Tuesday, August 28, 2012


New MS Activist Video!  The National MS Society just released this MS Activist videocheck it out!  And remember to tweet with the hashtag #MSActivist and follow our office on Twitter @MSActivist.

MS Ambassador & the Olympics.  Our hat’s off to Missy Franklin, niece of Doug Franklin, President of the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) and president of the MS Coalition.  Missy came back from London with four gold medals and one bronze, along with a world record in the 200 meter.  Missy is an MSAA Swim for MS Ambassador.

Boring . . . where?  There have been multiple whirlwinds circling our political system from skinny-dipping in Israel, foot-in-mouth disease among candidates, and a rest stop problem in Northern Minnesota for a state legislator.  Add to that Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden and you have quite an un-boring political season!

CMS Teleconferences.  The Obama Administration is working double overtime on public forums, webinars, teleconferences regarding Affordable Care Act implementation.  Some are for the public, even more are for stakeholders in exchange planning, essential health benefits, other nitty-gritty implementation stuff.  See the attached for info on teleconferences to be run by CMS Regional Offices on Exchanges. We’re getting the word out as much as possible.

NIH Impact.  The National Institutes of Health has a new website that highlights the impact medical research has on human health and on the economy.

Voting Access.  There is an increasing focus on how various ballot measures and recently enacted legislation regarding voting will have on the disability and elderly communities.  Here’s a recent article about it.

Paul Ryan.  As you all know, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan has been selected to be Gov. Romney’s running mate which has generated huge amounts of publicity about Rep. Ryan’s plan for Medicare, his support of Pres. Bush’s Social Security plan, and the federal budget Ryan passed on the House floor.  This recent article discusses how Ryan’s Medicare plan would impact the disabled.  A recent poll suggests that the public believes Medicare needs only modest changes, if any changes at all.

Medicare ‘cuts’.  If you’re in a swing state like Virginia, you’ve been barraged with pro- and anti- Obama and Romney.  A big push by Romney focuses on the $716 billion in Medicare cuts due to the Affordable Care Act (with Team Obama countering that there are no cuts, it’s a reduction in expenditures in the future and does not impact patients).  One journalists writes about a Brookings Institute economist’s view that restoring that money will mean more cost to the patient.  The Medicare debate is also having an impact on U.S. House races.

Entitlement Spending on the Rise.  The Congressional Budget Office just released a report stating that Medicare spending will rise from 3.7% to 4.3% of GDP by 2022; Medicaid spending will rise from 1.7% to 2.4% of GDP; and Social Security will rise to 12.2% of GDP.  Combined, these three programs will account for 55% of all Federal spending by 2022.  But after all of this the CBO proclaimed that Medicare spending is growing slower than expected!  I guess that makes sense . . . conclusion being that more than 55% of all spending would be for these programs if Medicare spending was growing ‘as expected.’

Convention Season.  There are storms on the horizon for Republicans and Democrats . . . no, I’m not referring to recent controversies in the press.  The GOP convention begins Monday in Tampa then a week later the Democrats meet in Charlotte.  Both events are on hurricane watch.  And for those of you planning to trek to DC in January for the inaugural, hotels are already putting out ‘inaugural deals.’

Fiscal Cliff.  The game of chicken continues as we walk forthrightly toward the so-called fiscal cliff.  It’s highly unlikely that Congress and the Administration will find any resolution until after the November elections.  In the meantime the CBO continues its analyses and recently predicted that if we go over the cliff, we will go into a ‘deep recession.’

County Health Calculator.   Robert Wood Johnson foundation developed one and you can check it out here.

1766.  Did you know that (according to Wikipedia) the first political convention held in America took place in Hartford, Connecticut in March 1766. The meeting was organized by the Sons of Liberty, who, in challenging incumbent governor Thomas Fitch, nominated William Pitkin for governor and Jonathan Trumbull for deputy governor.

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