Friday, September 28, 2012


TODAY:  Presidential Forum on Disability Issues.  Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, Jr., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are speaking on behalf of their respective parties at the National Forum on Disability Issues (NFDI) to present their campaign's positions on matters relating to Americans with disabilities (see full press release). The event takes place between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Friday, Sept. 28 in Columbus, Ohio. Invitations have also been extended to candidates from both parties for the U.S. Senate from Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Republican nominee Treasurer Josh Mandel. Rep. Nancy Garland (D-New Albany) has confirmed her participation on behalf of Sen. Brown.

Closed for the Season.  Congress passed a 6 month temporary spending bill then headed for the hills for the rest of the election season with many expected a lame-duck session of Congress in order to attempt to avert the automatic spending cuts set to begin in January, and to stop some of the tax cuts from increasing on January 1.  In addition to the Bush-era tax cuts, there are many others including the payroll tax cut and tax credits for research and development.  Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) recently hunkered down with form Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, co-author of the Simpson-Bowles deficit/debt reduction plan that is lingering in the wilderness, but one that there is more chatter about of late.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was pretty blunt in his desire to get a deal done and avoid sequestration.  This is a new website coming online to replace the original congressional legislative website, THOMAS (named after Mr. Jefferson).  Check it out at

Almost Over?  Well, not quite – there’s still more than a month left this election season and any of you in swing states (like Virginia) have seen and will continue to see an onslaught of campaign ads from the campaigns and the Superpacs.  In case you missed it, Governor Romney and President Obama appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss their visions – here’s a quick article about their appearances.  Anyone interested in blow-by-blow polling coverage should check out Nate Silver’s ‘Five Thirty Eight’ where he says there “looks to be about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Romney will win, but also about a 20 percent chance that Mr. Obama will actually beat his 2008 margin in the popular vote.’

Spectrum.  Fall is here and Congress has adjourned until after the election.  Speaking of the election, do you know where you fall on the political spectrum?  Here’s a fun tool to help you find out.

Sequestration FAQs.  As the calendar inches toward January 2013 when automatic spending cuts are set to begin, more and more information is coming out about the impact.  The Democrats on the House Budget Committee issued this FAQ.  I couldn’t find a GOP counterpart but if one is issued, I will pass along.  The House Budget Committee website hasn’t had much new material since its chair, Paul Ryan, became a VP candidate.

Insurance Coverage ImprovesKaiser Health has a chart showing that more people are insured in 20 states.

 Political Wire.  Are you a junkie for political news but don’t have time to peruse the zillion websites?  Well there’s a guy who gets to do that for a job and you can subscribe to his emails.  Taegan Goddard is with CQ/Roll Call and you can check his work out at Political Wire.

Open Enrollment.  The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period is October 15 – December 7, 2012.  It is time for people with Medicare to compare plans and make sure they have the right health and prescription drug coverage. 

Our Blogs get Noticed!  Both the MSActivist blog ( and the National MS Society blog ( were named among the Top 18 MS Blogs by  And not to be outdone, the Carolinas Chapters Advocacy blog ( was also named among the top 18!  Kudos to all!

Health Care Cost Drivers.  The Bipartisan Policy Center, founded by several former Senate Majority Leaders of both parties, recently released a report detailing the cost drivers in health care.

Non-profits & Elections.  There are a wide variety of activities allowed for non-profits during an election season from voter registration to sponsoring candidate debates.  Here is a great summary from an attorney.

PCORI seeks input.  The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)  are inviting patients, caregivers and the broader health care community to complete a survey on its website to propose specific research questions. Each suggestion received will be evaluated through a selection process that will lead to targeted announcements for research funding.

Importance of Medical Research.  Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (who is also a surgeon) penned this great piece about the importance of medical research and called out the National MS Society for its role in funding medical research separate from the government.  Kudos to everyone who raises money for the Society so this is possible!

FDA Office of Mobile Health.  Representative Mike Honda is introducing legislation to create this office within FDA.

Worst since 1774?  I just found this interesting and am not passing judgment on the matter but this article asserts that income inequality in the U.S. is worse now than before there was a United States.

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