Health Reform

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Matthews asks Gruber about starting over with single payer

Chris Matthews, Hardball, MSNBC, March 27, 2012 If the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate today, which is the most conservative way to have national health for everybody, requiring people to take responsibility as individuals. If that fails, and the progressive left of the Democratic Party says, no, now's our chance to go for single payer, or what's called the public option - I guess they'll wind up being the same thing because there won't be another option really. Is that a better economic proposition? ... Matthews

NHS reforms finally become law

Andrew Woodcock & Tim Sculthorpe, The Independent, March 27, 2012 The Government's controversial reforms to the NHS became law today after a tortuous 14-month passage through Parliament, when the Queen granted Royal Assent to the Health and Social Care Bill. Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle's announcement in the House of Commons that assent had been given was greeted by cries of "shame" from opposition Labour MPs. The proposals were first tabled in Parliament in January 2011, but were subjected to an unprecedented "pause" last year as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley struggled to secure the support of healthcare workers ... NHS

Kucinich: Single-payer healthcare on its way regardless of how Supreme Court rules

Julian Pecquet, The Hill, March 26, 2012 The Supreme Court's review of President Obama's healthcare reform law is just another step on the inevitable path toward a single-payer medical system, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said Monday. "The cost of health care continues to grow because the costs cannot be constrained within the context of that for-profit system," Kucinich said in a statement after the high court completed the first of three days of oral arguments on the law. ... Kucinich

White House Burning: Putting Out the Wrong Fire

Dean Baker, Huffington Post, March 26, 2012 I have enormous respect for Simon Johnson. I first recall seeing him one late evening on a Bill Moyers segment in the middle of the financial crisis. I couldn't quite believe that the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund was complaining about the oligarchs in the financial industry using their control of the US government to bail out their bankrupt banks. This was more likely attributable to too much alcohol or too little sleep than anything that could really be happening in this world. Remarkably, it turned out to be true. ... White

The Court and the Mandate: Let the 'Left' Be Left Again

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffington Post, March 28, 2012 The world's been turned upside down by the Supreme Court hearings on the individual insurance mandate. Left is right, right is wrong, and the future is uncertain. There are only two approaches to health care that we know are constitutional: a European-style 'socialized medicine' system, or the old system of uninsured people dying in the streets. Conservatives are viciously attacking an idea developed in right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation as an alternative to the Clintons' health reform. ... The

Health care jujitsu

Robert B. Reich, Baltimore Sun, March 28, 2012 If the Supreme Court decides the so-called "individual mandate" requiring everyone to buy health insurance is an unconstitutional extension of federal authority, the law starts unraveling. But with a bit of political jujitsu, President Barack Obama could turn that defeat into a victory for a single-payer health care system - Medicare for all. ... Health

Health-Care Rivals Battle For Patients in Pittsburgh

Anna Wilde Mathews & John W. Miller, Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2012

Trish Wyckoff is struggling with stage-four breast cancer, but now the 53-year-old Pittsburgh resident has another worry: a possible divorce between the hospital system that is treating her, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Highmark Inc., the health insurer that pays for her care. If the two companies can't agree, she fears she won't be able to keep seeing the doctors who she believes are keeping her alive.

"We are absolutely stuck in the middle," she says. "This is a really scary time."

Nurses: Health Care Crisis Will Continue No Matter How Court Rules

National Nurses United, March 26, 2012 As the Supreme Court meets to pass judgment on the 2010 health care law the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses today warned that health care will remain beyond the reach of millions of Americans no matter how the court rules.
“Whether the Court overturns part or all of the law, or the Affordable Care Act remains fully intact, we will not have universal coverage, medical bills will still push too many Americans into bankruptcy or prompt them to self-ration care, and insurance companies will continue to have a choke hold on our health,” said Deborah Burger, RN ... Nurses

Health law, constitutional or no, fails to remedy ailment: doctors group

Physicians for a National Health Program, March 26, 2012 Regardless of whether the Supreme Court upholds or overturns the Affordable Care Act in whole or in part, the unfortunate reality is that federal health law of 2010 will not work: (1) it will not achieve universal coverage, as it leaves at least 26 million uninsured, (2) it will not make health care affordable to Americans with insurance, because gaps in their policies will leave them vulnerable to bankruptcy in the event of major illness, and (3) it will not control costs. Why? Because the ACA perpetuates a dominant role for the private insurance industry. ... Health

Tussle over tax law marks start of health care case

Justices signal that old law is no barrier to current case. Tracy Jan, Boston Globe, March 26, 2012 Washington - The showdown on the future of President Obama’s signature health care law opened Monday with Supreme Court justices rapidly firing questions that appeared to indicate they would allow the case to proceed despite an arcane 1867 tax law that threatened to postpone the highly anticipated court challenge until 2015. As the debate took place inside the tightly packed courtroom, demonstrators for and against the 2010 law expanding health care coverage picketed at the base of the court steps. ... Tussle

Koch Brothers versus Health Reform

Robert Greenwald & Jesse Lava, Alternet, March 26, 2012 Do all roads lead to Koch? Conservative activists will rally at the Supreme Court tomorrow to encourage the overturn of the Affordable Care Act. The “Hands Off My Health Care” protest - which will feature the likes of Representative Michelle Bachmann and Senators Jim DeMint and Rand Paul - is being organized by Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group financed by industrialists Charles and David Koch. ... Koch

Labor says nation's health at stake in Supreme Court battle

John Wojcik, People’s World, March 26, 2012 The labor movement and its allies are saying that the right wing's use of the Supreme Court to try to destroy President Obama's Affordable Health Care Act endangers not just the new law itself, but the very health of the American people. "On nearly every global yardstick that measures life expectancy and health," wrote's Sam Pizzigatti today, "the just-published Annual review of Public Health analysis shows the US now ranks either last among major developed nations or close to it." ... Labor

Health care battle focuses on Massachusetts model

With Supreme Court set to consider US law, the state’s experience illustrates problems of a patchwork mandate. Tracy Jan, Boston Globe, March 25, 2012 Washington - The doctors and nurses in the emergency room of Holy Family Hospital in Methuen routinely treat patients who lack health insurance. How can this be, given that Massachusetts requires its residents to obtain insurance and has achieved near-universal coverage since its landmark health-care law passed in 2006? Simple: many of the uninsured showing up at Holy Family hail from across the state border, a mere three miles away in New Hampshire, which has no such mandate. ... Health

Woman unhappy with care at Saint Mary's hospital is arrested for trespassing, dies in jail

Christine Byers, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, March 25, 2012 Richmond Heights - Anna Brown wasn't leaving the emergency room quietly. She yelled from a wheelchair at Saint Mary's Health Center security personnel and Richmond Heights police officers that her legs hurt so badly she couldn't stand. She had already been to two other hospitals that week in September, complaining of leg pain after spraining her ankle. This time, she refused to leave. A police officer arrested Brown for trespassing. He wheeled her out in handcuffs after a doctor said she was healthy enough to be locked up. ... Woman

Health Insurers: We’ll Deny Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions If Health Mandate Is Repealed

Fatima Najiy, Think Progress, March 19, 2012 Health insurers and supporters of the Obama administration’s health-care reform law are currently in the midst of drawing up possible contingency plans in case the Supreme Court overturns the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The insurance industry argues that premiums are likely to skyrocket without the individual mandate in place to aid in pushing millions of new enrollees into the marketplace, as healthy people will be less likely to buy insurance, while insurers will still be required to sell policies to all applicants. ... Health

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