Tag: Health Care
As we celebrate the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act this week, we also mark a huge turning point in the way we think about health. A year ago this week, our country made a down payment on a transformative notion.
The communities where we live, work, learn and play should thrive. Your family, the kids your children play with at school, the family that lives next door to you, deserve support as they strive to be healthy (continue reading…)
A friend of mine, far from indigent, had her teeth cleaned three weeks ago. She was the picture of health when she went in to the dentist, and today she is dead, a victim of everything that is wrong with our system, although not of any malpractice. She is the second person in my life to die from the most serious problem in our health care system: lack of continuity of care.
The first died of misdiagnosed malaria in an emergency room in Arizona. They sent him home telling him he had the flu, even though he told them he had just returned from Africa.
The most recent died Wednesday night only hours after being discharged from the hospital with a pic line and a supply of intravenous antibiotics and no understanding of how sick she was (continue reading…)
Most people believe that government should subsidize health insurance. Liberals endorse this view with gusto, arguing for universal provision as in Canada or Western Europe. Conservatives endorse less government subsidy, but they routinely defend Medicare and the tax preference for employer-provided health insurance, the two largest subsidies in the United States.
Given this “bi-partisan” support for subsidizing health insurance, one might assume the arguments for such provision are compelling. Actually, no good case exists for universal provision, or for Medicare, Obamacare, and the tax subsidy (continue reading…)
Last week I wrote about asset poverty and the huge difference it makes to a family’s economic security to have assets — savings, home equity, etc. — that they can tap into during tough times. As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, we should remember what a crucial role the health care reform law is starting to play in protecting people’s financial safety net.
That health and wealth are connected is thoroughly documented. For example, people in the highest income group can expect to live, on average, at least six and a half years longer than those in the lowest (continue reading…)
Since he debuted on the political stage with the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, Republicans have suspected that Barack Obama was a Marxist. It turns out they were right: He’s Groucho.
In the 1930 film Animal Crackers, Groucho Marx, a comedic genius and wit, played Captain Jeffrey Spaulding. He sang a lyric called “Hello, I Must Be Going.”
Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going (continue reading…)
One year after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the debate roars on, in Congress and everywhere else. And these debates often revolve around a big question, even when it is left unspoken or implied: Is health care a basic human right?
In 1990 I made a quantum leap from practicing in the Navy’s single-payer, universal-coverage health care system into civilian pediatrics. Having been insulated from the profit end of health care for almost a decade, the move to the U.S. healthcare system of haves and have-nots turned out to be a culture shock.
My first civilian job was at Wood River Community Health Center in Rhode Island, and one of my first patients was Jennie, a 3 month-old who had been placed in foster care because of her mother’s drug addiction (continue reading…)
Today marks the one-year anniversary of enacting the Affordable Care Act, the health-insurance reform bill I fought hard to pass in the 111th Congress to ensure Coloradans — not their insurance companies — can call the shots on their health care decisions. Equally important, it will enable many Coloradans to choose from improved and affordable coverage plans and feel secure in knowing there are new rules to prevent their insurance companies from abusing their trust — and money.
While the law’s full range of benefits and protections won’t be fully in place for several years, I’m particularly proud of how its early provisions have strengthened Medicare, protected kids and lowered costs for small businesses this past year.
More than 42,000 Colorado seniors who reached the Medicare Part D coverage gap, or “donut hole,” received $250 rebates in 2010 to help cover the disproportionately high cost of prescription drugs. This year, those seniors will see a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the coverage gap. And nearly 544,000 Medicare beneficiaries can now receive free annual wellness visits and preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies (continue reading…)
Let’s face it. At some point, we all get sick. And, sometimes lightning strikes and we, or our families, get sicker than we ever even wanted to imagine. Most people plan for healthy lives, try to eat healthy, and regularly pay insurance premiums (continue reading…)
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. But in the twelve months since it was signed, the law has already given Americans more freedom and control over their health care choices. The law’s key goals for America’s families: better benefits and better health.
