WASHINGTON — In a major surprise on the politically charged new health care law, the Obama administration said Friday that it would not define a single uniform set of “essential health benefits” that must be provided by insurers for tens of millions of Americans. Instead, it will allow each state to specify the benefits within broad categories.
The move would allow significant variations in benefits from state to state, much like the current differences in state Medicaid programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
By giving states the discretion to specify essential benefits, the Obama administration sought to deflect one of the most powerful arguments made by Republican critics of President Obama’s health care overhaul — that it was imposing a rigid, bureaucrat-controlled health system on Americans and threatening the quality of care. Opponents say that the federal government is forcing a one-size-fits-all standard for health insurance and usurping state authority to regulate the industry.
This criticism has inspired legal challenges to the new law — with the Supreme Court set to decide next year whether the government can require Americans to buy health insurance — and helps explain why public opinion of the law remains deeply divided.
The law is looming as a central issue in the 2012 presidential race, with Republican presidential candidates being evaluated on the strength of their opposition to it. The announcement by the administration follows its decision this year to jettison a program created in the law to provide long-term care insurance, a move that disappointed liberal backers of the program championed by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
The action Friday prompted questions among supporters of the new health care law. Prof. Timothy S. Jost, an expert on health law at Washington and Lee University, said, “The new bulletin perpetuates uncertainty about what benefits an insurer will be required to cover under the Affordable Care Act.” From the consumer’s point of view, Professor Jost added, “I wish the Department of Health and Human Services had signaled that there would be more uniformity and less flexibility.”
Chris Jacobs, a health policy analyst for Senate Republicans, said the new policy “gives states the flexibility to impose more benefit mandates, not fewer,” and would lead to higher insurance premiums, contrary to what Mr. Obama promised in the 2008 campaign.
Click to read complete article from The New York Times
Healthcare for All/Single Payer -
Now that the initial shouting and—at times—vitriol from both sides has subsided after Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, it’s time to take a sober look at what the ruling says about the future of health care reform in the United States. The majority’s ruling was an imperfect solution to a complicated case involving the reach of religious liberty to exempt organizations from providing certain medical benefits that they find morally objectionable to their employees. The fact that these medical benefits were almost exclusively offered to women...
Fred Rotondaro and Christopher J. Hale | TIME 13 Jul 2014 Hits:911 HCA Articles
The United States currently spends more per person on health care than any other developed country. Health outcomes in the U.S., however, are among the worst.
Despite weak health spending growth worldwide, a number of countries still had substantial health care budgets as of 2012. Based on data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. led the developed world in 2012, spending $8,745 per capita on health care. Turkey, by contrast, spent just $984 per capita, the lowest among developed countries. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the...
Ashley C. Allen | USA Today 13 Jul 2014 Hits:356 HCA Articles
The venomous politics dogging the Affordable Care Act and the flawed rollouts of its new health insurance marketplaces have too often overshadowed health reform’s noble goal: ensuring that more Americans have access to vital, potentially lifesaving medical coverage.
But on Wednesday, a groundbreaking analysis released by University of Minnesota researchers offered a powerful reminder of why it’s important to keep the big picture in mind as the challenges of implementing the landmark 2010 law continue. Even though this state struggled with the balky MNsure website, historic gains were made in extending...
Editorial Board | Star Tribune 15 Jun 2014 Hits:432 HCA Articles
Oregonians can take a critical step toward comprehensive health care for everyone in the state. That first step is the HB 3260 study of health care financing options.
In 2013, the Oregon House Health Care Committee unanimously approved the study, the legislative passed the measure with bipartisan support, and the governor signed it into law.
Why is this HB 3260 study critical?
The study authorizes the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to study four options to finance comprehensive, universal health care in Oregon. When the study is complete, the OHA will submit its report...
Samuel Metz, MD 14 May 2014 Hits:354 HCA Articles
Twenty years ago this week, Rwanda's genocide began. Over the course of 100 days, more than 1 million people would be murdered, and after the violence ended, the country—including its health care system—was left in ruins. Cholera outbreaks were rampant, HIV was widespread and people no longer trusted the few doctors who remained in the country because of their ties (suspected or legitimate) to the genocidal regime, the Atlantic reports.
In just two decades, however, according to a new study published in The Lancet, Rwanda has gone from one of the world's most health care-deprived countries to a stand-out example...
Rachel Nuwer | Smithsonianmag.com 11 Apr 2014 Hits:515 HCA Articles
When the giant kapok and nawa trees that tower over the Queen's Medical Center in downtown Honolulu were planted more than a century ago, Hawaii faced a health crisis.
