Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Mid-week update

The Federal Times reports that the leadership of both Houses of Congress and the President have agreed in principle to a continuing resolution that would fund federal government operations at current levels through March 31, 2013 -- six months into the next federal government fiscal year. The continuing resolution will be drafted over the recess and considered in September. The current fiscal year ends on September 30.  The deal is not done, however, until Congress passes the resolution with the President's approval.

The Hartford Courant reports that yesterday a federal judge in Connecticut joined other federal courts in holding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  In that case, several federal employees sued for FEHBP coverage of their same sex spouses, which is prohibited by DOMA. The FEHBlog was aware of similar cases in Massachusetts and California. The article explains that there is another case -- which reached the same result -- decided in the federal district court in Manhattan and now on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. That's the same federal appellate court where the Connecticut decision is headed. The Supreme Court is expected to take this case for its next term that begins in October, and the FEHBlog is on record that the Supreme Court will hold DOMA unconstitutional principally on federalism grounds.

The FEHBlog enjoys reading the AMA News, and this week's lead article concerns sleep centers. No the AMA News is not writing about mattress stores. Rather it's writing about the facilities that offer sleep studies for people who have or may have sleep apnea. For years the studies have been performed in-patient and the number of facilities has grown dramatically to serve our aging population (337 in 1996 to 2412 today). But now the pendulum is swinging the other way as the costs have attracted attention, and in-home testing has arrived. How does the AMA News frame the issues -- "How physicians responded to financial problems in one corner of the health system — sleep testing — illustrates how all doctors can thrive economically in the face of escalating pressure to provide higher quality care for a lower cost."

No comments: