Reflex: November 30, 2011

HIV/AIDS is a neglected disease in the Southeast United States, writes The Chart Blog (CNN). The blog discusses Dr. Vincent Marconi’s work in South Africa and the Southeast, and he notes connections between the epidemic in these divergent locales (link has great map). Don’s commentMy good friend and colleague at Duke Kate Whetten has an interesting book “You’re the First One I’ve Told: The Faces of HIV in the South” that draws many parallels to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and the rural South.

Austin is pressed for time, so here’s a special “lightening round” Reflex contribution from him. (Yes, this is faster because I’m not writing my own blurbs. Maybe I should always do it this way.)

The first two are via the KHN First Edition post:

The Washington Post: Democrats To Attack Republicans For Pushing Medicare Cuts. The Democratic Party will begin a campaign on Wednesday to attack Republican lawmakers for pushing cuts to Medicare benefits during the latest round of failed federal deficit talks, a new turn in a drama that not long ago featured top Democrats expressing a willingness to tinker with the popular entitlement program (Wallsten, 11/29).” Austin’s comment: It’s no surprise that there is more than policy differences at play here (though there is that). There is politics, which is fueled by and fuels a lack of inter-party trust. More on that from me next week (I think).

Kaiser Health News: Study: Employers Could Dump Sickest Employees On Public Health Care. Elizabeth Stawicki, from Minnesota Public Radio News, filed the following story as part of a partnership with Kaiser Health News and NPR: ‘A loophole in the federal health care overhaul could allow employers to game the system by getting their sicker employees to opt into buying coverage on the health insurance exchanges, according to two University of Minnesota law professors'(Stawicki, 11/30).”  Austin’s comment: The study is here. I’ll read it later. (H/t Dan Diamond.)

And, via Igor Volsky:

GingRomney care: ‘If Republicans are flocking to Newt Gingrich to get away from Mitt Romney’s health care problems, they could end up with a nominee with … awfully similar health care problems. Or maybe worse: While Romney signed a state mandate into law, Gingrich once went a step further and advocated a federal one.” [Jennifer Haberkorn]'” Austin’s comment: We all know that many conservatives were for the mandate before they were against it. Likely any viable candidate with no record in support of a mandate could also be pinned with the charge of insufficient experience. If you’ve been thinking about health policy for a long time, you probably have some pro-mandate statements in your past.


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