Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Today's Washington Post reports a terrible story that underscores the need for basic health care coverage, including dental coverage as well as better incentives for doctors and dentists to accept low-income patients. Until reading the story, I had not thought about how difficult it must be to find a dentist who accepts Medicaid even though I have had friends who worked in emergency rooms complain that too many people come to the ER for dental problems. Health care access depends not just on insurance coverage for a service but ensuring that there are individuals available to provide those services. Perhaps a cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates would not be the best idea . . . .
Thanks to Atrios for the cite.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Governors and the White House are at odds over the future of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (S-Chip). The New York Times reports today that meetings between the Governors and President Bush show that they are not on the same page with regard to future money for the program.
In the session at the White House, when President Bush reported on progress of the war, governors pressed him to provide more money so they could guarantee health insurance for children. In response, administration officials said states should make better use of the money they already had.
Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia, a Republican, said afterward, “Health care for children ought to be a priority, irrespective of anyone’s views on the war.”
Georgia will exhaust its allotment of federal money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program within three months, Mr. Perdue said. Thirteen other states expect to run out by September, according to data released here at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
Governors said the Clinton and Bush administrations had encouraged them to expand children’s coverage and had granted waivers allowing them to cover parents and even some childless adults.
Having successfully expanded the health insurance programs in their states, some governors now suggest that the Bush administration is pulling the safety net out from under many children. In his budget this month, Mr. Bush said he wanted to return the program to its “original objective” of covering children with family incomes less than twice the poverty level. Budget documents note that 16 states cover children above that level and that “one state, New Jersey, covers children up to 350 percent of the federal poverty level.” A family of four is classified poor if its annual income is less than $20,650.
An influential member of Congress said Monday that he would not be taking up White House proposals to restrict eligibility and financing for the child health program.
“I have absolutely no intention of moving the president’s proposals through our subcommittee,” said the lawmaker, Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey.
I guess the final veneer of the compassionate conservative has worn off . . . . More information on the program funding issues can be found at Stateline.org.
Just to wake up everyone up a bit - the Chicago Tribune reports on a recent gathering of scientists who are perplexed about women's sex lives. The article states,
To get an idea of just how much remains unknown about an area that directly affects most people's lives, you need to drop in on the International Society for the Study of Women 's Sexual Health.
Researchers presenting their findings at the society's sixth annual meeting are still trying to figure out which hormones and neurotransmitters make sexual arousal possible, where in the brain orgasm takes place, and which nerves control the genital organs. Much of their work is being done in rats.
Now we're sticking needles into different parts of the brain," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, the Boston urologist who founded the multidisciplinary group. "Whatever pharmaceuticals are proven to help ... most likely will work in the central nervous system."
Clinicians, frustrated by the slow pace of sexual science, want effective treatments for patients brave enough to seek help--a small minority.
Although social scientists have been studying women's sexuality for decades, medical science did not become interested until the advent of Viagra in the late 1990s raised the possibility that female sexual problems might be treated by medication.
Viagra, which treats erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the genitals, does not appear to work in women.
In fact, no drug has been approved in the U.S. for the disorder doctors call female sexual dysfunction. That may be understandable, given that experts aren't sure what female sexual dysfunction is--or even if it exists. . . . .
Since the 1960s, researchers have operated under a variation of the simple model proposed by William Masters and Virginia Johnson that says the human sexual response starts with desire, progresses through excitement or arousal and ends with orgasm. But experts argued that notion might reflect the experience of men more than women, many of whom don't see orgasm as a goal.
In recent years the field has moved toward a more complicated model based on the observation that many women go into a sexual encounter without being in the mood--perhaps they're seeking intimacy or hoping to please their partner--and may not really want sex until after they become aroused.
But it wasn't until very recently that anyone thought to test those theories by asking women.
Sand, who was awarded a prize for his innovative research, found that 57 percent of women felt a straightforward model best described their sexual experience. The 29 percent who endorsed the more complicated model were more likely to have sexual problems.
That made sense, Sand said, because Masters and Johnson recruited couples who liked sex a lot, while the more complicated model was based on the experiences of women with sexual complaints.
`We need to go back to the drawing board and come up with models that explain why some women have different sexual experiences, find out which models fit which women, so we can serve women more effectively when they have sexual concerns," Sand said.
It is great that scientists are taking women's sexual health seriously - I do have some concern that this interest is apparently fueled by the prospect of some pharmaceutical cure that could bring in lots of money. Thanks for Feministe for the link.