Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday's Themes

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of health reform. America remains split on the law. I cited to a lot of opinion pieces yesterday, but here's a particularly good one from the LA Times, which does a good job of addressing reality, discounting the myths and explaining what the law does and does not do -- and the fact that the law is NOT responsible for the continued rise of health care premiums. Michelle Obama cites the law's benefits for families and kids. Governor's cited the law's benefits in rural America. And there's no disputing the stories of the harm done by the pre-reform status quo.

Here's an interesting piece on how the law changed the political landscape -- arguably for the worse. The GOP continues to promise to repeal the law, even though most Americans do not want it repealed. The GOP presidential hopefuls were out in force yesterday criticizing the law. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell both released videos criticizing the law, promising to kill it. The GOP presents a unified front in favor of repeal.

Despite all that, the Tea Party is disappointed by the House GOP, and plans a demonstration next week to express that sentiment.

Meanwhile, the GOP has introduced legislation demanding more transparency on how HHS grants waivers from various health reform requirements. I still don't get this. They want states to have flexibility in implementing the law, but when there's flexibility, they cry foul. I'm confused. But Karl Rove's group has now sued to force the Administration to disclose more information. But the law directed the Secretary to grant waivers to avoid market disruption. Just about everyone who has requested a waiver has gotten one, according to Secretary Sebelius. And the government has issued guidance on how to get a waiver. So what additional information do they want?

Understandably, the anniversary of reform dominated the news, but in other news, a new rule requiring Medicare recipients to see a doctor before or after beginning to receive home health care has come under scrutiny.

And that's it for today's news. Have a great day. Jennifer

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