The Health Care Bill’s Insults to Women

The Health Care Bill’s Insults to Women

The Health Care Bill’s Insults to Women.
When asked about repealing a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, Senator Pat Roberts replied, “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.” These sophomoric jokes and flippant disregard for women’s health by Republicans would have been bad enough had they not been followed by the passage in the House of the American Health Care Act.
Among other damaging provisions, it: STRIPS FUNDING FROM PLANNED PARENTHOOD About half of the 2.5 million patients who visit Planned Parenthood centers every year, and about 20 percent of women of reproductive age nationwide, rely on Medicaid for their health coverage.
PUTS ESSENTIAL SERVICES AT RISK The House bill eliminates the Affordable Care Act requirement that insurers cover certain essential services.
Many of these services, like mammograms, birth control, and prenatal and maternity care, are used primarily by women.
Plans that offer maternity care could become prohibitively expensive.
SLASHES MEDICAID By cutting $880 million from Medicaid over 10 years, the House bill removes a crucial source of coverage for many women’s health services.
Almost half of all births in the country, and 75 percent of publicly funded family planning services, are covered by Medicaid.
Slashing Medicaid funds would be especially harmful to black and Latina women, who are more likely than white women to be insured through Medicaid.
Some insurers also denied coverage or charged higher premiums to women who had given birth by C-section.

Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims

Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims

Bill would raise burden of proof in comp retaliation claims.
The Missouri Legislature passed a bill Monday that would raise an employee’s burden of proof for workers compensation retaliation claims.
Senate Bill 66, sponsored by Senator Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, would modify the state’s workers comp law to make it more difficult for injured employees to sue employers for retaliation.
The bill would require employees who have been terminated to prove their workers comp claim was the motivating factor rather than a contributing factor in their termination from the company.
The bill is a response to the Missouri Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Templemire vs. W&M Welding Inc.
The high court overturned a circuit court ruling that sided with the employer, saying employees must demonstrate that their workers comp claim was a contributing factor to prove retaliation in discrimination or termination cases.
66 also states that if an employee voluntarily leaves his or her job at a time when an employer has available work that accommodates medical restrictions from the claim injury, the employee will not receive temporary total disability or temporary partial disability benefits.
In addition, the bill states that a positive test result for a non-prescribed drug creates a rebuttable presumption that the drug was in the employee’s system at the time of the accident or injury, which could result in a reduction in benefits.
If signed into law by Governor Eric Greitens, S.B.
66 will become effective Aug. 28.

A Trumpcare Change of Heart

A Trumpcare Change of Heart

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I want to tell you a story this morning about two men from New Jersey.
“So I know what this is like.” Moran, as it happens, had lost a son to cancer.
After their conversation turned personal, MacArthur asked his aides to leave the room, and the two men sat alone talking about the unique horror of losing a child.
Last week, MacArthur switched his position on the Republican health care bill, from opposition to support.
Not only that, he wrote a provision that helped the bill win enough support to pass.
Without Tom MacArthur, Trumpcare might not have passed in the House.
It would “pull the rug out from 20 million people,” leaving them without health insurance by cutting subsidies and shrinking Medicaid.
But I encourage you to take a few minutes and read Moran’s agonized column about MacArthur’s change of position.

Just 21% of Voters Approve of the New GOP Health Care Plan

Just 21% of Voters Approve of the New GOP Health Care Plan

Just 21% of Voters Approve of the New GOP Health Care Plan.
Roughly one in five American voters approve of the health care plan the House of Representatives passed last Thursday, according to a new poll.
Overall, 21% of voters supported Republicans’ American Health Care Act while 56% opposed it, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll published Thursday.
The poll confirms reports that Americans are overwhelmingly not on board with the GOP’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The AHCA in its current form would cut back on planned Medicaid expansions and allow states to waive the requirement to protect premium prices for pre-existing conditions.
The Quinnipiac poll found that 64% of Americans approved of Obamacare’s protections for those with pre-existing conditions, and 75% of voters think it would be a “bad idea” to let states remove that protection, which AHCA allows.
A Quinnipiac poll showed only 17% of Americans approved of the plan then.
Overall, 66% of voters disapproved of how President Donald Trump is handling health care, and 28% approve.
Quinnipiac conducted the survey of 1,078 voters over the phone from May 4to 9.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

