Notes & Links: October 25, 2013

Raising the Medicare eligibility age is now a REALLY bad idea
Aaron Carroll and Austin Frakt at The Incidental Economist give us all the smart economic reasons why raising the eligibility age for Medicare is dumb. 

Put these two things together, and the new estimate for federal savings is much lower than it was before. But all the non-federal costs (not in the CBO report but covered by us before — see links above) remain, as does the concern about the viability of the exchanges and the fact that Medicaid hasn’t expanded in all states. So if raising the Medicare eligibility age before was a bad idea (and it was), it’s an even worse idea now.

This is a great smart clearly written read.

FDA to Regulate Gluten-Free Labeling
Jennie Bragg at Healthworks Collective shares the new FDA rule on what a product has to do to be labeled Gluten-Free.

…a food or beverage must contain fewer than 20 parts per million (20ppm) of gluten. This translates to approximately two-hundredths of a gram of gluten per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of food.

I can’t help but wonder if some of the foods currently saying Gluten-Free who have sales that show many people buying them and feeling better will end up not making the cut because they are not strickly Gluten-Free. Can you say placebo effect?

GOP’s Oddest Obamacare Objection
Michael Millenson a Contributor to Forbes shares his shock and awe at the the following:

The reason that Republicans shut down the federal government, it turns out, was to “restore patient-centered healthcare in America.”

Really? Worried about patients and patient centered care? The GOP? One quote to capture the complete and utter lucency of this. 

Obamacare opponents assert that the ACA undermines the traditional doctor-patient relationship – although I suspect that being able to pay your doctor because you have health insurance actually improves it quite a bit. Yet in calling for “patient-centered healthcare” instead of the more common “patient-centered care” or even patient-centeredmedicine, conservatives unwittingly abandoned doctor-patient language in favor of business-speak.

Go read this piece and smile.

Polio eradication: where are we now?
The Lancet editorial reminds us that it would be wrong to forget this disease still exists, still can cause suffering, and still needs world attention. 

With regard to the technical dimension of ending polio, global eradication efforts led by WHO, UNICEF, and the Rotary Foundation have made remarkable progress. Poliomyelitis cases have been reduced by more than 99% and there are only three remaining polio-endemic countries—Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. In 2013, the number of polio cases from the three endemic countries—99 in total—is 40% lower than in 2012.

Technically we cannot do better at eradicating this disease it is now a battle of political will. 

Shine again
Jonathan Barnes writing in The Lancet reviews Stephen King’s new novel a sequel to The Shinning titled Doctor Sleep. When I saw The Lancet had a book review I was drawn to like link bait. The book follows Danny the son from The Shinning into the 21 Century where he is a physician working in a hospice in New Hampshire. 

The review is good and the fact it is in The Lancet and ties the loose ends of addiction to King and his previous work is interesting. 

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