The Affordable Care Act created a Patient’s Bill of Rights that put an end to the worst abuses of the insurance industry (continue reading…)
On Wednesday the Republicans on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee are holding a “public” hearing about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the state capitol in Harrisburg, Penn. Except they’re not there to listen to the public and people like Pennsylvania’s Stacie Ritter, whose family had good insurance and still had to file for bankruptcy because of massive medical bills.
Stacie and her husband Ben had to pay huge fees for the treatments their twin little girls, Hannah and Madeline, needed when they were diagnosed with leukemia. At the same time, Ben had to take time from work to help care for the twins and their other children (continue reading…)
Aging can be hard. The aches and pains start to add up — and a lifetime of calories, cholesterol, and time spent sitting on the couch catches up with us.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes some new measures that can help us be more active and independent as we age — and make our Golden Years more golden.
As of January 1, 2011, Medicare now covers an annual wellness visit to make it easier for seniors to visit their physician for a check-up. This provision allows physicians to work with Medicare patients to develop a personalized prevention plan so seniors can take proactive steps on their own to make healthier decisions and prevent illness or injury (for more information, see ACA 4103) (continue reading…)
I want to commemorate the first anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a healthier American people.
One year ago, we took the first step toward a true public health system when the federal government committed to helping people take personal responsibility for their own health by making healthy choices easier choices.
Included in the ACA — which eliminates co-pays for proven, effective preventive services — is the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a $16.5 billion investment over the next 10 years that goes to communities around the country to help them keep Americans healthier and more productive.
One hallmark program of the Prevention Fund is the Community Transformation Grants (CTG), which provide communities with the resources needed to work together at the local level to create health initiatives tailored to their specific needs. This can involve small business owners, faith leaders, youth leaders, employers, community groups, parents, law enforcement officials, schools, and health care providers (continue reading…)
There is no denying that in this difficult budget climate, politicians are facing tough decisions. Astronomical budget and debt challenges have given many experts cause for serious concern regarding the stability of the U.S. economy. State and federal programs — including many that affect children — are being slashed to balance budgets (continue reading…)
Co-authored with Brooke Jarvis
In one sense, the struggle over union rights in Wisconsin is over. It took some breathtaking, possibly even illegal, shenanigans, but the union-busting “Budget Repair Bill” has been passed, signed, and celebrated. In other ways, though, the weeks of historic protests in and around Wisconsin’s capitol were just the first act of what may prove to be a far longer — and larger — struggle.
Around the country, state governments are targeting union rights, workplace protection, social services, and the ability of middle-class and working poor to have a voice. But, in large part thanks to the momentum of the Wisconsin protests, they’re finding it difficult to do so quietly (continue reading…)
I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of compassion as well as the wealth of information I received from readers in response to my recent post, “Why Hospitals Are the Worst Place to Be When You Are Sick.” The spread of infections in hospitals has reached epidemic proportions. In this followup, I want to share some of the resources that were shared with me in emails from readers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified hospital-acquired infections as the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC reported that in 2002, nearly 100,000 people died with a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), while an estimated 1.7 million people became infected. All in all, more people die per year in the U.S (continue reading…)
I grew up in Schenectady, a small city in upstate New York. Sex education was an embarrassing night with my younger brother in the school cafeteria with a black and white filmstrip from the 50s. There was no discussion afterwards, just an awkward silence because the room was filled with people you were going to see in the morning. In high school, we were barred from learning about condoms (continue reading…)
The House Republican budget has a lot of flaws. For one thing, independent reports say the plan will cost 700,000 American jobs. (Talk about a job killer!) But let’s take a look at just one small group of cuts their plan makes–programs to help seniors stay healthy and independent.
Some examples of these cuts include:
Job training & placement for low-income seniors still able to work
Grants and loans to rebuild low-income seniors’ housing
Programs to help seniors with their nutrition
Home heating assistance for low-income seniors
Of course, don’t forget Republican plans to repeal the health care reform bill, which allows more seniors to get home and community-based alternatives to nursing home care.
