Blog | Tuesday, October 13, 2009

QD: News Every Day--Senate committee passes health care reform


ACP Internist's daily digest of internal medicine in the news continues with a key vote on health care reform, severe flu cases and an ACP Fellow honored for treating the poor.

Health care reform
[Updated from its original post] At nearly 3 p.m. today the Senate Finance Committee approved its version of the health care reform bill 14-9. Observers were atwitter (and a-Twittering) every time Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe so much as shifted in her seat. Eventually, she shifted to the left and said she would vote for the bill in committee without taking a position down the line.

Following today's vote, the bill will merge with the Senate Health Committee's version over the next few weeks and then go to the full Senate. On the House side, Rep. Nancy Pelosi will send several versions of a health care reform bill to the Congressional Budget Office, including one with a government-run public insurance option.

Even if a bill is signed into law this year, it will take three years before any tax credits begin.

H1N1 influenza
About 1 in 1,000 will develop severe illness from H1N1 influenza, and when they need hospitalization, they quickly consume limited resources such as mechanical ventilation, according to JAMA. Researchers profiled the outbreaks in Canada and Mexico, and an editorial suggested regionalizing care for patients with advanced respiratory failure. Alternatives also include telemedicine and temporary staffing changes to divert experts to the point of care.

In case you missed it ...
Pedro Jose Greer, FACP, of Miami, Fla. received the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work treating the poor regardless of their ability to pay. His profile is here.

You know times are tough when even the Mayo Clinic, the model for health care, get criticism for limiting Medicare patients to Minnesotans and the border states of Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. But if you're wealthy, you can turn to your financial planner for Medicare advice.