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Daily Rounds: Free Birth Control Today; Winners In The Health Cost Battle; Breast-Feeding New Yorkers; Menino's Droopy Eyes

Under Health Law, 'No Cost' Birth Control Starts Today (NPR) — "Beginning today, most new and renewing health insurance plans must begin offering a broad array of women's preventive health services, most notably coverage of birth control, at no upfront cost. But even as they take effect, the new rules remain the subject of legal challenges. That didn't stop Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from taking a victory lap of sorts Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Surrounded by more than a half-dozen Democratic senators who voted for the health law, she noted that before the law was passed, many insurance plans either didn't cover basic women's health services, or they charged high deductibles or copayments. "So as a result," she said, "surveys showed that more than half the women in this country delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost."

Well done, Partners! (Not Running A Hospital) — "The ability of Partners to succeed in the political domain has allowed it to get state authorization for mechanisms that will guarantee its market dominance for decades to come. This all represents a superb execution of its business strategy. Staying on message--persistent advertisements and press releases and speeches setting forth the assertions of a concern with cost control--wears people down. In any event, such messages receive no rebuttal or rigorous analysis by the media. Sprinkling money in support of worthy causes buys complacence or acquiescence by advocacy groups. The overall context in the state makes this easier. The local business community fails to be organized around these issues even though the current situation has a huge impact on their bottom line. Indeed, one business group strongly opposed even the limited amount of government intervention contained in the bill. Further, a one-party state offers no chance for loyal opposition in the halls of the legislature."

New York City To Mothers: You Should Breast-Feed (AP via Boston.Com) — "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a message for new mothers: Breast-feed your baby, if possible. Starting in September, dozens of city hospitals will ask mothers of newborns to listen to talks about why their breast milk is better than the sample formulas many hospitals offer for free. Then the women can decide for themselves, says the mayor. Bloomberg has been ribbed as the city’s ‘‘nanny’’ for pushing programs aimed at making New Yorkers healthier — from clamping down on big sugar-loaded drinks to creating no-smoking zones in public places. Now, under the ‘‘Latch On NYC’’ initiative, 27 of 40 hospitals in the city that deliver babies will no longer hand out promotional formula unless it’s for medical reasons," or at a mother’s request.

Fewer Broken Hips Are A Benefit Of Cataract Surgery, Study Finds (The New York Times) — “This is elective surgery, and sometimes people think, ‘I’m too sick to have my cataracts out,’ or ‘I’m too old,’ ” said Dr. Anne L. Coleman, the study’s lead author and a professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. “But the take-home message from this study is that if you’re starting to have vision problems and the doctor says you have cataracts, you should probably think of having them removed.”

And speaking of surgery...

Mayor Menino To Undergo Surgery To Fix Droopy Eyelids (The Boston Globe) — "Mayor Thomas M. Menino is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday to repair drooping eyelids, a medical condition that has slowly obscured his vision over the past decade and is most likely a consequence of age."

This program aired on August 1, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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