• Reflex: October 17, 2011

    You cell phones (and your hands) are both filthy, reports Fergus Walsh. “Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London took nearly 400 samples from mobile phones and hands in 12 British cities. They found 16% of phones and 16% of hands harboured E. coli (Escherichia coli), bacteria which inhabit the human intestines.” Aaron’s Comment: It’s not that people are likely to be infected by that E. Coli. But in this study, the presence of the bacteria was used as a marker for the presence of fecal matter. Think about that the next time you touch your phone, or someone else’s. And go wash your hands.

    Unemployed, without health insurance, many are still waiting for relief, reports Molly Hennessy-Fiske (LA Times). “They came with rotting teeth, shattered glasses and broken bodies. In the predawn darkness outside the Los Angeles Sports Arena, they lined up last year by the thousands, waiting as the sun burned their backs for healthcare they could not afford. Many needed more than the volunteer doctors and dentists at the Remote Area Medical clinic could give. When the glasses ran out, they settled for eye exams. Instead of root canals, they got teeth pulled. They pointed to the holes in their smiles with relief. At least the pain had stopped. […] Others were still waiting […] for relief.” Austin’s comment: Conspicuously absent from the piece is anything about the financial assistance for purchase of insurance and health care the ACA will bring as of 2014, as well as the hardship exemption from the individual mandate tax penalty.

    The supercommittee’s co-chairs are hitting it off, report Marin Cogan and John Bresnahan. The committee must complete its work identifying at least $1.2 Trillion in deficit reduction by late November; if reductions of this magnitude are not enacted by Congress, then automatic cuts will take place. Don’s comment: hitting it off personally is not the same as a deal. All of the bloggers at TIE have written about how hard it will be to get a deal. Here is Austin’s memo to the super committee, and a follow up. A few of my highlights: they should end the debt ceiling, here is an outline of the health policy implications of the President’s deficit commission whose ideas are likely in play, and here is an example of the nitty gritty we need to get into to achieve a sustainable health care system, and therefore budget.  h/t Wonkbook.

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