I’m having a case of health care déjà vu.
In the early 1990’s the health care industry plowed forward with managed care and in a short period of time millions of Americans enrolled in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) – changing the face of health care delivery in this country. Physician sentiment was not exactly positive during that transition. During care visits, we listened to our doctors tell us why participating in an HMO was sub-optimal. Many believe that this grassroots campaign of sorts, perpetuated largely through individual doctors’ office visits, significantly contributed to the fall of the “capitated” managed care movement.
And now we’re seeing the same problem all over again.
While healthcare reform has been a lightning rod for political conflict and controversy, there is at least one easy fix to a flaw in our healthcare system that is sure to garner overwhelming bipartisan support — ending the “use it or lose it” rule for flexible spending accounts (FSAs). This week, members of the Employers’ Council on Flexible Compensation are meeting in Washington, D.C. to encourage Congress to do just that.
Pro-life legislators have done President Obama a big favor -- they're helping him keep a promise he made to the nation.
The Protect Life Act delivers on the pledge President Obama made to a joint session of Congress in September 2009, that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), addresses serious anti-life provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by applying the principles of long-standing federal laws prohibiting abortion funding and protecting health care providers’ conscience rights.
Would you ask someone else to die for your religious beliefs?
A new proposal moving through Congress makes it clear that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops apparently expects everyone to die for theirs. The same members of Congress who last week attempted to dial back the definition of rape to the nineteenth century now propose another change to federal law that is just as shocking: in a move long sought by the political arm of the Catholic clergy, hospitals would be permitted to refuse to treat women with life-threatening emergencies.
A newly revised bill in the House of Representatives proposed by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Penn.), would allow religious hospitals to determine the care provided to patients regardless of prevailing standards in medical care – even in medical emergencies – and regardless of the religious beliefs of the patient. Though dramatic, it is no overstatement to say that the so-called “Protect Life Act” would be more aptly named the “Death Warrant for Women Act,” as it would allow hospitals to refuse to treat a woman needing a medically necessary abortion to save her life.
This week, I attended the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing on HR 358, the so-called “Protect Life Act,” sponsored by Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Dan Lipiniski (D-IL). Despite its name, this bill would actually put the lives of women at risk. In addition to making it all but impossible for women to get insurance coverage for abortion care in the new state health exchanges—even if they use their own money—this bill would let public hospitals refuse to provide emergency abortion care even when necessary to save a woman’s life.
Republican supporters of this bill and their witnesses repeatedly asserted in the hearing that abortion is never necessary to save a woman’s life; however, that is simply not true.
February 08, 2011, 05:59 pm
By Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
You don’t have to be an economist to know that our economy still needs help, and that Americans who want jobs still can’t find them. Yet, to see the agenda of House Republicans, you would have no idea that the economy is a priority for American voters.
Since taking over the U.S. House of Representatives last month, Republicans made their first priority repealing the health care law – which, if successful, would raise taxes on small businesses and raise the deficit by $230 billion, not to mention reinstate discrimination against preexisting conditions and kick young adults off their parents’ health plans. How does this help the economy or put people back to work? Simple: it doesn’t.
And what is priority number two for House Republicans? Rolling back a woman’s right to choose.
February 07, 2011, 09:22 pm
By Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Ranking Member on the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, sent the following letter to Jeffrey E. Shuren, M.D., Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the Food and Drug Administration.
The text of the letter is below.
Dear Dr. Shuren:
I am writing to strongly urge the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) to hold a public Advisory Committee meeting this year that would release all available information about the 10-year post-market study results for saline breast implants, and also make available all results for the post-market Core studies and large long-term study of silicone gel implants. The Food and Drug Administration’s recent announcement about the rare form of lymphoma that may be associated with breast implants serves as a stark reminder that post-market studies are especially important for all implanted devices that are intended to remain in the body for many years.
Last week marked a major milestone in the fight to end HIV and AIDS here in the U.S. On Friday, February 4, ten community organizations across the U.S. received a combined $2.7 million in funding to extend their healthcare programs. As a result, thousands of individuals living with HIV/AIDS will receive critical assistance with their health care – and the help will go to those most in need.
The funds are part of the partnership with the federal Social Innovation Fund, designed to improve our nation’s approach to solving challenges in low-income communities. These funds will be an important step in reshaping the current healthcare infrastructure for people living with HIV/AIDS, and will serve as a critical bridge to implementation of the full Affordable Care Act in 2014 and the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
As some in the Senate are determined to move forward a vote to repeal health care reform, the disconnect between the rushed and charged nature of the debate on Capitol Hill and the care and caution such a momentous decision requires is striking.
As a pastor who strives to follow the scripture-recorded call of Jesus to “heal the sick,” I consider access to health care to be a faith-based goal. God desires healing and abundant life for the poor as well as the rich, and denial of health care coverage falls far short of God’s standards of justice and compassion for people.
Discerning the best path for our nation to solve such problems isn’t nearly as easy as recognizing the moral imperative. But given the scale of our health care system’s shortcomings, we need our individual acts of compassion but also systemic policy solutions.
February 02, 2011, 08:49 pm
By Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. (R-Ga.)
On Monday, Judge Roger Vinson declared the healthcare reform law entirely void. This victory for Constitutionalism was presented in a thorough, well-written brief citing the Founders’ intent in addition to the standard statements of precedent. One passage by Judge Vinson in particular struck me:
"This case is not about whether the [healthcare] Act is wise or unwise legislation... In fact, it is not really about our healthcare system at all. It is principally about our federalist system, and it raises very important issues regarding the Constitutional role of our federal government."
He makes a powerful distinction. Do I believe that this bill will be a bureaucratic nightmare, a cancerous financial drain, and a government-centered rather than patient-centered approach to healthcare? Absolutely. However, like Judge Vinson states, this discussion is not about anyone’s opinion of this legislation. It is about the Constitutional constraints of federal power.