What Spain Gets Right on Health Care

What Spain Gets Right on Health Care

The move back to underwriting for pre-existing conditions will reduce the cost of insurance for healthy people but will drastically increase the cost of insurance for people with underlying health problems.
Instead, we have to tackle insurance itself.
In the 1980s, Spain created taxpayer-funded community health centers located within a 15-minute radius of every citizen.
In the United States, community health centers could be funded directly by the government based on population, not fee for service.
Mental health care would be provided, including management of drug addiction.
People could still use private primary care providers, but they would have to pay for them, directly.
Such centers already exist throughout the country, many providing state-of-the-art primary, mental and dental care for low-income people at about $1,000 each a year.
And about 11 percent of Medicare payments are for physician services and another 27 percent are for Medicare Advantage payments, totaling $240 billion per year.
Since a good chunk of that is for primary care, it could be diverted to community health care services.
America has spent almost a decade making dramatic changes in its health insurance system, without addressing the real problem.

Golfing leads to workers comp fraud conviction

Golfing leads to workers comp fraud conviction

Golfing leads to workers comp fraud conviction.
A Montana man who was videotaped lifting furniture and playing golf while collecting workers compensation benefits pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal theft and will have to pay back nearly $27,500, according to a statement issued Thursday by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.
David Howke of Whitefish, Montana, worked for Big Fork, Montana-based construction contractor Aeneas Enterprises Ltd. in December 2012 when he injured his back while lifting concrete forms.
The employer initially questioned the origin of the injury because it noted Mr. Howke also worked a side job on a farm on the weekends, but the claim was accepted by the Montana State Fund, workers comp insurer of last resort, according to the charging documents.
Mr. Howke received medical benefits and bi-weekly temporary total disability payments of $822 totaling $27,478.23 from April 2013 through March 2015, according to the statement.
In November 2014, the fraud coordinator at the Montana State Fund received a confidential fraud tip that alleged Mr. Howke was working and frequently playing golf while collecting workers comp benefits.
The coordinator forwarded the information to the Montana Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which conducted interviews with several people who indicated they hired Mr. Howke to perform construction and remodeling jobs in exchange for cash and goods during the time he was collecting comp benefits, according to the charging documents.
In addition, the department of justice hired investigators to provide surveillance of Mr. Howke, which produced videos of him shoveling snow, lifting furniture and playing golf, the charging documents said.
Mr. Howke pleaded guilty to the felony charge of theft in Montana District Court Wednesday and was given a five-year suspended sentence and ordered to repay the workers comp benefits he collected, according to the statement.
“Workers compensation fraud is a drain on Montana businesses, and anytime we can mitigate this deceitful behavior, we’re reducing upward pressure on the costs shouldered by businesses in our state,” said Mr. Fox in the statement.

Four medical providers suspended from California comp system

Four medical providers suspended from California comp system

Four medical providers suspended from California comp system.
The California Department of Industrial Relations and its Division of Workers Compensation suspended four medical providers from participating in the state’s workers compensation system.
Ladera Heights, California-based physician Kenneth Johnson was suspended based on federal charges in a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal.
Mr. Johnson pre-signed thousands of blank prescriptions that were used in fraudulent claims for antipsychotic medications by Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale, California, the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
Santa Rosa-based orthopedic surgeon Raymond Severt also was suspended based on a criminal conviction in Marin Superior Court for attempted lewd acts on a minor under the age of 14.
The Medical Board of California revoked his license following the conviction, the Department of Industrial Relations said in the statement.
In addition, George Parisotto, acting administrative director of the Division of Workers Compensation, also issued determinations and orders upholding the suspension of two providers who had appealed previous notices.
Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon Philip Sobol was suspended for participating in a kickback scheme at Pacific Hospital of Long Beach in which he illegally referred thousands of his patients for spinal surgeries.
Los Angeles-based physician Thomas M. Heric was suspended for Medicare and Medicaid-related health care fraud, according to the statement.
There are currently 23 providers suspended from California’s workers comp system, the statement said.

