Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Adrianna McIntyre

Happy Friday! Why do work when you can catch up on this week’s health policy happenings?

  1. It’s been a rough week for Medicaid in Tennessee. Apparently Tennessee has been angling for an Arkansas-style deal for the Medicaid expansion, but the state’s demands failed to pass muster—or the legal test—with HHS. Notably, TN wanted Medicaid recipients to pay cost-sharing obligations (copays, deductibles, etc) at the same rate as other folks on the exchange. This conflicts outright with provisions in the Medicaid statute, which protects people under the poverty line from financial burdens they might not be able to bear. The news of their proposal being a total nonstarter came just a few days after a discomfiting story about the state’s biannual Medicaid tele-lottery.
  2. The cardiologist in your pocket. Researchers in Switzerland have created a tiny device that can be implanted under your skin to measure five distinct warning signs of a heart attack. The device is Bluetooth-enabled, and can communicate with your phone. Just in case you need a heads-up about that heart attack you’re about to have. According to the investigators, it can also be used to notify your doctor when you should have a blood test, or to determine precise dosages of medication for individual cancer patients. Science!
  3. Our egos are growing as quickly as our waistlines. Various psychological studies are contributing to a somewhat scathing indictment of our generation—according to one survey of 37,000 college students, narcissistic personality traits have risen as quickly as obesity in the last three decades, and some researchers can pick out narcissists just by perusing patterns in Facebook activity. Cheer up, though—the post also offers a Google Plus joke.
  4. Radiologists fall on “hard” times. There has been some—pretty valid, I think—criticism regarding how out-of-touch some of the MDs quoted come off in this op-ed  about declining specialist salaries (I find it especially difficult to sympathize with the “whine whine no Porsche after graduation” comment). That said, the article does bring a broader and more important question to bear: what ought we be doing in medical education to ensure that we develop the health care workforce that our future health care system demands?
  5. One chart to rule them allClick through for everything you ever needed to know about the wonk’s favorite chart-phenomenon—including a chart charting the rise of the phrase “in one chart.” Health nerds take note: the first example they could find was the 2002 headline “The Sad History of Health Care Cost Containment as Told in One Chart,” from Health Affairs. 

Thoughts on the news? Leave them in the comments!

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Adrianna is a graduate student in public policy and public health at the University of Michigan.
Follow her on Twitter @onceuponA or subscribe to the blog.

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