Posts Tagged ‘legislative’
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Learn what’s at stake for Americans if the law were repealed.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.
I post this new video because of the direct relationships between:
- Special interest lobbying and policies resulting in a widening of income & wealth gaps,
- The widening wealth gaps and poverty,
- Poverty and obesity,
- Obesity and diabetes and other chronic illness,
- Chronic illness and rising healthcare costs, and
- Rising healthcare costs and our economic problems.
Wealth Inequality in America
In his 38-page TIME magazine special report, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us, Steven Brill dives into our health care system to understand why things cost so much, avoiding the more traditional question of who pays for what. What he found was both disturbing and telling. (His 3:38 min video introduction is at the end.)
His first story starts with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, a nonprofit facility of the University of Texas, as he follows a patient who had to prepay $48,900 for six days of testing just to determine his cancer treatment regimen, which could easily run half a million dollars. An analysis of the itemized list of confusing charges showed that they were inflated as much as 100 times over retail prices, even before the hospital’s leveraged buying power. Those costs were also way higher than what Medicare would pay for the same tests, procedures and drugs.
MD Anderson, with its 19,000 employees, is one of the city’s top-10 employers, and its CEO last year was paid $1,845,000. Four other hospitals in the 1,300-acre Texas Medical Center are also in the top-10. Clearly, healthcare is a big business, but who’s making the money if it’s not doctors, nurses and technicians? It’s the hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, equipment providers, and testing companies. Read the rest of this entry »
The Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is a reasonable first step in health reform, but much more needs to be done. That’s primarily because Obamacare is still dependent on health insurance, which turned health care into an industry that profits from the perverse incentives of treating patients as paying customers. This health care industry often works to keep patients as paying customers by treating their symptoms rather than providing real cures, and prescribing drugs, performing procedures, and doing unnecessary tests. Since that’s how practitioners are paid, it’s what they do.
The following videos explain how our money-driven system of medicine works, and what’s wrong with it. The video series then ends with an easy-to-understand animated explanation of Obamacare. Read the rest of this entry »
GOP Governors Deny The Poor Health Care
In Opposing Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion
RUSTON, La. — With no health insurance and not enough money for a doctor, Laura Johnson is long accustomed to treating her ailments with a self-written prescription: home remedies, prayer and denial.
Refocusing on Health Care Opportunities That Can Make a Real Impact
By Kenneth Thorpe, Chairman, The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (original on Huffington Post)
Now that the campaign smoke has cleared, we can expect a refocusing of the nation’s arguments from the question of who will get elected to what will be done about hot-button issues like health care. Expect pitched debates to begin imminently on battlegrounds including, but certainly not limited to, Medicare reform, revisiting the Affordable Care Act, the Independent Payment Advisory Board and medical device taxes.
The fact is though, the more time policymakers spend wrangling over these issues on which there are clear, and not easily bridged partisan divides, the more we’re missing the fundamental steps that can and must be taken if we’re going to contain health care costs without compromising the quality or accessibility of care.
It begins with acknowledging what we don’t know about improving health care, and what we need to do to broaden our knowledge base. And it has to do with the more than 75 million Americans who have not one, but multiple chronic illnesses. Our health care system in this country is quite adept at treating people who have a single disease. We don’t have an effective set of best practices, or an essential foundation of research, to know how to take care of those who are coping with more than one condition.
We have the opportunity to improve this situation, and it should begin with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI.org), the entity created by Congress to evaluate different prevention and treatment therapies and offer scientifically-supported evidence on how to provide patients with the most effective care.
By Wendell Potter, Analyst at the Center for Public Integrity, author of Deadly Spin (original on Huffington Post, slightly modified after the election)
Wouldn’t it be great if our candidates had to take a dose of truth serum every morning before hitting the campaign trail? If they did, those of us who recently voted wouldn’t be nearly as confused about what Obamacare is and what it isn’t, what it will do and what it won’t.
Since there is no such truth serum requirement, I believe that many of us actually voted against our own best interests and for candidates who scared them into believing that Obamacare is a government takeover of health care that will bankrupt the country while slashing Medicare benefits. Read the rest of this entry »