The Senate health care reform bill would leave as many as 23 million people without insurance by 2018, providing a problem for Democrats who ultimately want universal health care, The Washington Post reports. "But those who would be left uninsured have drawn little attention. This is in part because their ranks would include many who choose not to get health insurance, even though they can afford it - such as some healthy people under 30, who have little effect on rising health-care costs because they rarely go to the doctor." Many of the uninsured--about one-third--would be illegal immigrants who would not be offered expanded insurance. Others say that it is difficult to reach 100 percent coverage and that the Congressional Budget Office "has not released a breakdown of who would make up the 23 million.
Now that the Senate has passed a hotly debated health care bill, Congress is headed to the next step: House-Senate negotiations in January to try to hammer out a final version. Kaiser Health News staff writers look at where things stand and how you might be affected (Rau, Appleby, Galewitz, Carey, 12/24). Read full story. This information was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at kaiserhealthnews.org. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
IMMUNOLOGY: Dampening CD4+ immune cell function via the protein TLR4 The immune system uses a large number of proteins to sense the presence of microbes, including a family of proteins known as TLRs. The function of TLRs on immune cells known as DCs and macrophages has been well characterized, but the role of TLR4 on immune cells known as CD4+ T cells has not been determined. However, JosĂ M. GonzĂ lez-Navajas, Eyal Raz and colleagues, at the University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, have now determined that triggering TLR4 on CD4+ T cells dampens their inflammatory function, as TLR4 deficiency in two mouse models of colitis (inflammation of the intestines) accelerated the development of disease and/or induced more severe disease.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that an elderly care program is allowing senior citizens to retain their independence by providing medical care and home assistance through a nonprofit program. The program, St. Paul's Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, "functions like a health maintenance organization, is the only one of its kind in the county and one of 70 nationwide." Officials with Medicare and California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, "have praised these programs for working to save money not only by emphasizing preventive care but also by making it convenient. Studies have shown that aggressive and proactive case management cuts down on expensive hospitalizations and intensive stays in a nursing home.
President Obama on Wednesday signed the omnibus fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill (HR 3288) that passed the Senate on Sunday and the House last week, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports ( AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/16). The omnibus bill includes the Financial Services (HR 3170), Commerce-Justice-Science (HR 2847), Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3293), Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (HR 3082), State-Foreign Operations (HR 3081) and Transportation-HUD (HR 3288) appropriations bills. Labor-HHS-Education, the largest of the FY 2010 appropriations bills, would receive a total of $730.6 billion, which is 9% more than FY 2009 levels and 0.
The (Monroe, La.) News-Star: "Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she will vote for the Senate's health care reform bill, calling the latest version a 'dramatic improvement' over previous proposals. Her support is critical to passing the massive bill, a priority for Democrats and President Barack Obama. Landrieu, a moderate, was among a small group of senators who met in recent weeks to work out a compromise on major aspects of the legislation" (Berry, 12/17). Minnesota Public Ratio: "Despite two key provisions being stripped from the health care legislation that's moving through the Senate, both of Minnesota's senators still support the overall bill.