Health Reform

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States Interpret Ruling to Cut Medicaid Now

Asserting Health-Care Decision Paves Way, Maine Plans to Drop 20,000 Recipients; New Round of Court Battles Possible.
Christopher Weaver & Louise Radnofsky, Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2012

Some cash-strapped states have seized on a section of the Supreme Court's health-law decision to pare their existing Medicaid programs, saying the ruling lifts the March 2010 law's ban on such cuts.

The court, which upheld most of the law, struck down penalties for states choosing not to expand Medicaid. A few states are also trying to go farther, arguing that the ruling justifies cuts to their existing programs.

Over 9 Million Low-Income Americans at Risk From State Medicaid Expansion Opt-Out

David Dayen, Firedoglake, June 30, 2012 I keep seeing these confident predictions from health care experts that no state would be so foolish as to reject the Medicaid expansion for their state. I want to set up a poker game with these people, to provide for my family in retirement. How many times can you say “well that’s so radical and extreme, it could never happen!” and be wrong before you review your assumptions? Here comes the New York Times with the first wave of quotes from Republican states. I’m going to annotate these with the number of people who would be covered under the Medicaid expansion ... Over

Glaxo Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement

Katie Thomas & Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times, July 3, 2012 In the largest settlement involving a pharmaceutical company, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug, federal prosecutors announced Monday. The agreement also includes civil penalties for improper marketing of a half-dozen other drugs. The fine against GlaxoSmithKline over Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia and the other drugs makes this year a record for money recovered by the federal government ... Glaxo

Michael Moore Finally Meets Wendell Potter - the Healthcare Exec Designated as SiCKO "Hitman" Who Turned Whistleblower

Rob Kall, OpEdNews, July 2, 2012 On June 30th, Michael Moore met Wendell Potter, the former Cigna Director of communications who was designated to attack and marginalize the message of Moore's movie, SiCKO. When Michael Moore's SiCKO movie, which attacked the health insurance industry, came out, the trillion dollar health insurance industry assigned one man to delegitimize the movie's message - Wendell Potter. Potter was head of communications for CIGNA, one of the largest health care corporations. It was his job to be the hit-man, destroying the reputation of SiCKO. ... Michael

Translating the insurance industry's feel-good rhetoric

Wendell Potter, iWatch News, July 2, 2012 Health insurers avoided their worst case scenario last week - the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down the individual mandate but letting the rest of the health care law, especially profit-threatening consumer protections, go forward. Now the industry can focus on a goal it has had all along: getting rid of those pesky consumer protections. That goal was clear to me from the reaction statement issued by America’s Health Insurance Plans. The statement was jam-packed with feel-good phrases like “secure and affordable,” “peace of mind,” and “choice and competition.” ... Translating

How the Affordable Care Act Affects Collective Bargaining

Peter Knowlton, President, UE Northeast Region, June 29, 2012 UE locals bargaining for their members' healthcare will get little help from the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by the president in 2010, and upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012. While millions of uninsured gain access to coverage, and for the first time the US government will prohibit health insurance companies to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, there are harmful aspects to the new law. Much as NAFTA legitimized cross-border corporate exploitation of workers, ACA confirms the domination of healthcare in the US by private health insurance corporations ... How

Stop! In the Name of Health: the Supremes Rule on the Affordable Care Act

Sue Saltmarsh, DUH, June 29, 2012 There were several historical moments on June 28 when the long-awaited Supreme Court decision on the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) was finally announced. First there was the “Dewey Wins!” moment on CNN when the ruling was announced as a defeat for the individual mandate - perhaps a symbol of the whole ball of wax turning out not to be what President Obama wanted it to be when he first started on the long road towards health care reform. Then there was the unpredicted migration of Chief Justice John Roberts from his usual presence on the conservative side of the fence ... Stop

Let’s get healthcare reform right with Medicare for All

National Nurses United, July 29, 2012 Now is not the time for more bailouts to the insurance industry, lowering patient care standards, or abandoning those patients and families who continue to face unpayable medical bills, insurance denials, or who remain uninsured or under insured. Let’s win the reform that can guarantee a single standard of quality care for all: Improved and expanded Medicare. ... Let’s

High Court Upholds Affordable Care Act, MNA/NNU Vows to Fight for Real Reform

Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, June 29, 2012 The Supreme Court has ruled that the national Affordable Care Act, including the individual mandate, is constitutional. The ruling came down on a 5-to-4 vote, and the surprise swing voter was Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed under George W. Bush.  While Roberts, and therefore a majority of the court, did not believe that the mandate was constitutional under the federal government's powers to regulate commerce between states, a narrow majority did believe that it was constitutional under the government's powers of taxation. The mandate having been upheld, the rest of the law was also found to be constitutional ... High

How the Supreme Court’s ‘Obamacare’ Ruling May Lock in Racial Inequity

Imara Jones, Colorlines, June 29, 2012 In a 5-4 ruling yesterday, the Supreme Court handed President Obama a massive political victory, but not as large as many think. By weakening the federal government’s ability to expand Medicaid through the states, the court threw health care reform for black and brown America into disarray, and flung half of the law’s potential beneficiaries into legal limbo. As a result, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s longterm effectiveness is in doubt, and the racial and economic inequalities at the very heart of the health care system stand to be reinforced. ... How

As Unions Cheer Health Care Decision, Some Push for More

Peter Knowlton, Labor Notes, June 29, 2012 It's Supremely official: Congress can force us to pay private corporations to deliver a fundamental human right, health care. With the Affordable Care Act intact, we will get to see how the law actually pans out - because no one really knows what to expect when the law begins in earnest in 2014. In the meantime the Supreme Court's decision lets stand the individual mandate, which those of us from Massachusetts have been working with (or around) for the last three years. The mandate has put more people into private health insurance but it hasn't slowed the steady rise in premiums and high deductible plans ... As

SCOTUS Rules. What Happens Next?

Labor Campaign for Single Payer, June 29, 2012 Yesterday's Supreme Court decision that substantially upholds the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was widely praised by the national labor movement. "Working people won a resounding victory," proclaimed SEIU President Mary Kay Henry as she thanked President Obama and the members of Congress who supported the ACA. Likewise, AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka declared himself "pleased and relieved." However, he also stated that, "We have no illusion that the destination has been reached ... " SCOTUS

Statement on the Supreme Court Decision on the Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”)

Democratic Socialists of America, June 29, 2012

The DSA National Political Committee (NPC) welcomes the 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The decision affirms the right of Congress to legislate in the interest of the general welfare of the American people.

In Health Care Ruling, Investors See a Mixed Blessing

Andrew Pollack & Katie Thomas, New York Times, June 29, 2012 Hospitals will gain millions of paying customers. Insurers, by contrast, could face crimped profits from restrictive rules. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies will bear new taxes and other higher payouts, but they were already expecting such costs. That, at least, was the immediate view of the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday that upheld the nation’s health care overhaul. It was also a view shared by stock market investors. Hospital stocks rose, with HCA gaining about 11 percent and Tenet Healthcare rising 5 percent. Stocks of insurers like WellPoint, however, lost as much as 5 percent. ... In

What does SCOTUS upholding the ACA mean for you?

Workers Independent News, June 29, 2012 Organized labor is hailing the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. SEIU President Mary Kay Henry says the Supreme Court rejected the cynical politics of Republicans opposed to health care reform and working people won a resounding victory. National Nurses United says the ruling shouldn’t be the end of health care activists’ efforts to find a permanent fix for America’s broken health care system. The nurse’s union says it will step up a campaign for a universal health care program based on patient need, not on profits or ability to pay – a Medicare for all. ... What

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