Health Industry Could Feel Pinch, Then Pain From Default
Kaiser Health News.jpg Unprecedented default would sorely affect people who depend on Medicaid or Medicare as a result of a disability or while in recovery from a mental illness. This article from Kaiser Health News explains some of the implications for states, hospitals, nursing homes, and individuals who depend on the reliability of government payments to avert disaster. []
Budget passions, decisions delayed
The stalemate continues and a sample of tweets and clips show the frustration of voters. []
S.1356 - Affordable Medicines Utilization Act of 2011
A bi-partisan proposal to reduce Medicaid costs by substituting generic drugs for patented drugs Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), and John McCain (R-Az) on July 13. The bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Wyden estimates the initial savings amounts to $300 million, and the bill includes measures for sharing costs with states. The pharmaceutical industry supports the bill and cites a pollconducted at the end of 2010 indicting that voters would prefer to reduce costs... []
Obama urged to force hearings on Berwick
According to Modern Healthcare, "A virtual Who's Who of the patient-safety and health care quality movements has signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to request that Senate hearings be held on his nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick." []
Berwick nomination in doubt
. . .unfortunate for health reform []
Battle Over Medicaid Block Grants Could Have Far-Reaching Impact
Kaiserlogo.jpeg Medicaid, part of the social contract to make sure that people with health needs are not abandoned, has been discussed as a candidate for block grants to states. Proposals stem from a need to make spending more efficient and effective, and to curb entitlements. The implications for people with a psychiatric diagnosis, or other chronic health needs, could be profound. This article by Kaiser Health News outlines how the Republican party proposals for health and budget reforms enlist block grants, first used by Pres. Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. And what the political debate implies. []
House votes drastic cuts to mental health
Efforts to keep the government afloat led to the Republican controlled House to propose a bill rolling back or canceling appropriations for children, the elderly and people with disabilities including a mental illness or addictive disorder. []
Congress to Investigate Pentagon Decision to Deny Coverage for Brain Injured Troops
The Pentagon's decision to deny treatment for traumatic brain injury justifies a Congressional investigation, says Sen. Claire McCaskill. ProPublica and NPR have persisted in tracking responses. They report hearings will be held to dig into this, a decision made in conjunction with Tricare, the military insurance offered to vets. TBI has been called the signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. []
Pentagon Told Congress It's Studying Brain-Damage Therapy
The Pentagon acknowledges the seriousness of brain damage requiring cognitive rehab, but doesn't commit to interventions. That's Tricare's decision. And Tricare is unconvinced that it's effective despite evidence to the contrary. ProPublica and NPR follow-up. []
New Laws Expand Mental Health Coverage
Writing for Kaiser Health News, Michelle Andrews explains how the implementation of new laws will "provide better insurance coverage for more people with mental health and substance abuse conditions." . . . []
Repealing Health Reform: For Heritage Action, It Would Be A 'Grand Slam'
Kaiser Health News.jpgRepeal of the health reform law is gaining traction among Republican lawmakers who have gathered 170 signatures. Leading the campaign is the Heritage Foundation, arguing that the majority of Americans have rejected health during the debate, and more so since it was signed, and is willing to wait until Republicans can effect a reversal. Kaiser Health News interviewed Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America. []
Congress Questions Military Leaders on Suicides, Traumatic Brain Injury
Reprinted from ProPublica WASHINGTON, D.C.--Senators pressed senior military leaders last week to improve their efforts to address traumatic brain injuries, suicide and other wounds suffered by soldiers returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Responding to what he called "disconcerting" reports by NPR and ProPublica, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military needed to better address the wide range of medical and behavioral problems affecting troops. . . []
Passing health reform energizes advocates
Historic, jubilant, transformative were among the adjectives enunciated in the on-going celebrations of Sunday's historic pass of health reform in America. Recalling his mother who battled insurance companies on her deathbed, Pres. Barack Obama said passing this law represents the "core principles that everybody should have security." . . []
Patrick Kennedy explains decision not to seek re-election
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Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced he will return to private life after representing Rhode Island for 15 years. Kennedy was open about his own addictive and mental health disorders, and tenacious in the fight to end discrimination. . . []
Preventing restraints of children -- HR 4247 -- gets bi-partisan committee support.
House Committee on Education and Labor passed HR 4247, a measure opposing restraints and seclusion of children in schools. The bill had widespread support and passed with a bi-partisan vote of 34 to 10 including 5 Republicans. Rep. George Miller (D-CA) has been shepherding this issue. A report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) about abuses in residential treatment programs was issued in 2008 and you can download it here. ... []
Soldier suicides prompts senator's inquiry
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Alarmed by the Wall Street Journal's report about 16 active-duty military committing suicide in October, Pharmalot reports Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) asked Sec.of Defense Robert Gates for numbers of soldiers taking anti-depressants. []
Historic House health reform bill squeeks by
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It took barely 8 minutes for 218 Democrats to pass the controversial House bill (HR 3962) for health reform Saturday night. The final vote, 220 to 215, included a single Republican from Louisiana. At 11:14 pm, when the vote closed, applause greeted the results and Speaker of theHouse Nancy Pelosi read the results to further applause. She dropped the gavel to end the session []
Mental health in health reform
Advocacy organizations are getting behind the House bill for health reform (HR 3962) citing benefits to those with a mental illness or addictive disorder. Organizations such as AARP and the American Medical Association, announced . . . []
House packages hate crimes bill with defense spending
The House tucked language for a hate-crime bill (HR 2647) including disabilities into the $680 authorization bill for the Pentagon and Department of Defense spending. . . []
Loathsome prison conditions for mentally ill
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With one psychiatrist for every 1,000 inmates, and more than two dozen current investigations into civil rights violations, America faces a human rights crisis in its jails and prisons. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) called current practices of incarcerating people with a mental illness "loathsome, indefensible" during yesterday's congressional hearings "Human Rights at Home: Mental Illness in U.S. Prisons and Jails." . . . []
Parity protection requires regulations
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With the deadline for completing federal parity rules barely two weeks away, Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) writes that "critical care may be hindered or delayed" if the law is enacted without them. The Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Heatlh Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 -- shorthand "parity" -- 12 years in the making, is scheduled to go into effect in January 2010. As of now, it is unclear whether the specific rules governing the intention of ending discrimination will be in place. . . []
Is talk of rationing a three-dollar bill?
. . .rationing in mental health []
Committee probes drug industry-education ties
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Conflicts of interest between the drug industry and medicine left a breach in the firewall with research, education, clinical care vulnerable to bias, noted several witnesses at hearings of the Select Committee on Aging. . . []
Parity sets stage for reform, says Kennedy
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Rep. Patrick Kennedy, co-sponsor of insurance parity, has been ahead of the pack calling for the inclusion of mental illnesses in health reform. . . []
Mental health care needs reform and repair
"Behavioral health services are often the first place cuts in coverage are made," said Mental Health America's CEO, David Shern. . . []

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