Health, Medicine & Nutrition
CMS nomination PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 12:33
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Senator Chuck Grassley issued the following comment about the President’s nomination today of Marilyn Tavenner to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Mr. Berwick’s nomination was derailed by the administration’s unwillingness to let the nominee provide the committee with legitimate information necessary for us to serve our role in reviewing the nomination.   Rather than provide us with information, the administration recess appointed Berwick.  Hopefully, the administration has learned from its mistake and will follow the regular process with this nomination, as part of our system of checks and balances.”

Q&A -- Medicare open enrollment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:09

Q&A on Medicare open enrollment with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Q:    What does open enrollment mean for seniors?

A:    The Medicare open enrollment period for 2012 is under way.  Any enrollee who wants to change plans needs to do so by December 7, 2011.   The annual enrollment period applies to Medicare Parts A and B, which is traditional Medicare; the alternative to Medicare Parts A and B, which is Medicare Advantage; and Medicare Part D, which is the prescription drug program added to Medicare in 2003.

During open enrollment, Medicare beneficiaries don’t have to make changes if they don’t want or need to.  They can switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, move from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare, or switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.  They can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan, drop Medicare prescription drug coverage, or switch from one drug plan to another.

Helpful consumer information is available at

Q:    What happens if plans are discontinued?

A:    Most Medicare enrollees will not need to change plans, and most enrollees whose current coverage won’t be available next year – whether it’s Medicare Advantage or one of the Medicare drug benefit plans – will be enrolled automatically in a new plan, as spelled out in a Notice of Change that insurers were required to send beneficiaries in October.  However, automatic re-enrollment is not always the case, so it’s important to read any paperwork you receive this fall.  You may need to re-enroll yourself.

Some insurance plans make changes to prescription drug plans.  It might be higher or lower costs, or the dropping or adding of medications.  Medicare beneficiaries should examine their plans for 2012 changes.  It’s important to review your options every year for both financial and health needs.

For 2012, Medicare beneficiaries have plan options that offer enhanced coverage, including zero deductibles and coverage in the gap for generic drugs.  In Iowa, there are 33 Medicare prescription drug plans available for 2012.  These plans offer additional options, such as coverage in the standard benefit’s coverage gap and a deductible below the standard $310, including plans without a deductible.  For 2012, the lowest Medicare prescription drug plan available in Iowa for 2012 is $15.10 per month.  Overall, drug plans have seen a slight decrease in premiums for 2012.  I co-authored the legislation that created the Medicare prescription drug program.  Competition among insurers was built into the program design to keep costs low for enrollees, and the program has delivered consistently better-than-expected results in keeping premiums low and affordable.  Beneficiary satisfaction also is high, with 95 percent of enrollees saying their Part D plan works well, and 94 percent saying it’s easy to use, in a survey conducted this year.

Q:    What kind of help is available to sort through enrollment questions?

A:    Many states, including Iowa, have set up Senior Health Insurance Information Programs.  Iowa’s program provides confidential guidance to individuals, and it’s free of charge.  Those who have questions about plan options or unresolved issues with plans should call the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, or SHIIP, at 1-800-351-4664.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grassley Requests Audio, Video Coverage of Landmark Health Care Case in Supreme Court PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 21 November 2011 15:35
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has asked Chief Justice John Roberts to provide audio and video coverage of the landmark Supreme Court proceedings of the federal health care reform law.  Grassley is the author of legislation that would allow cameras in federal courts.  The bipartisan legislation has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Cameras in federal courtrooms are at the very heart of an open and transparent government.  Broadcasting the health care reform law proceedings would not only contribute to the public’s understanding of America’s judicial system, but provide an excellent educational opportunity on a case that has the potential to have a far reaching impact on every American,” Grassley said.  “This law is massive in size and scope.  Its effect is reverberating throughout America’s economy.  The constitutional questions are landmark.  The public has a right to hear and see the legal arguments.”

Grassley first introduced the Cameras in the Courtroom legislation in 1999.  Since then, the Chief Justice has immediately released audio of oral arguments of compelling cases.  The first release came when, at the request of Grassley and others, then Chief Justice William Rehnquist allowed for the release of audio immediately following oral arguments in the Florida election matter in 2000.  Since then, Chief Justice John Roberts has released audio recordings the same day of the oral arguments for more than 20 cases, including Grutter v. Bollinger, D.C. v. Heller, the Guantanamo Cases and the Citizens United Case.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter.  A copy of the signed letter can be found here.



November 15, 2011

The Chief Justice

The Supreme Court of the United States

Washington, DC 20543

Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

I am writing to request that the Supreme Court exercise its discretion to permit television coverage of Supreme Court proceedings when the Court hears arguments in the case of the federal health care reform law.  It is my understanding oral arguments will take place in March of next year.

The decision in this case has the potential to reach every American.  The law is massive in size and scope.  The effect of the law, and the Court’s decision, will reverberate throughout the American economy.

