedy has
weighed in, and he may have helped doom Obamacare.

Obamacare: The fast and the furious

From the Washington Examiner...

The health care testimony of the director of the Congressional Budget Office sounded almost desperate.

There was poor Douglas Elmendorf — Larry Summers’ protegĂ©, Brookings Institution liberal, Pelosi-picked, Harvard mega-wonk — practically begging his bosses in Congress to just slow down a little.

Read more

President Is Set to 'Take the Baton'

From the Washington Post...

As Skepticism on Health Reform Mounts, He Will Intensify His Efforts

Six months into his presidency, Barack Obama may have no greater test of his ability to translate personal popularity into a successful legislative agenda than the upcoming two weeks.

FDA inquiry into painkiller perplexes patients

From the Columbus Dispatch...

Confusion and concern have followed news that the Food and Drug Administration is considering new dose restrictions on Tylenol and could eliminate other drugs that contain acetaminophen, including Vicodin and Percocet.

Insurers add voices to a noisy health care debate

From Politico...

For months, the question on Capitol Hill has been: What will the insurance companies do?

Health care advocates still smarting over the industry’s “Harry and Louise” ads against reform in the 1990s have worried what the insurers will do this time. So far, the industry has stayed at the bargaining table and held its fire in the ad wars.

But now, the industry is speaking up, not with an attack but with a seven-figure, national cable TV ad buy starting Monday in favor of affordable bipartisan health reform that can cover everyone. But make no mistake: The ads are sending a strong don’t-tread-on-us message, not so much a shot across the bow of reform as a reminder of the industry’s ability to weigh in at any time, with messages pro or con.

Read more

Pope Benedict's Injury Reflects Common Problem Among Seniors

From Poynter...

Pope Benedict XVI underwent minor surgery Friday after he slipped in the bath and broke his wrist.

The 82-year-old Pontiff's injury reflects a common occurrence among the elderly. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says
one in three senior citizens in the U.S. falls each year. And, "Every 18 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall, and every 35 minutes someone in this population dies as a result of their injuries."

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has national data on injuries from falling (2006).

Companies warned to make plans for H1N1 outbreak

From the Toronto Star...

Sick days, child care looming issues for firms too focused on recession

Toronto businesses are not prepared and are "struggling to keep ahead" when it comes to planning for a global H1N1 pandemic, warns the head of a Toronto-based non-profit that focuses on urban health.

Health plans to squeeze other spending - report

From Reuters...

LONDON (Reuters) - A pledge by the country's two main political parties to protect the state-run health service means other departments will face sharp spending cuts, an influential fiscal report said on Monday.

Doctors ordered to surrender licenses

From the Louisville Courier Journal...

The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has ordered two Louisville doctors to surrender their licenses, alleging one committed health care fraud and the other engaged in sexual misconduct.

FDA scrutinizing safety of asthma drug Xolair

From CNN...

(CNN) -- The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it is conducting a safety review of the asthma drug Xolair after data from an ongoing study suggested an increased number of heart attacks and strokes among patients who use it.

With Health Reform, Waxman Takes On Another Tall Order

From the Washington Post...

For his first feat this legislative session, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) staged a coup and deposed a sitting chairman and dean of the House. He followed that up with a nail-biter victory in the House for his beloved climate change bill.

But on Monday, the hard work will begin for the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as he labors to advance President Obama's endangered health-reform agenda.