Happy Tuesday and happy Twittering, dear readers.
This week saw yet another non-response from the feds as to why the federal healthcare.gov exchange site is not working. President Obama said there are “no excuses” for its embarrassing debut but didn’t offer a real explanation for the problems, either.
Here are a couple good round-up stories on the exchange issues:
• The Washington Post writes about how the website was rolled out despite failing a test before Oct. 1 when a few hundred people tried to log on at once.
The story notes that 56 percent of people in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll think the problems with the website indicate broader issues with the health care law, but that overall approval of the law is growing, up to 46 percent now compared to 42 percent last month.
• Politico has a list of “Five questions Kathleen Sebelius won’t answer” in anticipation of the Health and Human Services secretary appearing before the House Energy and Commerce committee next week.
On the flip side, several of the states that designed their own exchanges have been doing extremely well. (Our neighbor Oregon is not one of them; Cover Oregon’s website has not been able to enroll a single person yet, though they’re still able to process paper applications.) New York has signed up 150,000 people, Kentucky has enrolled about 13,000 people , and our very own Washington Healthplanfinder announced yesterday that we’ve enrolled 35,000 in the three weeks since Oct. 1.
Also, Kaiser Family Foundation has a good state-by-state explanation of how the individual marketplaces are doing.
But enough about health reform.
• Freaky story from Frontline today about drug-resistant bacterial infections that break out at hospitals and can’t be stopped. Brief intro online; the full segment will air on PBS starting tonight. The story focuses on an outbreak of “Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase,” or KPC, at the National Institute of Health hospital in Bethesda. Yikes.
• Potentially relevant in our ag-heavy county is this story from the Washington Post on the risks to humans posed by feeding antibiotics to livestock ... and how Congress has “killed every effort to legislate a ban” on the practice. The story cites a CDC report that 23,000 people die each year from drug-resistant bacteria (like the Frontline story!) and that the more exposure germs get to antibiotics (like the ones fed to livestock), the less effective those drugs become in treating disease.
• And finally, ProPublica takes a look at the disparities in health coverage for transgender people, like a woman who didn’t qualify for a free breast-cancer screening because she was born male.
Questions, comments, bursts of enlightenment? Leave ‘em in the comments or email me directly.