Tag Archives: Health Care

Obamacare Rollout vs Bush Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Rollout

How fast people forget….

The Bush Medicare Part B- which is still a nightmare to enroll in and compare coverage- had a very rocky start itself.  Funny, how the GOP seems to forget that….

Almost all the same problems impacting the early days of Obamacare, as they call it now,  were there for the Bush rollout as well.

While it would have been nice to have had a seamless launch for both, it’s ultimately the benefits that matter, not how smoothly the program launches.  We have time to fix the glitches….

In other words, get a grip!

From ThinkProgress.org:

Millions of Americans try to enroll in health care benefits during the first days of a new government health care program. They rely on indispensable government website that had been “pitched as a high-tech way” to sort through available coverage options. They’re encountering countless glitches and technical errors: the website freezes, displays incorrect plan information and sends insurers erroneous reports.

Administration officials — clearly caught off guard by the surge of technical difficulties — respond to “tens of thousands of complaints” from angry beneficiaries and promise to “fix every problem as quickly possible.”

This sounds like the familiar story of the last few days of the Obama administration’s rollout of the exchanges. But, actually, those quotes, and that scenario, are taken from the Bush administration’s efforts to implement the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2005 and 2006.

MORE:   Under Bush, Republicans Vigorously Defended Health Care Reform Despite Serious Glitches | ThinkProgress.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Obamacare, Politics

Why Did Roberts Provide the Key Vote to Preserve “Obamacare”?

An interesting hypothesis from Ezekiel Emanuel and Theodore Ruger in today’s New York Times:

 

Obviously there are other considerations that may have motivated the ruling from Chief Justice Roberts, like not wanting his court to be tarred with another very controversial, politicized decision, but we should not overlook the role his health might have played.

Chief Justice Roberts has a pre-existing condition but is just 57, and thus not eligible for Medicare. Remember his unexplained seizure soon after he became chief justice? If he did not have employer-provided insurance and had to get his own coverage on the individual market, he would be denied health insurance coverage at almost any price. Maybe the appreciation for his precarious insurance status made Chief Justice Roberts more sensitive to the need for the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that insurance be available to all of those with pre-existing conditions.

More:   The Two Big Questions on Health Care – NYTimes.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care

Thank You, John Roberts….

I really never thought I would say this to the man behind Bush v Gore and  Citizens United…

Whatever his motivations- to save the name of the “Robert’s Court” or to do the right thing- I really think it was the prior- we all owe a debt of gratitude to the current Chief Justice today…

Now, we can all celebrate- just like he did in the past!

 

1 Comment

Filed under Congress, Health Care, Uncategorized

AIDS Memorial Quilt Marks 25 Years with Display in D.C.

Let’s never forget….

And keep this in mind as we await the Republican controlled Supreme Courts decision on Health Care Reform (aka Obamacare) tomorrow….

Striking down this legislation will have a great impact on people with pre-existing conditions, including AIDS, and vastly limit access to affordable Healthcare.

 

From USA Today:

 

It was on June 27, 1987, when a group of grieving friends and loved ones hung a 40-panel quilt from a balcony in San Francisco to memorialize 40 lives lost to AIDS. Their act inspired thousands of mothers, brothers, friends and lovers to make and send in their own panels and, soon, that quilt became the world’s biggest piece of folk art and the nation’s most tangible symbol of the epidemic.

Today, the AIDS Memorial Quilt contains more than 47,000 panels with the names of more than 93,000 people. Laid end to end, they would stretch more than 50 miles. Displaying the whole thing is such a huge undertaking that it hasn’t been tried since 1996.

But it’s about to be done, in a series of events that begins Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of that first display.

The entire quilt is coming back to Washington, D.C., where it was shown several times between 1987 and 1996. Pieces will be on display during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 27 to July 1 and July 4 to July 8. Then, from July 21 to July 25, organizers hope to roll out every segment of the 54-ton quilt, in stages, on the National Mall and in more than 50 venues around the city, during the International AIDS Conference.

At a time when AIDS is often out of the daily headlines and when treatments make long lives possible for many with the disease, the quilt is a reminder that people with HIV still matter and that the disease still kills, says Julie Rhoad president of the Names Project Foundation, the Atlanta-based custodian of the quilt: “Those who have no access to care are dying rapid, hard deaths and they are invisible.”

More:   AIDS Memorial Quilt marks 25 years with display in D.C. – USATODAY.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gay, Health Care

10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare

This is a great summary of the benefits of Obamacare…

Please keep this in mind as we await the Supreme Court decision- either today or sometime this week- for the Roberts Court to determine it’s “constitutionality”.

