Posts Tagged - ‘obama’

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First Step for GOP: Repealing Health Insurance Reform?

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Image: Gage Skidmore under CC 3.0

After a mostly triumphant Tuesday, Republicans are gearing up to take on several legislative centerpieces of the Obama administration. Most significantly, they are looking to say sayonara to healthcare reform by repealing what they refer to as “Obamacare”.

On CBS’ Face the Nation, current Senate Minority Leader (the Democrats retained control of the Senate) Mitch McConnell stated that the GOP was given a wide mandate by independent voters to repeal healthcare reform. According to them, they owe it to the American people to do better and come up with another way of making health insurance plans more accessible.

For their part, Dems are skeptical that the law can actually be reversed so easily. Those looking for it to happen as soon as the new congresspersons are sworn in in January will be disappointed. For one thing, Obama is sure to veto any such legislation that reaches his desk.

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Obama Didn’t Realize Affordable Health Insurance Reform Would Be So Hard

Monday, November 8th, 2010

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After his party’s drubbing in the midterm elections, President Obama is Monday-morning quarterbacking. In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, he admitted that he didn’t expect the passage and implementation of affordable health insurance reform to have such a high political cost.

Many would consider this view naive, given that presidents have struggled with the complex system for decades. Also, there are many interest groups heavily involved, with a major stake in the issue.

According to Obama, he assumed that his incorporation of proposals previously advanced by Republicans such as Mitt Romney would help bring about some compromise with the GOP. As it turns out, the final product ended up pleasing few: progressive Democrats wanted more, while conservatives wanted far less.

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Health Coverage and HIV/AIDS

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

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With its affordable health insurance legislation under its belt, the Obama administration has begun tackling a new health issue: the HIV/AIDS crisis. Although new infections have slowed since their peak in the ’80s, many people are still affected.

It is a two-pronged effort, aimed at reducing new infections while increasing access to health care for those who already have it. Instead of allocating significant amounts of new funding, existing funding will be redirected to high-risk populations like African-Americans and gay/bisexual men.

Some fear that the new comprehensive strategy won’t be enough, however. The economy has resulted in many people losing their jobs, which for many also means losing health coverage. Although there are medications that allow HIV patients to live longer and healthier lives, they are still very expensive. The out-of-pocket cost is almost out of reach for the uninsured. In addition, a person with HIV or AIDS would find it almost impossible to buy health insurance on the open market for the next several years.

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Medicare & Medicaid Head Named Via Recess Appointment

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

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One of the people most responsible for implementing the provisions of affordable health insurance reform is the administrator for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services. President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Donald Berwick for the role several weeks ago.

However, the Obama administration has had trouble getting Berwick approved by the Senate. Many senators fear that some statements Berwick has previously made indicate that he favors totally government-run socialized medicine, similar to that in the United Kingdom. As a result, Obama has used the controversial recess appointment to install Berwick.

A recess appointment is done through an executive order when Congress is on break. Despite its risks, effective healthcare reform that results in cheap health insurance rates requires that the post isn’t left open any longer than necessary.

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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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Medicare and Medicaid Nominee Sparks More Healthcare Reform Controversy

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Image: healthcare reform is implemented. Therefore, it is important that he or she is the best person for the job.

Some doubt that President Obama’s nomination of Dr. Donald M. Berwick is the right choice, including the premier industry trade group. America’s Health Insurance Plans declined to sign a letter that supported his selection.

Republicans are also worried that Berwick prefers a government-run National Health Service, similar to the one in Great Britain. They plan to bring up the threat of health plan rationing of care once again during the confirmation hearings.

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Obama Warns Insurers Against Circumventing Healthcare Reform

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

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Health insurance companies are preparing for the impact reform will have on them. Some of this preparation is gaining negative attention from President Obama–namely, increasing their rates severely before healthcare reform takes effect and significantly limits their ability to do so. Since the law will keep them from increasing rates solely for profit-maximizing purposes, they ideally want to have the highest floor before it becomes effective.

Today, he is holding a meeting at the White House to drive this point home further. Although the federal government doesn’t gain direct control over regulating health insurance plans, it gains more oversight responsibility. Their worst-case scenario is that insurers increase their rates before provisions begin taking effect this summer, while blaming the legislation for forcing them to make those moves.

The president of industry lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans, as well as executives from 13 health insurers and several state insurance commissioners, will attend the meeting. It is unclear whether it will have any actual impact on their actions. Some believe the summit is more of a political move, intended to protect Democrats against blowback in the midterm elections.

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Do New York Courts Have A Medical Malpractice Soultion?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

The medical malpractice system has been heavily criticized for its contribution to soaring health insurance premiums. Many doctors practice defensive medicine–performing far too many expensive tests and procedures that are unnecessary, in order to avoid lawsuits.

A judge in New York thinks he has a soultion: treating all parties involved like people. Many families want vindication and justice, instead of extremely large sums of money. By having doctors and nurses apologize for any mistake, he has convinced victims to take smaller settlements as opposed to choosing a jury trial.

The affordable health insurance reform law sets $3 million aside for studying these methods to see if they can work nationally.

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Is The American Public Now Behind Healthcare Reform?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

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Many found the promises of the Obama administration–that the nation would take more favorable views of healthcare reform once its immediate benefits kicked in and were better understood–far-fetched fantasies of Democrats. However, a recent poll indicates that the optimists may have had a point.

According to the poll, which was taken in early June by the Associated Press and GfK, 45% support the legislation as a way of bringing about more affordable health insurance. Even some registered Republicans are changing their tune: 17% are now in favor–still a tiny minority, but a nine-point jump from May.

Not everyone is warming up to the plan: 42% are still opposed, and the poll has over four percentage points of error. Nevertheless, it’s an improvement from last month, when only 39% of those polled liked the law.

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COBRA Subsidy Extension Fails; Get Short Term Health Insurance

Monday, June 14th, 2010

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A divided Congress failed to pass a bill that would have extended the COBRA health insurance subsidy for jobless workers. COBRA allows ex-employees to continue on their old employer’s health coverage, but it forces them to cover the entire premium–which they are often unable to afford. As part of the 2009 stimulus package, President Obama included a subsidy of up to 65% of the cost of COBRA coverage for those laid off during the recession.

Unfortunately, millions are still unemployed. The subsidies are steadily expiring, but budget concerns have made moderate Democrats (with an eye on winning re-election in November) leery of passing yet another big spending bill. President Obama has begged them to renew the subsidy, but to no avail. As a result, many will let their coverage expire and become uninsured.

However, there is a solution. Short term health insurance coverage can be kept only as long as you need it, until you find another job with health benefits. Most options are typically less generous than a previous employer’s insurance may have been, but that means that it will be more affordable. Such coverage protects you against essential emergencies.

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