Condoms & "unnecessary variations"

John Taylor: February 25, 20130 Comments

There’s never a shortage of health news, some of which screams for headlines and some which simply makes one’s head wag.

Condoms & Valentine’s Day: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano chose February 14 to introduce AB 336, which would bar police from using possession of one or more condoms as evidence of sexual solicitation in arrests or prosecution of alleged prostitutes. “They can still arrest people under the law. They would only be prevented from using as evidence the one thing that protects  public health: condoms,” he told the Sacramento Bee.

Complexity: When California opens its health insurance exchange, to help residents meet the 2014 requirement that everyone have insurance, the feds wanted the state to have no more than seven geographic regions to allow for varying premium costs. However, Covered California (the state exchange) is moving ahead in creating 19 regions, hopeful of federal approval. The Associated Press quoted Marian Mulkey of the California HealthCare Foundation as saying:  “There’s probably some Goldilocks, just-right balance between there, but it’s extremely hard to find. And that’s why this is a sticky conversation and difficult to navigate.”

“Residually Uninsured”: That’s the term being used for one million undocumented immigrants and three million others who, by chance or by choice, won’t receive insurance coverage in California come 2014. “We’re not going to whine, we’re not going to complain and moan about this sad group of people, but we need to figure out what we are going to do about it,” said Mitchell Katz, director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, in a California HealthCare Foundation story.

“Unnecessary Variation”: That’s what Chris Van Gorder is trying to shake loose from the Scripps Health System to keep it fiscally healthy. The corporate CEO told Kaiser Health News that nitric oxide was once mandated to be used for certain cardiac procedures, but when comparisons showed no change in patient outcomes when it wasn’t used, it became optional. That resulted in $400,000 annual savings.

The Model for Health Reform: The Sacramento Bee profiled Kaiser Permanente as the poster child for how health reform should ultimately play out, quoting Greg Adams, president of Kaiser in Northern California, as saying: “We are pioneers in prevention. Prevention is in our DNA.”

Remodeling Health Reform: Dr. Benjamin Carson of Johns Hopkins gave this prescription to President Obama during a speech he made at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, according to the Washington Post: “When a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record and a health savings account to which money can be contributed – pre-tax – from the time you’re born till the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members.”

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