Many on the islands, including the queen who founded the hospital in 1859, feared that native Hawaiians, devastated by smallpox, measles and other illnesses brought by foreigners, were in danger of dying off completely.
Today, the people who walk under these trees are some of the healthiest in America.
Hawaiians live longer than their counterparts on the mainland. They die less frequently from common...
Noam Levey | Los Angeles Times 11 Apr 2014 Hits:427 HCA Articles
Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C treatment, can cure up to 90 percent of patients within three months. There's just one problem: The drug costs $1,000 a day. That price tag has thrown the biotechnology world into turmoil, as lawmakers and insurance companies complain that Sovaldi's maker is trying to milk desperate patients.
Doctors are understandably finding it hard to pass over a drug that is so effective. As a result, Sovaldi's manufacturer, Gilead Sciences (GILD), is raking in the dough, while its shares have soared 53 percent over the last year....
Kim Peterson | CBS News 11 Apr 2014 Hits:480 HCA Articles
Canadians don’t drop dead or delay care due to the lack of health insurance. However in America, thousands will continue to face death according to Harvard researchers. About 25 million people will still not have insurance under Obamacare. Those that do, have seen their rates rise and contrary to the promise that “you can keep your existing plans” bullshit, working people with existing coverage and the poor will see rates not only increase, but will continue to pay a greater share of their income for health care than the wealthy...
Steven Maiken | Daily Sundial 16 Feb 2014 Hits:902 HCA Articles
Lawmakers have begun looking at how to finance a single-payer health care system that Gov. Peter Shumlin hopes will be his crowning achievement.
Shumlin, a second-term Democrat, wants to launch a universal, publicly financed health care system known as Green Mountain Care in 2017. He has repeatedly told lawmakers that the financing plan to support the system, which his administration has estimated will cost $1.6 billion in its first year, will be revealed next January.
But Sen. Peter Galbraith, a Democrat from Windham County, says the governor’s date is too late. He’s...
Staff | Times Argus 20 Jan 2014 Hits:516 HCA Articles
A government-run health care system in Maine would provide universal coverage to residents, cut down on administrative costs and free businesses from the complexities of providing insurance for their employees, supporters of a single-payer model said Thursday.
Advocates of a single-payer system have long been trying to implement the model in Maine with little success, but said they are hopeful that the steps Vermont officials have recently made to spearhead the effort there can help make it a reality in Maine.
"Our current health care system is complicated, is inefficient, unfair and...
Associated Press | Maine Sun Journal 20 Jan 2014 Hits:499 HCA Articles
As the rollout of Obamacare clunks forward, activists who opposed the law from the beginning say it is time to seize the moment, to tear down the current health-care edifice and start anew, especially now as frustration with the law’s implementation is reaching a peak.
These are not Tea Party activists but advocates for a single-payer health-care system who say some of the problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act—in addition to built-in problems with the law itself—have made the American public more receptive than ever to a Medicare-for-all...
David Freedlander | Daily Beast 10 Dec 2013 Hits:2440 HCA Articles
The Affordable Care Act continues to plow ahead, despite Republican attempts to fight it at every turn. What is unfolding in front of us is nothing short of spectacular. The problems with healthcare.gov are slowly being resolved which is helping more and more people sign up for affordable healthcare, many for the first time in their life. The law provides so much more than that, including standards for even the lowest level plans, protections for young adults 26 and younger, and the elimination of pre-existing plans. Of course, you will...
Salvatore Aversa | Truth Out 08 Dec 2013 Hits:1863 HCA Articles
Former CMS administrator Don Berwick is running for Governor in Massachusetts. He has an uphill battle in the ever growing primary for the Democratic nominee. Yet his controversial tenure in DC, his pursuit of the Corner Office in the state that birthed RomneyCare (a state that is home to some of the best medical research institutions in the world), and his devoted following on the left — all grant extra weight to his comments on healthcare.
Berwick’s campaign released his platform on healthcare for the Bay State last week. Even with little detail,...
Josh Archambault | Forbes 08 Dec 2013 Hits:715 HCA Articles
It's no secret that the rollout for Healthcare.gov has been somewhat of a bumpy road. Technical glitches have caused delays for folks looking to obtain insurance, and frustrated those working hard to provide coverage options for all Americans for the first time in this nation's history. While the kinks get repaired, much of the criticism has been beyond comprehension. Is it okay to highlight website problems? Yes. Is it okay to push the president to get these tech issues resolved quickly? Absolutely. But when did having website problems become the...
