Alas, another Monday. Another crazy week ahead. But first, the news:
Coverage of the Supreme Court arguments on the health reform law is starting now, two weeks before the first day of argument. In addition to the individual mandate, the Court will grapple with three other issues: a complex argument under what's call the Anti-Injunction Act, which says you can't challenge a "tax" before it's collected; the Medicaid expansion; and whether, if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, the rest of the law can stand. I broke down each of these arguments in language that's easily understood by non-lawyers in our March newsletter, which you can read here. Chief Justice Roberts faces the most important case of his tenure as Chief Justice in the health reform case. Will he vote with the majority, whichever way the votes go, so that he can either write the majority opinion or control who does so (the most senior Justice in the majority has that prerogative)? And here's a profile on the lead lawyer against the health reform law. Here's a profile on the Solicitor General arguing in favor of the law. One of the lead plaintiffs -- who didn't want to have to buy health insurance because she preferred to cover her own health care costs -- racked up so much medical debt that she filed bankruptcy -- with the public picking up the tab for her health care. I don't know how the Supreme Court can ignore that concrete evidence that, in the end, everybody ends up needing health care, and if they don't have insurance, the rest of us foot the bill. But if the individual mandate goes down, what happens instead? There's the argument in favor of auto-enrollment -- enrolling people automatically in plans that are offered through an Exchange, with the ability of people to opt-out.
At the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, nobody stays in charge for long. However, Don Berwick left only because the GOP refused to confirm him.
Meanwhile, the federal rules on health insurance exchanges are expected out any day now. And not a minute too soon as states move forward to try to meet federal deadlines.
Federal officials are pushing providers not only to move to electronic records, but to start sharing them.
After stories ran last week documenting the loss of access to women's health care in Texas due to the state's de-funding of Planned Parenthood -- causing the closing of 6 clinics that did NOT perform abortions -- the feds have notified the State that they will not be getting any more Medicaid money for family planning services.
Hospitals are trying to keep the elderly out of bed and moving. I can tell you -- regardless of age, when you're in the hospital, the best thing you can do for yourself is walk and walk and walk.
Mental health first aid. What do you do in the face of suicidal despair, other mental illness?
Insurers are cutting back on long-term care insurance. This will make it harder to find.
Connecticut providers aren't notified when the State denies filling a prescription due to lack of prior authorization, and too often, that means the patient goes without medically necessary drugs.
As the uninsured go without care, health districts in California are stockpiling money and spending on administrative costs.
And there you go, the start to yet another week. Have a great day! Jennifer