Pharmacy Giant Express Scripts Is Rolling Out a Cheaper Drug Program

Pharmacy Giant Express Scripts Is Rolling Out a Cheaper Drug Program

Pharmacy Giant Express Scripts Is Rolling Out a Cheaper Drug Program.
People who pay retail prices for their prescriptions are poised to benefit from a new program that pairs Express Scripts, the country’s biggest pharmacy benefit manager, with drug discount website GoodRx, drug manufacturers and pharmacies.
Inside Rx, a new subsidiary of Express Scripts, offers discounts on more than 40 brand-name medications to treat illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and depression.
Consumers can print out a savings card and present it at the pharmacy for discounts that GoodRx says average 34% off the typical cash price.
The new program applies to customers with high-deductible plans, as well as those without health insurance at all.
In addition, discounts are not currently available in Tennessee — although that is expected to change soon, said GoodRx co-CEO Doug Hirsch.
The cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor, for example, recently went generic, and the $175 price offered by Inside Rx is still roughly 10 times the price of the generic rosuvastatin offered through GoodRx’s discounts, which are primarily for generics.
Inside Rx offers discounts of between 16% and 79% on various brand-name insulins, including the fast-acting Humalog.
Purchases made with the Inside Rx savings card won’t automatically count toward the deductible of patients with high-deductible plans.
Nearly a quarter of brand prescriptions are abandoned by patients during the period of the year before they’ve fulfilled their deductible, according to QuntilesIMS Institute.

School lunch shaming: Inside America’s hidden debt crisis

School lunch shaming: Inside America’s hidden debt crisis

He’s learned two key truths: Just about every kid loves pizza, and an alarming number of American youngsters still can’t afford a $2.35 lunch, despite the dramatic expansion of free and reduced lunch programs.
All the other kids in the lunch line know what’s going on.
It happens across the country: 76% of America’s school districts have kids with school lunch debt, according to the School Nutrition Association.
Teacher says, ‘I felt I had to do something’ Chris Robinson hopes Texas passes a similar bill to New Mexico’s.
There are 30 GoFundMe campaigns to raise money specifically to pay off school lunch debts so students can get hot meals.
She was one of those kids who was “right above that cutoff line” for free lunch.
The kids have become pawns Schools resort to cheese-sandwich shaming to get lunch debts paid off because they have to fork over the money at the end of the year to cover whatever debt parents don’t pay.
When Antignolo arrived at the Lamar district in 2013, there was over $180,000 in unpaid school lunch debt that year.
A family of four earning under $31,400 can get free lunch for the kids.
Thankfully, some of the money Ishaq raised in her GoFundMe campaign went to pay off the young woman’s debt.

Congress debates: Should tax dollars be used to buy junk food?

Congress debates: Should tax dollars be used to buy junk food?

Congress debates: Should tax dollars be used to buy junk food?.
WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee debated Thursday whether taxpayers should pay for sweetened beverages through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but when the five expert witnesses were asked if soda has nutritional value, not one said yes.
Still, only one of the witnesses, Angela Rachidi, who studies poverty for the American Enterprise Institute, a business-oriented think tank, advocated restrictions for candy and soda now paid for by the program.
She said restrictions would prompt retailers to make healthier alternatives available.
Others argued that the cost of implementing restrictions would be prohibitive and have limited value.
“Cashiers end up being food police at check-out time,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, CEO of the Food Marketing Institute, a retail grocery industry association.
“It would create real havoc,” she said.
Although non-SNAP households display similar purchasing habits, Conaway said, “one can reasonably infer that billions in taxpayer dollars are being spent on sweetened beverages and prepared desserts.” Questions ranged from the impact of sweetened beverages on obesity and other health compromises, to the benefit of SNAP nutrition education programs in places where the only grocery provider is a convenience store.
Some advocated increasing the monthly benefit while one asked if it should be block-granted to the states.
He said schools in his district are experimenting with salad bars, encouraging children to bring home healthy habits to their families.