I’ve been taking care of my elderly father for over a decade (continue reading…)
The Obama administration has encouraged something of a lovefest between President Obama and Ronald Reagan. Gauzy stories about how highly our current president esteems the 40th — along with equally gauzy commentary about how these two share a talent for appealing to a wide swath of the American public — have been all over the news.
Time Magazine put a ribbon on the meme with its “Why Obama Loves Reagan” cover package about the Obama/Reagan “bromance,” with no less an eminence than presidential historian Douglas Brinkley proclaiming that Obama is “approaching the job in a Reaganesque fashion.”
Obama’s praise of Reagan leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of those who thought Reagan’s geniality was largely an act that masked eight years of making the rich richer and the poor poorer, including wasting untold billions on a crony-rewarding military spending binge.
But Obama seems to have overlooked Reagan’s greatest gift and most effective tactic: the ability to declare that virtually any triumph that happened while he was president, and even after, was his own; and that whatever went wrong was the fault of big government liberals.
The Romans called this post hoc ergo propter hoc — literally, “after the fact, therefore because of the fact.” When I was in college, my logic professor called this the Rooster Fallacy: The rooster crows when the sun comes up, so the rooster thinks he made the sun come up.
That was Ronald Reagan (continue reading…)
GOPers, gather ’round. For your consideration, a travesty of bureaucracy: Eighty-eight different agencies make a slew of complex and often conflicting rules that mire thousands of small and mid-sized American businesses in snarls of paperwork that run up man-hours, reduce their company output, profit and hamstring their ability to do business.
It’s exactly the kind of thing that Republicans say is wrong with the system. In this case, I have to agree with you.
These bureaucrats create an immense amount of uncertainty for the businesses under their jurisdiction. Their paperwork consumes nearly one-third (31%) of every dollar that they take in (continue reading…)
On Monday, the Tennessee legislature voted along party lines to join an interstate compact intended to exempt the state from having to follow the national healthcare law. The state’s Republican governor is likely to sign the bill, and at least nine other states are considering similar action. Unfortunately for them, however, no interstate compact is going to free the states from the healthcare law.
And, remarkably, proponents of the interstate compacts–essentially contracts between two or more states–are unwittingly helping President Obama’s efforts to defend the law in court.
Interstate compacts are just the latest in a growing line of futile efforts to overturn President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. In January, House Republicans voted to repeal the law, although they knew President Obama would veto any such effort (continue reading…)
Last week, President Barack Obama tried to make some news on the healthcare issue. Unfortunately for him, the story was all but swallowed by bigger news (Libya, the budget fight, Charlie Sheen… ). But this is a story that deserves some attention, because it might prove to be the answer to the endless bickering on Capitol Hill on what to do about the newly-passed healthcare law (continue reading…)
This past Saturday, Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his 2011 “Report on the Work of the Government” to the 3,000 delegates gathered in Beijing for the National People’s Congress. The report, delivered annually, is comparable to U.S. President’s State of the Union Address, laying out the successes of the past year and the direction the government plans to take in the next year. But, as this is a year that the Congress will issue the next Five-Year Plan (the 12th), Wen’s report looks beyond 2011, down the road as far as 2015.
Parsing the “Report on the Work of the Government” is no easier than parsing the State of the Union address (continue reading…)
In the Beltway’s scandal of the day, the New York Times reports that Egypt’s military duped the US military into paying for a commercial, civilian hospital. Miffed, the Pentagon moved to cut off funding for the project and even tried to recoup some of the expenses for this blatantly non-military project.
We keep hearing about the size and influence of the Egyptian military. Certainly, the actions of the military kept Egypt’s remarkable transition largely peaceful, winning both admiration and support from around the globe. But, as the cynic says, let’s look at the numbers.
Egypt has the 10th largest military in the world by manpower: about 470,000 men on active duty (continue reading…)