Daily Rounds: Medical Bankruptcies; Pregnancy Hormone Diet; Growing Parts For Kids; Florida Medicaid Cap

Medical bankruptcies a continuing problem, study finds - White Coat Notes - "Lead study author Dr. David Himmelstein said medical bills are still causing bankruptcies because health costs in the state have continued rising sharply. High premium costs, along with large co-payments and deductibles, often expose families with insurance to substantial out-of-pocket costs, said Himmelstein, a professor of public health at City University of New York. "People think they have reasonable insurance until they try and use it," Himmelstein said. "You are carrying an umbrella and it starts to rain and you put it up and it's full of holes. For most people, it just hasn’t rained yet." (

Diet Plan With Pregnancy Hormone Has Fans and Skeptics - "The regimen combines daily injections with a near-starvation diet, and patients, mostly women, are often enticed by promises that they can lose about a pound a day without feeling hungry. Perhaps even more seductively, they are frequently told that the hCG will prompt their bodies to carry away and metabolize fat that has been stored where they least want it — in their upper arms, bellies and thighs. In response to inquiries stirred up by the diet’s popularity, the Food and Drug Administration warned in January that “homeopathic” forms of hCG, like lozenges and sprays, sold over the Internet and in some health food stores, are fraudulent and illegal if they claim weight-loss powers. (

Scientists Grow Parts For Kids With Urinary Damage : NPR For going on 30 years, scientists have been trying to grow replacement parts for diseased, defective or damaged tissues and organs. They've had more disappointments than successes. But now and again, they come up with results that rekindle the flame. The latest involves five Mexican boys between 10 and 14 who suffered terrible damage to their urinary tracts from auto accidents. They were unable to urinate normally. (

To Cap Medicaid, Florida Looks To Managed Care : NPR To bring down that cost, Florida's Legislature is planning to dramatically revamp the way the state delivers health care to those on Medicaid. State Sen. Joe Negron has put together a plan that changes the state's relationship with Medicaid recipients and Medicaid health care providers. "We want to get out of the check-writing business and into the contract-compliance business," he says. Negron wants to scrap the old fee-for-service model and replace it with managed care. He proposes negotiating contracts with health care providers, which would agree to deliver care to the state's 3 million Medicaid recipients for a predetermined fee. Negron says it would give the Legislature a way to effectively cap what it spends each year on Medicaid. ( with low rate hikes for health coverage has fewer choices - The Boston Globe
At a time when most health insurance companies are raising premiums by 10 percent or more, the Group Insurance Commission, which insures about 185,000 state employees and their families, last week showed them all up by limiting 2011 increases to just an average 2.4 percent. But to achieve that goal, the GIC is counting on thousands of subscribers to give up their present plans for much cheaper ones that limit their choices of doctors and medical facilities. The GIC has even offered to let members skip three monthly premium payments if they agree to  (


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