Here we go again. The CBO now estimates that the health bill has a number of discretionary spending items in it which will likely add over $100 billion to the costs of the act. (CBO Letter) It is really interesting how a few weeks after the law is enacted, the government suddenly finds several new pieces of analysis suggesting it will have a higher cost. Right now there is no question, according to the Administration and Congress’ own analysis, that this law will add to the deficit very significantly.
Further adding to the point about misleading representatives and the public on the costs and effects of the reform law, HHS issued rules regarding coverage of dependents which acknowledged that just this one minor aspect of the law would raise premiums by as much as one percent. You may recall that we were promised by the President himself that the new law would reduce premiums significantly. Apparently that just wasn’t true. (HHS Rules)
Scientists continue to develop more and better methods to use communications, miniaturization and other technologies to improve health care. In the latest example Finnish researchers are working on implantable monitoring devices, such as EKG strips. The devices are so small that the user would basically be unaware of their presence. In the very foreseeable future, it will be possible to easily monitor a wide variety of biometric measures continually and cheaply. What will be done with all that data is the real problem. (Science Daily Article)
Finally, in an ironic note, researchers believe that spouses who care for their significant other with dementia are themselves more likely to develop the condition. (Science Daily Article) It is hard to know how to react to this. Dementia is truly a frightening disease and a tremendous emotional and physical burden of family and friends of the patient. It is unclear whether the stress of care-giving is responsible or that some unknown attraction of people with common susceptibilities is to blame. It creates a bit of a dilemma for physicians in terms of recommending how much time a spouse should devote to the care of a partner with this condition.