Did Romneycare Save Obamacare In The Recent Supreme Court Decision?

Chief Justice John Roberts cited Massachusetts’ own Romneycare law extensively throughout his opinion explaining the court’s 6-3 decision to uphold Obamacare’s subsidies.  The Affordable Care Act (the ACA, aka Obamacare) relied on a similar framework to Romneycare, writes MSNBC.

Legal scholars say the 2006 Massachusetts law, which Romney supported and signed as governor, played a key role in bolstering the White House’s case that the ACA always intended to provide subsidies to federal and state exchanges, despite a clause that referred only to “an exchange established by the state.”

Democrats have Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law to thank as inspiration for the Affordable Care Act, which relied on a similar framework. Now they can credit the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney with helping to save it from an existential legal threat in King v. Burwell, writes MSNBC

(Updated posting)

Read the Supreme Court decision here:

Click to access 14-114_qol1.pdf

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-mitt-romney-saved-obamacare

President’s Speech To Catholic Health Association

The White House

On Tuesday, U.S. President Obama spoke about America’s healthcare in a speech to the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly, in Washington, DC.  He attempted to make the case that The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an integral part of the country’s social safety net, much like Social Security or Medicare.

He condemned opponents of his signature health care law as “cynical” partisans seeking to deprive Americans of an important benefit, writes The New York Times. He built a tough political case against Republicans as the Supreme Court weighs whether to strike down a key element of the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.

“This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another — this is health care in America,” the president said in a speech to the Catholic Health Association, an organization that championed the law and has written a brief asking the high court to uphold it. “It seems so cynical to want to take health care away from millions of people.”

More Than 10 Million Signed Up For Health Insurance This Year Under Affordable Care Act

According to The Associated Press, more than 10 million people have signed up for private health insurance this year under The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the White House said Tuesday.

The 10.2 million consumers enrolled in a plan and followed through by paying their first month’s premiums, states The Associated Press.

The report comes from the Department of Health and Human Services as insurers are reportedly proposing premium hikes for next year, raising concerns about affordability.  Also, the Supreme Court is weighing the legality of subsidized premiums for millions of consumers in more than 30 states.  That decision is A decision is due around the end of the month.

By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision in King v. Burwell, the case that centers on whether the Internal Revenue Service can allow payment of Affordable Care Act subsidies to individuals enrolled in the federal exchange.

The lawsuit is widely considered to be based on a technicality.  The actual law reads “state exchanges” as opposed to “federal exchange.”

Should the Court rule against the Obama administration, subsidies no longer would be available to individuals who purchased coverage through HealthCare.gov, the federal website, in the 34 states that chose not to establish their own state-based exchanges, writes The Daily Signal.

It also would mean the Obamacare employer mandate would be effectively unenforceable, according to The Daily Signal.

Things would probably get ugly if that happens. Democrats would probably go on the offensive, blaming Republicans for “every case of a person who lost coverage just before giving birth, or having another round of chemo,” according to nhpr.org.

Currently, the 10 million sign-ups exceed the target of 9.1 million set last year by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell.

However, “(e)nrollment has been lower and slower than what most people projected,” said Caroline Pearson of the data analysis firm Avalere Health.

Still, the combination of subsidized private coverage sold through online insurance exchanges in every state, along with Medicaid expansion in most states, has resulted in large coverage gains.

Nearly 9 out of 10 adults now have health insurance, writes The Associated Press.  It is about the same proportion of Americans who buckle their seatbelts.

http://dailysignal.com/2015/06/02/theres-broad-public-support-for-congress-to-reduce-insurance-costs-in-response-to-king-v-burwell/

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-10m-enrolled-under-obamas-183140101.html

http://nhpr.org/post/4-reasons-both-parties-should-be-sweating-bullets-over-king-v-burwell

Do Death Panels Exist Under Kansas’ Privatized Medicaid?


Secular Talk

Recently, a High school senior was rejected by the privatized state Medicaid system in Kansas.

Changes to the Kansas health care system instituted by state’s governor Sam Brownback channeled about 400,000 Kansas residents out of the public Medicaid health insurance program into a new, privately-run, profit-making system called KanCare.

Three health insurance companies now coordinate that care.

The student said that he was just days away from dying when he fled the state and found treatment at a hospital in Tennessee, states RawStory.

Ross’ doctors advised him to get treatment out of state, but after not responding for weeks, his insurance provider rejected the advice.

The private insurance provider told him that he had to get the surgery at a hospital in Kansas, even though his own doctors told him that was impossible.

The Inquisitr states that St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee told Levi he could have his surgery there, and he will have to make payments to them.

Levi Ross will still have considerable costs associated with his cancer care and even though he is back in Kansas, they won’t all be covered, states The Inquisitr.

His family has created a crowdfunding page to help with those costs on GiveForward.com, which can be reached here at this link.

(Updated article)

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/cancer-patient-with-a-week-to-live-flees-kansas-for-profit-medicaid-for-life-saving-surgery-in-memphis/

http://www.inquisitr.com/2049480/levi-ross-cancer/

http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/editorials/article2174129.html

CNN: Ted Cruz To Join Obamacare

TYT Network

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz was reportedly on his wife’s health insurance in the past.  However, his wife will take a leave of absence from her job to help Cruz on the campaign trail. Where will they get their health insurance?

Irony of ironies…Ted Cruz is known for opposing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) health insurance law.

Careers Put You At The Highest Risk For Suicide

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, there’s a lesser-known occupational hazard associated with certain jobs: suicide.

