Reflex: September 16, 2011

115 children died from influenza-related illness between September 1, 2010, through August 31, 2011, reports the CDC in MMWR. Almost half of these children were otherwise healthy before this happened. Of those children whose immunization status could be obtained, 77% had not been vaccinated; of the healthy children, 88% had not been vaccinated. Aaron’s Comment: I’m feeling like a broken record, but this is too important to ignore, especially given the misinformation this week. Influenza season is coming. Everyone over six months of age should be immunized against influenza annually.

What will Obama propose to the supercommittee? Speculation is rampant about what Obama will offer the supercommittee in terms of health-related cuts and revenue. Yesterday Austin blogged about reports that it’ll be Medicare provider cuts and premium increases, but not raising the Medicare retirement age. Today, Carrie Brown (Politico) suggests that raising the Medicare retirement age is not off the table. Meanwhile, Obama has also floated the idea of reducing the tax deducibility of employer-sponsored heath insurance for high-income individuals, reports Matt Debias (Politico). Austin’s comment: Among policy wonks, raising the Medicare eligibility age is not universally viewed as a good idea. Taxing employer-sponsored health-insurance is more widely accepted as a sensible way to raise revenue and cut health care spending.

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