Of course, precedent and legality don’t mean much to the Roberts Court, so I’m very concerned that we will lose this hard-fought, but limited victory against the insurance companies.

Good news:  If we lose, it’s only  going to be a matter of time before National Healthcare becomes a necessity.  Bad News:  If they strike this down, it’s going to be hard times for so many people for the foreseeable future….

From ThinkProgress:

 

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act this week and could potentially strike down part or the whole of ‘Obamacare.’ Below are 10 things you will miss about the law if the justices invalidate it:

via 10 Things You Would Miss About Obamacare | ThinkProgress.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Politics

Benefits of “ObamaCare”-Part 1

The benefits of Health Care Reform, aka “ObamaCare” are starting to slowly become apparent.

 

This prescription drug benefit had a big impact this year.  As someone who manages his elderly mother’s finances I saw it myself.  There was a very big difference in what we had to pay when she hit the “donut hole” this year as opposed to last year.  Really substantial savings…

While I was disappointed Health Care Reform did not go farther and deliver a single payer option, this is a big step in the right direction.  Add in the requirement requiring Insurance companies to actually invest their premiums in coverage and not profit-which I’ll talk more on later- and the other benefits such as being able to cover children on a parent’s insurance until they are 26- and this will really make a difference.  I think it will just take time for the benefits to sink in….

Since the Corporate Media isn’t going to report too much on this, we have to be grateful for this coverage from  USA Today:

 

 

WASHINGTON – More than 2.65 million Medicare recipients have saved more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions this year, a $569-per-person average, while premiums have remained stable, the government plans to announce today.

Medicare patients are saving $569 per person, on average, on prescription drugs under the new health care law.

That’s because of the provision of the health care law that put a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the “doughnut hole,” the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the drug benefit, also known as Part D.

And, as of the end of November, more than 24 million people, or about half of those with traditional Medicare, have gone in for a free annual physical or other screening exam since the rules changed this year because of the health care law.

“We’re very pleased with the numbers,” Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare, told USA TODAY. “We found the Part D premiums have also stayed constant, despite predictions that they would go up in 2012.”

The Department of Health and Human Services announced in August that 2012 Medicare prescription drug plan premiums would average about $30 a month, compared to $30.76 in 2011.

Starting this year, seniors who reach the doughnut hole in prescription benefits receive a 50% discount on name brand prescription drugs. Drug companies must provide the discount to participate in the prescription plan. Before the health care law took effect, Medicare patients had to pay full price for their prescriptions once they reached the gap in coverage.

via Health care law changing behavior – USATODAY.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Uncategorized

Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case

There is no way this is not a conflict of interest, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Everyone knows Scalia and Thomas are idealogues and could not care less about either the perception or the reality of a conflict of interest.

Amazing how quaint Judicial qualities like honor, honesty and impartiality seem when you look at these guys….

But then, they are lawyers….

From the LA Times:

 

It’s nothing new: The two justices have been attending Federalist Society events for years. And it’s nothing that runs afoul of ethics rules. In fact, justices are exempt from the Code of Conduct that governs the actions of lower federal judges.

If they were, they arguably fell under code’s Canon 4C, which states, “A judge may attend fund-raising events of law-related and other organizations although the judge may not be a speaker, a guest of honor, or featured on the program of such an event.“

Nevertheless, the sheer proximity of Scalia and Thomas to two of the law firms in the case, as well as to a company with a massive financial interest, was enough to alarm ethics-in-government activists.

“This stunning breach of ethics and indifference to the code belies claims by several justices that the court abides by the same rules that apply to all other federal judges,” said Bob Edgar, the president of Common Cause. “The justices were wining and dining at a black-tie fundraiser with attorneys who have pending cases before the court. Their appearance and assistance in fundraising for this event undercuts any claims of impartiality, and is unacceptable.”

Scalia and Thomas have shown little regard for critics who say they too readily mix the business of the court with agenda-driven groups such as the Federalist Society. And Thomas’ wife, Ginni, is a high-profile conservative activist.

Moreover, conservatives argue that it’s Justice Elena Kagan who has an ethical issue, not Scalia and Thomas. Kagan served as solicitor general in the Obama administration when the first legal challenges to the law were brought at the trial court level. Her critics have pushed for Kagan to recuse herself from hearing the case, saying that she was too invested in defending the law then to be impartial now. Kagan has given no indication she will do so.

via Scalia and Thomas dine with healthcare law challengers as court takes case – latimes.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Politics