The constitutional questions presented in the case are momentous. The public has a right to witness the legal arguments likely to be presented in the case: (1) the constitutionality of the individual mandate; (2) the severability of the individual mandate and whether or not the remainder of the law is valid without the mandate; and (3) the authority of Congress to impose mandatory Medicaid coverage thresholds on states.  Given the nature of the topic, everyone in the country would benefit from following the proceedings in this landmark case.

Modern technology makes televising the proceedings before the Court simple and unobtrusive.  A minimal number of cameras in the courtroom, which could be placed to be barely noticeable to all participants, would provide live coverage of what may be one of the most historic and important arguments of our time.  Letting the world watch would bolster public confidence in our judicial system and in the decisions of the Court.

Providing live audio and video coverage of the oral arguments will be of great benefit to the Court and to the public.  Letting the world watch these historic and important proceedings will bolster confidence in our judicial system and the decisions of the Court.


Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator


Tips on How You and Your Kids Can Be Healthy This Thanksgiving PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Stephanie Walsh, M.D.   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 13:58

Author: Stephanie Walsh, M.D., Medical Director, Child Wellness, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

The Thanksgiving holiday season is a wonderful time of the year filled with family, friends and of course, food. While the spirit of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for all that we have, the holiday has become increasingly focused on food and eating. There’s no harm in enjoying a meal with your family on Thanksgiving, but it’s important to remember that the purpose of the holiday is not simply to over-eat.

Childhood obesity continues to be a threatening epidemic in Georgia. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is continuing to see cases of obesity at all three of its hospitals. The consequences of obesity on children include health issues that are typically seen only in adults, such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, joint problems and high cholesterol. Strong4Life aims to help families take small steps that add up to big changes to help prevent or reverse the consequences of obesity.

Thankfully, there are a lot of ways you can make this Thanksgiving a healthier one for the whole family. Strong4Life helps families bring together four essential building blocks every kid needs to be healthy – Eat Right, Be Active, Get Support and Have Fun. You don’t have to take a break from trying to be healthy just because it’s the holidays; instead, try incorporating one or two of the tips below into your family’s holiday routine:

Eat Right

  • Try to incorporate more whole fruits and vegetables into your Thanksgiving meal; you’ll save on the calories that are often added to fruits and vegetables to make heavy casseroles.
  • Serve water with sliced lemon or lime with your Thanksgiving meal instead of sugary beverages like lemonade, alcohol and sweet tea. You’ll get more flavor with less sugar and calories.

Be Active

  • Leading up to Thanksgiving, encourage your family to spend one less hour in front of the television and one more hour of physical activity per day to help offset the extra calories consumed on Thanksgiving Day.
  • On Thanksgiving Day, consider leaving the T.V. and computers off all day so your family will have more opportunities to be active.

Get Support

  • Sometimes, overindulging at the holidays can lead to eating unhealthy all of the time. Try to recognize when your family's holiday eating has become an unhealthy habit and work together as a family to make better choices.
  • If you are concerned about childhood obesity, talk to your healthcare provider about more steps your family can take to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Have Fun

  • Play a game of touch football, Frisbee or kickball after the Thanksgiving meal to help everyone feel energized rather than lethargic.
  • Promote "play time" and encourage activities that are fun and physical such as hop-scotch, jumping rope, tag or hide-and-go-seek.

Remember that parents serve as role models for their children, so make sure your actions are ones that you would want your children to follow. By making a few simple changes, your whole family can enjoy a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Kevin Kruse   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 13:52

The Iowa Podiatric Medical Society membership elected one new director and re-elected two directors at the 2011 Annual Business Meeting that was recently held in Des Moines. Mica Murdoch, D.P.M., Des Moines was elected as a new director and Mindi Feilmeier, D.P.M., Spirit Lake and Greg McCarthy, D.P.M., Sioux City were both re-elected to a three-year term on the board.

Paul Dayton, D.P.M., Fort Dodge, was elected President of the IPMS Board of Directors. Mark Lucas, D.P.M., Bettendorf was elected as Vice-President, and Greg McCarthy, D.P.M., Sioux City, was elected as Secretary-Treasurer of the IPMS Board of Directors.

Current Board Members include: Gregg Corrigan, D.P.M., Davenport; Christopher Considine, D.P.M., Waterloo; James Mahoney, D.P.M., Des Moines; Gene Nassif, D.P.M., Marion, Past-President; Philip Morreale, D.P.M., Waterloo; Michael Ward, D.P.M., Dubuque; and Tim Yoho, D.P.M., Des Moines.

The Iowa Podiatric Medical Society (IPMS) is the professional organization representing over 135 medical and surgical specialists of the foot and ankle, located throughout the state of Iowa. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) are physicians and surgeons who provide comprehensive services ranging from routine foot care to sophisticated foot surgery. Doctors of Podiatric Medicine are also involved in examining and treating patients diagnosed with diabetes, and those at risk for the disease, to assist them in avoiding possible complications, such as foot ulcers and amputations.


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