The Governor of Texas -- a guy who wanted to be President of the United States -- has said he will turn down the Medicaid expansion money and refuse to build an exchange -- a marketplace where Texas consumers could shop for and buy insurance. Governors of South Carolina, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Florida all say the same. This is their way of protesting the Supreme Court decision, which they had counted on to relieve them of the billions of dollars the feds want to pump into their states to pay for health care for those who can't pay on their own, and to construct a marketplace where consumers could compare and buy insurance. And, of course, they are protesting the fact that Barack Obama is President. It would be awful for them, I suppose, if they implemented health reform and it actually did a lot of good. So instead, they will refuse to implement it, leaving about four million poor people uninsured. The feds will run their exchanges, so they aren't going to kill implementation of that part of the law. They are just depriving the poor of health care. For years, I've cringed when I've gotten calls from Texas and Florida -- there simply are no resources in those states. Here was a chance for these governors to do the right thing with federal dollars. I hope the residents of these states take notice. This is nothing short of an outrage.
End of rant.
The GOP plans 5 hours of debate in the House before they vote to repeal health reform. Don't worry -- it can't pass the Senate, and if it did, the President would veto it. Political theater. The five hours is to make sure each GOP member of the House has time to get a sound-bite on their local news back home. But it sure is interesting to me that members of Congress would keep their federal employee health insurance if the law were repealed, whereas under the law, members of Congress and their staff will have to buy insurance on the Exchange. Just in case they needed another reason to be against reform, now it's self-interest. Nice.
Health reform will increase access to mental health services, bringing the mentally ill closer to parity with physical chronic illnesses. I'm still concerned -- the mental health cases, eating disorders, substance abuse treatment -- insurance companies deny coverage and people stay sick or relapse because they were released to early. And insurers respond by providing even less care. Until someone actually enforces mental health parity, this is going to keep happening.
The Governor of Florida not only hates health reform -- he hates health care! He closed the state's only tuberculosis hospital despite the largest TB outbreak in the United States. It would be funny if it weren't for the fact that people will die as a result of his short-sightedness.
Wellpoint -- the parent corporation of the Anthem Blue Crosses -- is buying Amerigroup, which is a Medicaid managed care company. This makes Wellpoint the largest Medicaid insurer in the United States. You know there's a game here, right? Poor people are notoriously high utilizers of health care. They wouldn't be the population insurers would fight over -- except for the fact that there is no "medical loss ratio" (limit on the percentage of premium dollars that can be spent on administrative matters, including salaries and bonuses) in Medicaid, so insurers can profit big time. In Connecticut, we proved that Medicaid managed care -- privatization, in other words -- costs way more than traditional fee for service Medicaid, so we've scrapped managed care right when many states are moving to a managed care model. So Wellpoint sees an opportunity here. Our tax dollars at work.
The campaign to put pain relief further out of the reach of people with chronic pain marches on. Now, the FDA is requiring drug manufacturers to fund safety training for doctors who prescribe long-term narcotic use. This will make it even harder to find a doctor willing to prescribe pain meds for chronic pain. And it is an outrage.
The US Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that weight loss programs be covered by insurance. Finally. Under health reform, insurers have to provide these recommended services for free -- no deductible or copay.
More on how genetics may be changing the treatment of cancer. This time, genetics helps to predict the course of cancer, eliminating guess-work in the prognosis. Amazing advances that create the possibility that we are really headed towards a new kind of medicine.
Sitting less can extend your life. Sitting down for more than 3 hours per day can shave 2 years off of your life expectancy.
And there you go. Have a great day! Jennifer