Love the TV series “House of Cards”? You’ll adore the novel

  Starting on Valentine’s Day, Netflix airs its second season of House of Cards. Which means a lot of folks will be snuggling up with Kevin Spacey as a ruthless Congressman named Francis Underhill. Spacey isn’t playing the first political villain named Francis, however. Instead he’s playing the American incarnation of a character who first appeared 25 years ago in an English novel. This week, Sourcebooks is re-releasing House of Cards as an e-book. (The print edition arrives March 11.) …

Bill Would Cover More Medicare Patients for Skilled Nursing Care

A congressman is expressing confidence that a bill he sponsored – to fix a problem faced by many Medicare patients who are left without coverage for skilled nursing care – will pass this year. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who introduced the bill with Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, told reporters in a conference call that the legislation has picked up 137 cosponsors. “This is not happening in a vacuum,” Courtney said, according to the Connecticut Mirror. “It’s happening because there is …

What the Cut in Food Stamps Means

When President Obama signed the farm bill on Feb. 7, it meant sun and rain for food stamp recipients. The sunny side is that a $40 billion cut over 10 years proposed by House Republicans was whittled to $8.6 billion. The stormy side is that some 850,000 households, or 4 percent of beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP (formerly food stamps), will lose about $90 a month to help pay for groceries. The wide-ranging law also addresses nutrition …

Congress Moves to Overhaul Medicare Doctor Payments

By Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer The bipartisan leadership of three Senate and House committees introduced legislation Feb. 6 to overhaul the way Medicare pays physicians. The package, which does not specify how it would be paid for, would repeal the current system, which sets Medicare physician payment rates through a 1997 formula based on economic growth and known as the “sustainable growth rate” (SGR).  Physicians would receive a 0.5 percent increase for each of the next five years …

AARP Will Work With President, Congress for Secure Future

The president’s speech tonight addressed issues AARP has been working on since long before President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty began over 50 years ago. Social Security and Medicare have helped make a difference by protecting the middle class and keeping millions out of poverty, but many families and Americans of all ages continue to struggle. As we look toward this season of new budget proposals, we also urge the president and Congress to fight for responsible solutions to strengthen …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

 News, discoveries and fun … 1. A novelist/farmer gives “chick lit” a whole new meaning. (Learn more at CBS) (hat tip to Hilarie Grey) 2. It’s possible to score a night at the Waldorf-Astoria for $15.75. (Learn more at AARP) 3. New surgical superglue can patch a hole in a beating heart. (Learn more at NPR) 4. Some people who get migraines spell relief p-l-a-c-e-b-o. (Learn more at AARP) 5. The NBA will end merger payments to the owners of a defunct ABA team – at $800 million. (Learn …