Rev. Al Sharpton | Huffington Post 18 Nov 2013 Hits:664 HCA Articles
In my recent column in The Hill titled Obama's health care Katrina I took President Obama to task -- proudly -- for spending years telling Americans they would keep their insurance policies when he knew millions of Americans could not. I called for a solution to help these people and I called on progressives including myself to lead the fight to help them. And now, even more, it is time to do what really needs to be done and fight like hell for a public option, for Medicare for all,...
Brent Budowsky | Huffington Post 17 Nov 2013 Hits:1130 HCA Articles
Whenever scandal arises in Washington, D.C., the fight between the two parties typically ends up being a competition to identify a concise message in the chaos—or, as scientists might say, a signal in all the noise. This week confirms that truism, as glitches plagued the new Obamacare website and as insurance companies cancelled policies for many customers on the individual market.
Amid the subsequent noise of congressional debate and cable TV outrage, Republicans argued that the signal is about government—more specifically, they claim the controversies validate their age-old assertions that government...
David Sirota TruthDig 17 Nov 2013 Hits:1124 HCA Articles
WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday approved legislation that would allow health insurance companies to renew individual insurance policies and sell similar policies to new customers next year even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits and consumer protections required by the new health care law.
The vote was 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats bucking their party leadership to vote in favor of the bill.
The legislation would go further than the fix announced on Thursday by Mr. Obama,...
Robert Pear and Ashley Parker 15 Nov 2013 Hits:627 HCA Articles
Holding signs demanding “Expand Medicaid Now,” about 60 people, including state legislators, medical professionals, clergy and health advocates gathered Thursday in Charlotte to ask the state’s Republican leaders to reverse their position and accept expansion of Medicaid benefits for the poor.
“Today I am making a 911 call to Gov. (Pat) McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly,” said state Rep. Carla Cunningham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.
She and fellow Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle have asked McCrory to convene a special legislative session to reconsider the earlier decision to reject Medicaid...
Karen Garloch | Charlotte Observer 01 Nov 2013 Hits:563 HCA Articles
As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they're a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model.
The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation's first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals.
The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are...
Dave Gram | The Huffington Post 27 Oct 2013 Hits:664 HCA Articles
PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine nurses group on Monday said President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which is criticized by conservatives as overreaching, doesn’t go far enough toward universal health coverage.
The Maine State Nurses Association held Monday afternoon health screenings and an evening “town hall” event at the First Parish Church on Congress Street in Portland to advocate for the expansion of the federal Medicare program to cover all Americans, regardless of age.
The organization is planning to hold a second wave of screenings and another town hall event Tuesday afternoon...
Seth Koenig | Bangor Daily News 15 Oct 2013 Hits:772 HCA Articles
Did you happen to see Jimmy Kimmel’s interesting skit last week, where he asked people on the street whether they preferred “Obamacare” or the “Affordable Care Act”? Far too many people chose the “Affordable Care Act” over “Obamacare” without realizing that they are one and the same law.
Even worse, several of Kimmel’s interviewees rejected “Obamacare” after having already endorsed major pieces of it! Some of this cluelessness is no doubt because of propaganda. Some of it is no doubt because of partisan dislike of the president. But we must not...
Rev. Jesse Jackson | Chicago Sun Times 08 Oct 2013 Hits:768 HCA Articles
Despite critics slamming "Obamacare" – the first major U.S. health-care reform passed in nearly 50 years – as "Canadian-style" health insurance, critics note that major differences between the two systems persist.
McGill University Professor of Political Science Antonia Maioni said the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which went into effect earlier this week, is "not even close" to the Canadian system.
"Obamacare keeps in place the basic principle of health care in the United States which is: if you want to get access to care you need to buy insurance coverage," she told...
CTVNews.ca Staff 06 Oct 2013 Hits:868 HCA Articles
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.
(Claretha Briscoe, left, of Hollandale, Miss., with family. She earns too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get subsidies on the new health exchange./James Patterson for The New...
Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff | The New York Times 03 Oct 2013 Hits:854 HCA Articles
Donna Smith: “The fact remains that we all have bodies and we all will someday get sick or hurt; all of us will need some level of health care.”
Through all the rhetoric, the misinformation, the lack of information, the cheering and the nay-saying, and the threats and realities of government shutdowns that surrounds the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one thing remains certain: individuals will begin enrolling for health insurance at state exchanges starting on October 1, 2013. Whatever else people may think the ACA is or isn’t, it remains this country’s...
