Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hump Day Headlines

It's a rainy Wednesday morning -- sort of a blah day.  Let's see if the news is blah too!

How will health insurance exchanges work -- assuming the Supreme Court doesn't strike down the whole law?  Here's a story about how it's been in Massachusetts -- a great tool for shopping for insurance, but a challenge attracting enough people to the exchanges to make them solvent.  Marketing the exchanges is going to be key.  Still, exchanges mean people will be able to comparison shop for health insurance, and that's huge.

Mitt Romney has begun to lay out his alternative.  I don't know what he means when he says he wants to run health care with free enterprise values.  Aren't those free enterprise values what got us to a point at which health care is increasingly unaffordable for all but the very rich?  He makes some vague statements about covering pre-existing conditions if people change jobs or move, but that sounds a lot like COBRA, which already exists.  He did not say that people with pre-existing conditions who do NOT currently have insurance should get it.  We still need more details to really understand his proposal.  And WaPo's factchecker give him four Pinnochios for his critique of President Obama's plan. Where he is specific is where he says that he would send Medicaid dollars to the states and let them run health care.  Right -- because Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas (to name a few worst offenders) have done such a great job taking care of the uninsured.

The GOP historically has pointed to high risk pools as the answer for people with pre-existing conditions. However, what most people don't know is that, not only are they expensive, and not only do you have to go 6 months without insurance for the federal PCIP and a 6 month wait for coverage of pre-existing conditions in most states, but high risk pools also have annual and lifetime limits that are very low.

Still, the GOP is preparing its strategy following the Supreme Court decision.  They plan to continue to vote to repeal the law if the Supreme Court doesn't do it for them.  They intend to dominate the message in July, before the August recess, when members of Congress will be in their home districts.  They want to be able to say they've accomplished something.  And they're also trying to figure out what to do if the Court does strike down the law -- what will happen to the pieces of reform that already took effect and that people like?  I guess we'll see soon enough.  No doubt, it's a difficult issue for the GOP, who have been advocating repeal and replace without knowing how they would replace the law.  And drug companies say they may not be able to offer drug discounts to seniors if the Supreme Court strikes the law.  That could make for some very angry constituents.

And although the cost of health care would increase somewhat in 2014, when millions of uninsureds would begin to have insurance coverage (assuming the law stands), the newest figures show that health reform does not add dramatically to the cost of health care.

The US Preventive Services Task Force says taking low dose Vitamin D, with or without calcium, does not prevent fractures.  But if you're taking them for other reasons -- I take huge amounts of Vitamin D because my body doesn't seem to hold onto it -- that's a different story.  Talk to your doctor before discontinuing them.

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

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