Friday, June 29, 2012

some key articles from yesterday, plus

o   5 myths of the individual mandate Politico by JOANNE KENEN
o Editorial: It's Up to the Voters Now Wall Street Journal

Do you have questions about the Supreme Court's health law ruling? Please send them to and watch our live webcast at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, July 3. 

from kaiser health news

3. Hospitals Celebrate Decision, But Threats Remain  

16. Most Health Care Firms Expect To Benefit From Health Law 

NYT editoria: 

A Muddled Political Response From the Right

Update of my most useful blogs

1)     General summary*

3)      Medicare quiz*

6)    Kaiser study: Public Can Be Swayed On Health Law’s Mandate, Survey Finds*

7)      thanks obamacare*

8) more comprehensive list of benefits of obamacare
very useful summary of all the preventive services provided to medicare benes

10)      Cost savings


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summary of Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act – Brief Summary

·         By 2014, 32 million will have health insurance who now do not  
·         The Affordable Care is not a Federal government run program as it will expand access to private insurance.
·         The non partisan Congressional Budget Office says the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit.
·         There are no death panels, and the Federal government is not paying for any abortion services. 

As of 2011
·         Children  can stay on their parents insurance plan until the age of 26.
·         Children cannot be denied health insurance coverage.
·         seniors will have expanded preventive care 
·         seniors who have prescription drug plans will have reduced drug costs
·         small businesses will get a 35% tax credit to cover employees
·         In 2014, there will be a wider range of insurance choices with better coverage at better costs.


I.                  What are some of the key benefits of the Affordable Care Act

·         The law is already benefiting many Americans:

·         Children can stay on their parents' health plan until they turn 26 .
·         Insurance companies cannot deny or cancel children’s coverage for current or previous medical problems
·         Insurers can no longer put a dollar maximum on health insurance coverage or cancel a plan if a person gets sick 
·         Seniors who have Medicare prescription drug plans and have high prescription drug costs now will pay less for these drugs, and by 2019 all prescription drug costs will be covered 
·         All 46 million seniors with Medicare will get coverage for several preventive services, such as yearly checkups and mammograms.
·         Small businesses get a 35% tax credit to help pay for employees' coverage.

Additional benefits and savings in 2014, when the law is fully in place:
·         32 million people who are currently uninsured will get health insurance
·          Insurance companies won't be able to deny anyone coverage for medical conditions or place a limit on your coverage.  Now only kids cannot be denied.
·         People who don't get health coverage at work will choose among a number of health plans, in a new marketplace run by state governments.  These will be better health insurance plans than now available, and people will pay based on their income and other financial criteria.
·         The Act will also improve quality, make health care more efficient, and reduce the deficit.

Myths: Are there any misleading information being said about the law?
·         Charge: The law creates death panels
o   This is a totally false charge.
·         Charge: The Federal government will pay for abortions
o   The bill specifically states that no Federal funds can be used for abortion services.
·         Charge:  The law covers undocumented or illegal immigrants
o   This is a totally false charge.

·         Charge: This is program run by the Federal Government.
o   The bill specifically states that the Federal Government will not operate any new insurance programs. 
·         Charge: the law increase deficits
o   The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which has always been regarded by both parties until now as a unbiased scorekeeper says the law will reduce the deficit by a trillion in 20 years.  This is the only time that Republicans have questioned the Congressional Budget Office. 

II.               What is the impact on businesses?
·         Small businesses get tax credit in 2011
·         Small businesses employees under 100 can get insurance thru exchanges in 2014
·         Need to reduce rate of health care inflation, which is twice as high as rest of developed world, seriously hurting small and large businesses
·         Better health care makes more productive employees which is good both for the employees and their families
·         More health care jobs

III.           What about the individual mandate

·         Requires everyone to have insurance,  same as auto insurance
·         If a person gets sick, avoids doctors, and ends up in the emergency room, this costs everyone more money
·         With everyone insured, it spreads the costs to everyone, and makes it cheaper for all of us
·         If a person chooses not to get insurance, why should we bear the burden when they gets sick.  


here is a more detailed summary of the benefits

here is a list of an earlier post of my most useful blogs.  I plan to update this tomorrow.

see also earlier post today with more personal thoughts. 

Incredible! My best dreams for this decision were realized.

As I blogged the other day,  I thought upholding the mandate was a definite possibility but I certainly wasn't certain.  This is very exciting to see this outcome, with Roberts, a Bush appointee, being a key vote.

Today I will celebrate.  I hope the american public will now accept this decision, but I am sure the Republicans will work hard to fight it.  We will still have to work hard to re-elect Obama and keep enough Democrats in congress.

This is very moving.

Still trying to figure out the impact of the decision on Medicaid.  Sounds like States can decide to opt of the new medicaid provisions w/o a penalty.

Addendum:  Just listened to obama.  I have been waiting two years for him to speak to the country about the law.  A very good speech, but there are a few critical comments that he could have added, such as this will save money, and result in better care.

Romney on the other hand had some good sound bites but most of them were inaccurate, such as 20 million will lose their insurance (somewhat accurate but misleading), and that costs will go up (definitely offbase).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Comments on Supreme Court, obesity counceling, and EHR

Today's blog is on several different topics. Some from Kaiser Health News.

1) My thoughts on the Supreme Court Decision

So Thursday morning is the big day.  I have no knowledge to predict the outcome.  I hope that they validate the entire law and believe it is possible. Several folks have made good arguments that if they reject the individual mandate, they are undermining the commerce clause.  On the other hand, the cynical side of me has not a lot of faith in this supreme court.  On too many decisions, this court has made what I call political decisions, such as the decision to approve Bush's election, and the Citizens United case.  My hope is that if the reject the mandate, that is all they kill.  While that decision will undermine the bill, the rest of the provisions will carry us far forward.  If they reject other provisions, then we are in trouble.

2) Articles from Kaiser Health News  that are of significance

a) Preventive Services Task Force Endorses Obesity Screening, Counseling 

this is a very  good recommendation which has lots of merit.  I have greatly benefited from a program started at GWU and is now operated by the National Center for Weight and Wellness. I highly recommend their program and its features. 

b) Electronic Health Records Could Help Lower Malpractice Claims 

sounds good.  


Monday, June 25, 2012

why not the best: hospital peformance reports

this is an excellent resource that compares hospitals all over the country on many variables.  Very useful results. Somewhat surprising re Montgomery county hospitals. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Healthcare jobs to grow dramatically

this georgetown report indicates significant growth in health care jobs.  This is independent of the affordable care act. the act will result in that many more jobs.  Congressional Quarterly has a nice summary of this report for those who have a paid subscription.  A colleague who works at ANA says the numbers are too low for nurses. 

LA times has article on this report,0,1325697.story

5.6 million jobs by 2020

Friday, June 15, 2012

Video: Health Reform: We Cannot Go Back

this is a well done video that describes the key benefits of the Affordable Care Act.  Prepared by Catholic health Association.