Posts Tagged - ‘health insurance reform’

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Support For Healthcare Reform Continues to Rise

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

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Although healthcare reform is still extremely controversial, a recent poll showed that Americans’ outlook on the law became more positive in June.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s polling showed that 48% of respondents were now in favor of the bill, an increase of 7% from the month before. Opposition decreased by three percentage points, to 41%.

Why the change of heart? There are several contributing factors. For one thing, the political heat has somewhat died down–other issues have taken the spotlight. Meanwhile, the Obama administration had launched a public relations campaign, which drew attention to the beneficial affordable health insurance-related provisions taking effect this year.

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Democratic Governors Fight Back Against Healthcare Reform Lawsuit

Monday, June 28th, 2010

While several lawsuits contending that healthcare reform is unconstitutional are currently pending, supporters of the legislation are stating their arguments in favor of it.

A small group of Democratic governors are now defying their Republican attorney generals, by filing a friend of the court brief defending the federal government.

The states involved:

  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan

Their filings will explain what benefits they believe affordable health insurance reform will have for their states, bolstering the defendants’ case for any future Supreme Court hearings on the topic.

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Voters Want Healthcare Reform Changes, Not Repeal

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

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The news isn’t great for Democrats who supported the healthcare reform overhaul: a majority of likely voters in the November midterm elections still aren’t big fans of the legislation. Republicans counting on an electoral sweep shouldn’t be too happy either; the wholesale repeal of the bill they have been pushing for isn’t very popular either.

Then, what does the American public want? According to a poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, a majority would vote for a candidate that is willing to give the law a chance to work, but fix and improve it. Independent voters are especially open to that strategy by a 57%-40% margin. Although they’re still skeptical that the law will have a positive impact and make affordable health insurance more widely available, just 42% prefer the hypothetical candidate that would go back to the drawing board and repeal the current legislation.

Indeed, last month’s special election in Pennsylvania seems to confirm this viewpoint. The Democratic candidate, who expressed similar views (he would have voted against the bill, but looks to make improvements to what is now law), defeated the Republican candidate who sought total repeal.

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Do State or Federal Health Insurance Requirements Apply?

Friday, May 21st, 2010

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The healthcare reform legislation creates a list of mandatory minimum coverage level, which require all health insurance options to cover certain treatments and tests.

However, 27 states and Washington, D.C. have their own coverage mandates, which extend from colon cancer and preventative care to autism therapy. In the case where they conflict, which one holds sway?

Not to worry: the broader standard will apply to health insurance companies in each state, regardless of whether it is state or federal.

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Healthcare Reform Strengthens Fraud Prevention

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Image: CafeHealthcare

Health care fraud is a serious issue. It costs the American healthcare system billions of years annually. That’s why the recently passed health insurance law takes steps to further prevent and prosecute it, including:

  • $300 million in funding over the next decade for the Department of Health and Human Services and Justice Department for stronger enforcement.
  • Greater oversight authority over Medicare and Medicaid participants to protect against fraud
  • Longer prison sentences for criminal medical fraud cases.

Last year, the federal government recovered $2.5 billion that was defrauded from the Medicare trust fund. Those overpayments are often passed onto private health insurance plans. Reducing fraud will give the Obama administration more leeway to enact reforms.

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How Much Does Healthcare Reform Cost?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

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Bad news for health insurance reform: the newest cost figures predict that it will cost the government an extra $115 billion in health care costs over the next decade.

The Congressional Budget Office says that if Congress approves all of the spending asked for in the bill, the total cost of the legislation will surpass $1 trillion.

Where are these expenses coming from?

  • $34 billion in funding for community health centers
  • $39 billion for the Indian Health Service, which provides care to Native Americans
  • $10-20 billion in federal administrative costs

Although it clearly makes the affordable health insurance law less affordable, these costs weren’t included in the initial estimates because they are not mandatory; instead, they are authorizations for discretionary spending. Since Democrats lack a filibuster-proof majority, they may not pass.

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Many Doctors Hate Health Insurers

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Image: Emily Ruth Brown under CC 3.0

According to a significant percentage of currently practicing physicians, health insurers take quite a bit of the joy out of their job.

Why? In order to effectively care for their patients, some doctors spend hours of unpaid overtime poring over claim paperwork to make sure that they are reimbursed by their patient’s health insurance plan. They are also frustrated with being paid for individual services performed, as opposed to cost savings or health outcomes.

Unfortunately, a recent survey of doctors has found that they believe that affordable health insurance reform will make an already bad situation even worse.

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Insurers Will Keep Selling Medicare Advantage Coverage

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

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Even if you’re not quite eligible for Medicare Advantage yet, it’s a heartening sight. Private health insurance companies predict that the upcoming cuts in payments to their programs won’t stop them from selling the supplemental plans after the majority of the subsidies end in 2014.

United HealthCare has stated that they will continue to sell their Medicare Advantage health insurance plans, and other major competitors will probably follow suit. About 10 million senior citizens have these policies.

Contrary to prior belief, it looks like healthcare reform won’t kill Medicare Advantage, although the programs may adapt to the new market. The best, most efficient plans will actually receive a 5% bonus in payments.

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Health Insurance Law Will Increase Costs

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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Contrary to some initial estimates, a Medicare actuary predicts that health insurance reform will actually end up increasing the cost of health care in the United States!

On the positive side, there are measures to control the cost of Medicare by cutting provider payments and a tax on employer-sponsored high-cost health insurance plans that encourages more affordable options. Unfortunately, those are outweighed by the expansion of coverage and accompanying subsidies. According to Richard S. Foster, spending will increase by 0.9% ($311 billion) by 2019 than it otherwise would have without healthcare reform.

Some may believe that the relatively small increase is worth it in order to insure up to 30 more Americans, especially for progressives who consider affordable health insurance a human right. However, the findings go against the Obama administration’s promises that costs would eventually decrease.

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Poll: Health Insurance Reform Changes Our Nation’s Direction

Monday, March 29th, 2010

(Image: Phille Casablanca under CC 3.0)

According to a new poll by ABC News and the Washington Post, there is one thing almost all Americans can agree on about health insurance reform: it’s a significant shift.

  • 80% consider the passage of healthcare reform as a major change in the nation’s direction
  • 38% believe it is a positive change
  • 42% consider it to be a negative change

The intensity of reactions to the bill passing bears this out. Obama and other Democrats believe that access to medical insurance should be a human right, and that their success on this issue will lead to more Great Society-style domestic reforms. Meanwhile, many Republicans are worried that this is a slippery slope towards socialism. Both sides are most likely exaggerating its impact, although healthcare reform is clearly important.

The polling was done from March 23rd to the 26th.

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