Legislative | Regulatory
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ”I Have a Dream” speech, Dan Munro wrote a wonderful column on Forbes reminding us that King saw healthcare as a civil right. Sadly, we have made little progress on healthcare inequality, with roughly 50 million Americans without health insurance and another 40 million under-insured.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is poised to relieve some of that, with the individual mandate to buy healthcare insurance and subsidies for low-income Americans. But individual states are still allowed to choose whether or not to support and fund a key component of the ACA – Medicaid expansion. Many will, but some won’t.
Many doctors have walked away from taking Medicaid patients, and some have abandoned Medicare patients too. Read the rest of this entry »
I encourage you to watch the “Must See” documentary, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue America’s Healthcare” (trailer below). It won several awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and was described as “An Inconvenient Truth for the healthcare debate” (The Village Voice). Over two million people watched when it aired for free on CNN in March. Read the rest of this entry »
In this video interview, Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, talks with 16-year-old Jack Andraka about how he researched journals online to invent a breakthrough cancer diagnostic test that won the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
As Jack said in the video, the test costs just $0.03, takes just 5 minutes, can discover certain cancers earlier, and is 100% accurate in clinical trials so far. Read the rest of this entry »
Obamacare does so many things to give people better access to affordable, quality health care. The folks at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative just like to say THANKS OBAMACARE with this moving infographic about President Obama’s healthcare plan and how it actually helps people. Nothing is perfect, but we think there are a lot of positives that came out of this whole thing, and politicians focus only on negative talking points. ugh.
More than five years after the collapse of the housing market, it’s all too apparent that current housing policy, and the institutions that support it, are outdated and inadequate.
That’s why a Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission of former Cabinet secretaries, former Senators and other leading housing and economic experts unveiled a new vision for housing policy that aims to further our nation’s economic recovery and improve the lives of millions of Americans. The recommendations propose scaling back the government role in the nation’s housing finance system and reforming housing assistance programs to better meet the needs of America’s most vulnerable households.
“Profound demographic changes are transforming the country and our housing needs. The aging of the Baby Boomers, the formation of new households by millions of young Echo Boomers striking out on their own, and the increasing diversity of the American population will present new challenges and opportunities for housing providers and policy makers.”
The Commission’s report, entitled Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy, proposes a new housing finance system that calls for a far greater role for the private sector, a continued but limited role for the federal government, the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and reform of the Federal Housing Administration to improve efficiency and avoid crowd-out of private capital.
Health care reform law aims to improve care,
lower costs for seniors and people with disabilities.
3-4 million seniors living with multiple chronic illnesses such as diabetes, lung and heart disease are too ill or disabled to easily visit their physician when they need care. Instead, they go to the ER or are hospitalized. These seniors represent about 10% of Medicare beneficiaries but account for two thirds of Medicare’s expenditures, and it’s a problem that’s not going away. The number of people with multiple chronic illnesses will grow to 6-8 million by 2025.
House calls, directed at these highest cost patients first, are a solution to the rising Medicare costs. The average $1,500 per ER visit, for example, can more than justify the cost of 10 house calls. Savings are even greater for avoided hospitalizations. Home-based primary care programs have the potential to save 20-40% on Medicare’s most expensive patients by bringing them care in their homes. But this is a new and relatively unproven healthcare delivery model.
Testing the Solution
The Independence at Home Demonstration, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, will test the viability of a new service delivery model that utilizes physician and nurse practitioner directed primary care teams to provide services to certain Medicare beneficiaries in their homes. Up to 10,000 Medicare patients with chronic conditions will now be able to get most of the care they need at home.
“This program gives new life to the old practice of house calls, but with 21st Century technology and a team approach,” said Marilyn Tavenner, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator.
The new Independence at Home Demonstration greatly expands the scope of in-home services Medicare beneficiaries can receive. It’s a voluntary program for chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries that will provide them with a complete range of primary care services. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
More than three years ago, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and President Obama signed it into law. Last year, the Supreme Court upheld it. Millions of Americans have already benefited from its provisions, and millions more are looking forward to benefits that will soon go into effect. And in November, the American people re-elected the president as an affirmation of the law’s promise that no person should go broke if they get sick.
Yet today, for nearly the 40th time since it’s been the law of the land, House Republicans staged yet another repeal vote in their latest attempt to turn back the clock on progress and deny Americans health insurance coverage they can count on.
For the 37th time, Congress is voting to repeal the health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
Learn what’s at stake for Americans if the law were repealed.
By Arthur Delaney (original on Huffington Post)
ROANOKE, Va. — William McCormick remembers from his working-class upbringing in Covington, Va., that neighbors took care of neighbors.
“Both my parents worked in the mill,” he said. “For people in the neighborhood who were hungry we’d make up two or three bags of groceries, put $5 or $10 in it, set it on the porch, knock on the door and leave. We wouldn’t tell ‘em who did it.”
Now McCormick is 70 years old and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a six-story building. Only about 40 of the building’s 144 units are occupied. The parking lots are barren and the hallways are dingy with torn carpets. McCormick considers the building “spooky.”
Some Disturbing Stats:
- There are already 40M seniors 65+ today, with 10,000 more reaching age 65 every day.
- 40% of them are low-income (below 150% of poverty level) and will need public assistance.
- The poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,113, and the 2010 average income of the bottom 90% was $26.364.
- People 90+ had a median income of just $14,760 in 2010, about half of it from Social Security. 37.3% of them lived alone and depend on services like Meels on Wheels.
Guest article by Ray Collins
The FDA has tolerated, regulated, and now seems to favor direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies, apparently as part the the judicial and regulatory trends toward corporate free speech. Susan Schwartz McDonald posts at National Analysts about her company’s view
The very fact that this particular [FDA] survey [of health care professionals] is on the docket speaks volumes about what many FDA-watchers have already concluded: that the agency has morphed from wary and grudging to comfortable and upbeat about the benefit of allowing pharma to converse with patients. After several decades of experience, the FDA seems ready to conclude that direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) can do more than bring relevant therapies to broader awareness.