Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Musings

What happened over the week-end? Well, you've come to the right place. Here's the news:

Health reform will take center stage for the next two weeks. Friday is the 2 year anniversary of the law, and next Tuesday through Thursday are the Supreme Court arguments, with all kinds of predictions and analysis. So expect lots of talk about the law -- the 1 million young people under age 26 who now have insurance through their parents' policy; 50,000 on the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan; seniors who pay less for prescription drugs; new appeal rules that give everybody a right to external review; no lifetime caps and the phase out of annual limits; free preventive care; no pre-existing condition exclusions for kids under age 19 -- and that's just what's happened so far, with the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions and the availability of exchanges in 2014. Although government is regulating this, it's all done through private insurance, so this is not a government take-over of insurance. Indeed, most of the negatives are lies, as has been well-established. There's a lot of good in health reform -- Paul Krugman's argument is very similar to the one we made in our Supreme Court amicus brief. The Supreme Court has announced that it will release daily tapes of each day's arguments. Arguing for the government is Solicitor General Verilli. A profile of the opponents' lawyer, Paul Clement, ran last week. What will the Court do? There are predictions. And then there are all the ideas about what to do if the mandate is struck down -- and even more ideas here.

Women still pay more for health insurance than men do. This will end in 2014, when health reform takes full effect.

AARP is readying for a battle on Medicare.

Watch out for a scam offering free diabetes supplies.

The financial impact autism has on moms of autistic children.

New York's last Medicaid auditor recovered $1.5 billion in overpayments due to fraud. The new auditor says he will be less adversarial. Why? It's fraud, and it's costing us billions of wasted health care dollars. Why back off? Backlash from the politically powerful health care lobby. So totally wrong. Honest providers should want fraud to be found, too.

Connecticut's Healthcare Advocate, Vicki Veltri, says it's time to have real mental health parity, with coverage of mental health and substance abuse services. Thanks to Vicki for this insightful piece.

And that's it for this morning. Have a great day. Jennifer

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