Friday News Dump: Wonkbites

by Karan Chhabra

Weekend’s almost here! Nothing better to do on a Friday than catch up on health news, right? Right.

  1. About that sequester: You might’ve been relieved when you learned that patients wouldn’t be directly affected by cuts resulting from the sequester. I certainly was. But we (and the rest of the blogosphere) spoke too soon, it seems—oncologists are turning away cancer patients, because sequester-induced Medicare cuts are making their care financially unsustainable. These changes will probably move those patients to get their chemo at the hospital, ironically an even more expensive option for both patients and Medicare. Also, Dan Diamond points out that this is just the latest of many hits oncologists have taken.
  2. If you liked it then you shoulda… New data (in map form) show that female mortality has risen in a shocking 42.8% of American counties between 1992 and 2006, whereas male mortality only rose in 3.4%. In this post, Bill Gardner asks why this may be happening, as well as the frightening question of what this may mean for the children of the women in those counties.
  3. Murphy’s Law of rural health? It’s no secret that rural healthcare comes with some serious challenges, but who knew we added to them with well-intentioned policy? Dr. Ashish Jha explains how Congress created a special designation for rural hospitals to keep them from going bust, then relaxed eligibility for that designation, inadvertently allowing their costs to rise while their quality slipped far behind national standards.
  4. Obamacare, from the top. Let’s face it—healthcare reform is confusing. If you really want to figure out Obamacare from square one, read this informative yet hilarious FAQ.
  5. No gory pictures, we promise. But if you’re as baffled as I was about how Kevin Ware’s leg broke in the March Madness game against Duke, read this article to learn more about it from the medical perspective.

Thoughts on the news or our coverage? Leave them in the comments!


Karan is a first-year student at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Duke graduate who previously worked in strategic research for hospital executives.

Follow him on Twitter @KRChhabra or subscribe to the blog.

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