Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether it has to wait to hear challenges against the health care reform law until 2015 when the first penalties must be paid following the implementation of the individual mandate in 2014. Neither the government lawyers nor those representing the 26 states believe the court is barred from hearing the case under the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits a person from bringing a lawsuit claiming that a tax is unlawful until after the tax has been paid. So the High Court appointed an independent, private attorney to argue that the Court did not have jurisdiction to decide the matter. That attorney's argument hinged on the theory that the penalty assessed under the law on those who fail to obtain health insurance is the same as a tax, thus the court must wait to hear the case until after 2015. According to NPR, the justices "appeared not to be buying" that argument.
Yesterday's arguments are available in audio files and a transcript.
Today's arguments focused on the individual mandate and if such a regulation is permissible under the Commerce Clause that allows the federal government to regulate interstate activity. Challengers of the law believe that the decision not to buy health insurance is economic inactivity, rather than activity, and therefore not a behavior the federal government can regulate, says the Washington Post. Proponents argue that the decision to not purchase health insurance has an economic effect because taxpayers essentially pay for the uninsured.
Tomorrow the justices will hear arguments on whether the law can stand if the individual mandate is struck down. Additionally, lawyers will argue the part of the law that expands Medicaid.
A ruling is expected in June.
HealthPartners, a nonprofit HMO, recently awarded Therapy Partners Inc a 2011 Excellence in Innovation award for its project Value-based Purchasing Model for Therapy Services.
Therapy Partners' 6-member independent physical therapy practices collected outcomes information using a patient-reporting tool over the course of 1 year. That information helped HealthPartners develop a pay-for-performance model for therapy services that focuses payment on value rather than on volume of services.
With health care reform's emphasis on developing new models of care that reduce costs and increase patient outcomes, it is important that physical therapists (PTs) begin to consider similar models for their practices. To help APTA members seek opportunities in the changing health care environment, APTA has created a series of videos that highlight various innovative clinical practice models. Each APTA member appearing in a video is part of a nontraditional, outside-the-box creative practice model. These videos can help PTs gain insight and inspiration as they look for ways to become involved in new models of care delivery.
Exercising for an hour every 2 days lowered blood sugar as much as daily 30-minute workouts in a group of 30 men with type 2 diabetes, says a Reuters Health article based on a Dutch study published in Diabetes Care.
The men in the new study were 60 years old on average. About half of them required insulin injections to control their blood sugar. The rest managed their condition with diet and oral medication.
The 30 men participated in 3 experiments that lasted 3 days each. In 1 of the 3 experiments, they cycled for 60 minutes on the first day and then rested the next day. In the other, they cycled for 30 minutes on 2 consecutive days. In the third, they didn't exercise at all. Throughout the experiments, they ate a standardized diet and were asked to continue with their daily level of activity.
The researchers continuously monitored the men's blood sugar during exercise and for the next couple of days.
When the men didn't exercise at all, they had high blood sugar 32% of the time. But when they biked, their blood sugar was in the high range only 24% of the time, no matter which schedule they followed, Reuters says.
The 2 exercise schedules also did equally well in terms of lowering the men's average blood sugar levels.
The authors suggest that women with type 2 diabetes are likely to reap the same benefits as the men in this study. However, the participants in the current study were relatively healthy. They didn't have heart disease and weren't extremely obese, so the results may not apply to all people with type 2 diabetes, says the article.