In the United States, suicide results in roughly 36,000 deaths per year.  Suicide became the leading cause of injury-related deaths back in 2009, according to Yahoo Health.

Worldwide, that statistic is close to one million per year. Recently, there’s been an uptick in workplace suicides, which is what the current research delves into.

Researchers examined the difference between workplace and non-workplace suicide rates in the United States between 2003 and 2010, based on numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injury database.

A little over 1,700 workers died as a result of workplace suicide over the eight-year span, which equated to a rough rate of 1.5 people per million members of the workforce, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Men were more than 15 times more likely to commit suicide in the workplace, and the 65-74 demographic saw a four times greater risk than the 16-24 set.

According to author Hope M. Tiesman, Ph.D, the researchers discovered specific occupational fields that seem to bump the risk of workplace suicide.

Here’s what some of the study’s new statistics looked like, and some possible reasons for the higher rates based on past research, broken down by field:

Law enforcement officers = 5.3 per million

Roughly 85 percent of the deaths involved firearms, according to the study, which indicates easy access to weapons may play a role in higher suicide rates.

Farming, fishing, and forestry occupations = 5.1 per million

“Factors that may contribute to this risk include the potential for financial losses, chronic physical illness, social isolation, work/home imbalance, depression due to chronic pesticide exposure, and barriers and unwillingness to seek mental health treatment,” the authors write in their paper.

Installation, maintenance, and repair = 3.3 per million

As a broad category, installation, maintenance and repair saw higher-than-average numbers, but one sub-group saw a notably high suicide rate at 7.1 deaths per million workers. “A novel finding was that those in automotive maintenance and repair occupations also had significantly higher workplace suicide rates,” Tiesman says.

 “Occupation can define a person’s identity, and personal issues can creep into the workplace,” she says. “The lines between personal and work life are shrinking. We know that suicide is multifactorial in nature, and therefore need to take advantage of multiple opportunities to intervene in an individual’s life — including the workplace.”

According to Yahoo Health, “Mental-health professionals and employers should take special note of those individuals working in professions at high-risk of suicide.”

“[They] could consider the workplace as a potential site for suicide-prevention purposes, especially among the occupations at highest risk for workplace suicide,” says Tiesman.

In addition, Tiesman hopes the current study will highlight how blurred the lines between work and home life have become. “Occupational safety and health professionals should recognize that non-work factors can and do contribute to safety and health issues on the job,” she says.

Related: 15 Suicide-Attempt Survivors Tell Their Stories

Did FEMA Help Out During Katrina?

Raw Story: “Fox Business host John Stossel on Sunday asserted that most government was unnecessary because companies like Walmart would spontaneously provide assistance to disaster victims “in many more ways” than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could.”


Secular Talk

Harvard Study: 45,000 Deaths A Year Because Of Lack Of Health Insurance

A 2009 study is meant to offer a strong reminder of why lawmakers should continue to try to provide health insurance to the millions of Americans who don’t have it and continue to fund Obamacare or find a suitable replacement.

“Replacing it with nothing” is not a viable option.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School said that a lack of insurance coverage can be tied to about 45,000 deaths a year in the United States.  That’s per year.  Compare that to the 58,000 Americans who died in the Vietnam War.

“If you extend coverage, you can save lives,” said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard who is one of the study’s authors. The research was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The Harvard study found that people without health insurance had a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance — as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care.

The risk appears to have increased since 1993, when a similar study found the risk of death was 25 percent greater for the uninsured.  The increase in risk, according to the study, is likely to be a result of at least two factors.

One is the greater difficulty the uninsured have in finding care, and the other is improvements in medical care for insured people with treatable chronic conditions like high blood pressure.

“As health care for the insured gets better, the gap between the insured and uninsured widens,” Dr. Woolhandler said.

More:

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/harvard-medical-study-links-lack-of-insurance-to-45000-us-deaths-a-year/?_r=1

Did The GOP Just Propose Obamacare To Replace Obamacare?

Secular Talk

According to PoliticusUSA, the Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave an appearance on 60 Minutes, the lowlight of which was their complete inability to discuss the Republican alternative to Obamacare.

“Speaker Boehner went on a dodge and weave filibuster when asked what the Republican alternative to Obamacare was…”

Ebola Patient In Italy Gets Experimental Treatment

In this photo provided by the Italian Air Force, a doctor who has tested positive for the Ebola virus lies on a stretcher encased in a plastic seal, at the Pratica di Mare military airport near Rome, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. The Italian health ministry says an Italian doctor working in Sierra Leone has tested positive for the Ebola virus and has been transferred to Rome for treatment. The ministry said in a statement that the doctor, who works for the non-governmental organization Emergency, will be taken Monday for treatment at the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome. It is Italy's first confirmed case of Ebola. (AP Photo/Italian Air Force)

According to the AP, an Italian doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone arrived in Italy and is being treated with the same experimental drugs used in the U.S. and other European countries.

Rome doctors declined to identify the antiviral drug used for treatment, though they said the drug has been used before in the U.S. and Europe.

The doctor, whose name wasn’t released, is in his 50s and has Italy’s first confirmed case of Ebola.  He arrived at a Rome military air base early Tuesday and was transported in a hazard-safe equipped ambulance to Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital, a Rome hospital that specializes in infectious diseases.

His condition is ’’stable,’’ doctor Emanuele Nicastri said at a press conference at the hospital. ’’He’s conscious and collaborating’’ with the medical team.

More than 15,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 5,420 have died, according to the World Health Organization.