A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama’s health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults.
Nonetheless, Obama’s announcement Thursday that 8 million have signed up for subsidized private insurance, and that 35 percent of them are younger than 35, is just a peek at what might be going on with the nation’s newest social program.
Still to be announced is what share of those enrolled were previously uninsured — the true test of Obama’s Affordable Care Act — and how many actually secured coverage by paying their first month’s premiums.
“This thing is working,” a confident Obama said of his signature domestic achievement. The days of website woes and canceled policies seemed far behind.
Alaska Republicans Propose a Law That Lets Alaska Republicans Tell Doctors What Counts as a Medical Emergency
Lawmakers in the Alaska state Legislature think they know better than doctors when it comes to defining a medical emergency, and have introduced a proposal that could tie doctors’ hands when it comes to determining what’s best for their patients in need of abortion care.
The measure would restrict state funding for abortion by restricting the definition of “medically necessary.” Low-income women can access abortion services through the state Medicaid program if the procedure is deemed medically necessary, and it’s these women that lawmakers are targeting with the proposal.
As Lisa Demer at the Anchorage Daily News reports, Republican state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, the sponsor of the House version of the bill, denies that the measure is aimed at limiting people’s access to abortion. “This bill has nothing to do with restricting a women’s right to an abortion,” she said.
When Democratic opponents of the measure raised concern that the medical necessity of other procedures is not determined by state lawmakers, LeDoux said that there wasn’t an issue with other procedures being performed when they weren’t medically necessary. (It does not appear she had anything else to say in support of that conclusion.)
Two thematically-related stories on the BBC at the moment:
UK drug company GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors, BBC Panorama has discovered.
Hundreds of millions of pounds may have been wasted on a drug for flu that works no better than paracetamol, a landmark analysis has said.
The fact is that drug companies exist to make a profit. Improving the health of people in countries in which they operate is not their primary goal - it is just one of the ways in which they make money.
If you want to improve public health in the most efficient way, drug companies need to be kept out of the decision-making process.
Laboratory-grown vaginas engineered from patients’ own cells have successfully been implanted into four teenage girls.
Tests showed the organs, constructed from muscle cells and the epithelial cells which line body cavities, functioned normally.
The girls, who were aged 13 to 18 at the time of the surgery, were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome.
In women with the rare genetic condition the vagina and uterus are under-developed or absent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new report out on teen pregnancy, and called out how ineffective “abstinence-only” programs really are:
“Only four out of 10 [teenagers] said they had been given information both on how to say no to sex and about birth control. And 83 percent of the boys and girls who had sex said they had not received any sex education before their first time.”
Woah. That’s just scary. No wonder the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed nation.
This is what the anti-choice movement is all about: keeping people from getting the facts and from making the health-care decisions that are right for them. That means a lot of teens aren’t learning what they need to know to stay healthy.
More: Blog for Choice
DENVER — After the kind of lengthy emotional debate always triggered by policy proposals affecting abortion rights, Senate Democrats gave a first go-ahead to a proactive bill that seeks to protect women’s reproductive health decisions from future challenges.
The Reproductive Health Freedom Act, which prohibits state or local government entities from enacting any policy that denies or interferes with an individual’s reproductive health care decisions, or an individual’s access to current evidence-based, scientific information on the topic, cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on a 4-3 vote Thursday.
The sponsor, Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, called the measure “an effort to keep politics and politicians away from Coloradans’ health care and reproductive decisions.
“The bill simply protects personal freedom and women’s and families’ rights to determine what’s appropriate according to their own value system,” he said.
The number of people believed to have been killed by the Ebola virus in Guinea has passed 100, the UN World Health Organization says.
It was “one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks we have ever dealt with” and could take another four months to contain, the WHO said.
The virus had now killed 101 people in Guinea and 10 in Liberia, it said.
Ebola is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of its victims.
Under the health reform law, which seeks to expand coverage to millions of low-income Americans, Dill wasn’t supposed to lack insurance. She was supposed to have access to a public health plan through the law’s expansion of the Medicaid program. But Dill, a Florida resident, is one of the millions of Americans living in a state that has refused to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court ruled this provision to be optional. Those low-income people have been left in a coverage gap, making too much income to qualify for a public Medicaid plan but too little income to qualify for the federal subsidies to buy a plan on Obamacare’s private exchanges.
Florida has one of the highest uninsurance rates in the nation, and is home to a disproportionately large number of residents who struggle to afford health services. Nonetheless, lawmakers have continued to resist accepting generous federal funds to expand Medicaid to an estimated 750,000 low-income Floridians like Dill.
Although Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially indicated that he was in favor of accepting the funds for expansion, he’s since walked back that position. Meanwhile, Republicans in the legislature don’t even plan to schedule a vote to address Medicaid expansion during their current session, suggesting that the federal government won’t actually come through with the funding to support the policy.
Fraud investigators, health insurance plans, researchers and others will spend weeks poring over the information about how many tests were ordered and procedures performed for every provider who received Medicare payments under Part B, which excludes payments to hospitals and other institutions. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is making the data publicly available on Wednesday. While total Medicare spending — including hospitals, doctors and drugs — is approaching $600 billion a year, payments to individual doctors have long been shrouded in secrecy. For decades, the American Medical Association, the powerful doctors’ group, and others have blocked the release of the information, citing privacy concerns and the potential for misuse of the information. But a federal judge ruled last year that the information could be made public.
Medicare paid $12 billion for 214 million office and outpatient visits, most of them described as between 15 and 25 minutes long. The practitioners — usually doctors, but sometimes nurse practitioners, were paid an average of $57 a visit.
More than 9 million Americans have gotten health insurance for the first time thanks to Obamacare, according to a new report from the Rand Corporation.
Most of the people who got new insurance didn’t buy it on the Obamacare exchanges but rather signed up with an employer, the survey found. Rand says that 8.2 million people have gained insurance from an employer since September — more than 7 million of them who had no health insurance before.
“We see that of the 40.7 million who were uninsured in 2013, 14.5 million gained coverage, but 5.2 million lost coverage, for a net gain in coverage of approximately 9.3 million,” the Rand report reads. Only about 1 million lost their private plans, and another 2 million lost employer-sponsored coverage.