Joanne Boyer | Wisdom Voices 02 Oct 2013 Hits:825 HCA Articles
Last week I wrote about Trader Joe's decision to cut health insurance benefits for employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week. After that, one reader forwarded along a response received from Trader Joe's after inquiring about the matter. It's one of the more thorough explanations I've seen from a company cutting in benefits, so I've posted it here. It acknowledges, surprisingly bluntly, that some employees will be worse off for the decision and that others might benefit. Here is the full response:
Thank you for writing to us. It's...
Sarah Kliff | Washington Post 17 Sep 2013 Hits:1538 HCA Articles
On the national stage, the ILWU pullout casts a shadow over the AFL-CIO’s efforts to reassemble the House of Labor.
In 2005, seven unions—spearheaded by SEIU and the newly-merged UNITE HERE—formed a rival federation, Change to Win. The new alliance pledged to spend 75 percent of its resources organizing the unorganized.
But the fanfare was short-lived. A bitter internal struggle gripped SEIU in 2008, leading to a trusteeship of its third-largest local, and the union subsequently went to war with its long-time ally UNITE HERE.
The 250,000-member UNITE HERE left Change to Win...
Mark Brenner | Labor Notes 09 Sep 2013 Hits:566 HCA Articles
The American health care system, even before the Affordable Care Act was passed, can be quite complicated, and it's easy for American consumers to get confused. The Democratic reform law offers terrific new benefits to the uninsured, and obviously strengthens health security for those who already have insurance, but it doesn't necessarily make the system less complex.
The architects of "Obamacare" anticipated this and planned accordingly. In recent months, the Obama administration has partnered with dozens of local organizations nationwide to hire "navigators." As the name implies, these are folks who've...
Steve Benen | Maddow Blog 05 Sep 2013 Hits:664 HCA Articles
PDA is and will always be in the forefront, fighting to achieve universal access to care. Whether we call it single-payer, improved and expanded Medicare for all, universal care, or health care human rights, achieving access to a single standard of high quality care for all without financial barrier is our ultimate goal. Building momentum is our mission. From the inception of our Healthcare Not Warfare campaign several years ago, PDA has been a leader in the movement for health care justice.
The passage of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare was and...
Donna Smith 19 Aug 2013 Hits:429 HCA Articles
Economist says Canadian-style, single-payer health plan would reap huge savings from reduced paperwork and from negotiated drug prices, enough to pay for quality coverage for all – at less cost to families and businesses
Upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield more than a half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings in its first year of operation, enough to pay for high-quality, comprehensive health benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.
That’s the chief...
Physicians for a National Health Plan 16 Aug 2013 Hits:771 HCA Articles
When I speak to conservatives about health care policy, I’m often asked the question: “Do you think that Obamacare is secretly a step toward single-payer health care?” I always explain that, while progressives may want single-payer, I don’t think that Obamacare is deliberately designed to bring about that outcome. Well, yesterday on PBS’ Nevada Week In Review, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) was asked whether his goal was to move Obamacare to a single-payer system. His answer? “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
In one sense, this isn’t shocking. Reid and...
Avik Roy | Forbes 15 Aug 2013 Hits:757 HCA Articles
Dr. Bill HonigmanCalifornia
Contact us at:email@example.com
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Listen to the June call as we speak with special guest, Liz Warren, the National TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) Team Coordinator. Liz discusses how to build allies in the fight for expanded Medicaid, action strategies from the states needing...
Listen to this month's riveting call with Rev. Rodney Sadler of the North Carolina Moral Mondays movement discussing organizing for the "moral imperative" of access to care and strategies for engaging the faith community as allies; Joel Segal,...
Join us this month for a "working call" and a discussion of plans to move Single Payer forward via targeted members of the House and Senate. We also discussed last week's Subcommittee Hearing on Access and Cost: What the US Health Care System...
Listen to this month's call as we discuss what we want to take to Winslow, how we move bills at the House and Senate level, as well as what to do at the state level.
Listen to the preview of what will be talked about at Winslow, how this team will be changing it's approach, and the discussion by the team about how we move the cause forward for Single Payer. Strategy in relation to targeting congressional...
Special guests on call: Michael Milligan, the author of and actor in the Mercy Killers, and Cindy Young, Community Organizer for National Nurses United and Campaign for a Healthy California. Michael speaks about the Mercy Killers and his impetus...