Initial Obamacare enrollment numbers disappoint
From our initial report on the release of enrollment figures for state exchanges, and more distressing for the White House, anemic totals for the healthcare.gov site:
Just 106,000 Americans successfully signed up in October for health coverage through President Obama’s healthcare law, the administration announced Wednesday in a report that underscored damage from the botched launch of the law and gave critics new fuel in their effort to roll it back.
The tally falls well short of administration hopes that as many as 500,000 people would select a health plan in the first month of enrollment.
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press
An impending medical crisis: Millions of Californians may be set to receive healthcare coverage under President Obama’s healthcare reform bill, but with so many ready to jump on board, one question lingers. Where are all of the doctors?
State lawmakers have some ideas on how to combat what could become a crippling shortage in California.
They are working on proposals that would allow physician assistants to treat more patients and nurse practitioners to set up independent practices. Pharmacists and optometrists could act as primary care providers, diagnosing and managing some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and high-blood pressure.
But many doctors’ groups aren’t exactly happy with the idea of expanding the definition of medical practitioners.
Doctors say giving non-physicians more authority and autonomy could jeopardize patient safety. It could also drive up costs, because those workers, who have less medical education and training, tend to order more tests and prescribe more antibiotics.
(Photo via Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)
$87,500: That’s how much one California teacher was charged for a routine 20-minute knee surgery, prompting a fight between her, her insurance company and outpatient surgery centers that, in some instances are vastly overcharging the ill.
The normal cost of the operation? $3,000.
Noam Levey really knows his stuff.
Obese adults should get counseling, federal task force says: Under the healthcare law, insurance companies would be required to cover the panel’s recommended weight-loss treatments.
Obesity and obesity-related diseases are already responsible for an estimated $147 billion in annual healthcare spending. Widespread adoption of the panel’s recommendation would increase that spending, at least initially.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the law this week.
Photo: A federal health advisory panel recommends that all obese adults receive intensive counseling in an effort to rein in an American health crisis. Credit: Jeff J. Mitchell / Getty Images
California’s got a lot to lose if the Supreme Court scraps healthcare law: The state, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act, would lose out on as much as $15 billion annually in new federal money slated to come its way.
Instead of getting coverage at work, more Americans would shop for it on their own. That would mean more choices — and more risk. Critics and independent analysts say the impact would probably leave a larger number of Americans without insurance.
Arguments for and against Obama’s healthcare law heard at the Supreme Court elicit a range of opinions from four constitutional law experts. A sampling:
"I think it’s too close to call, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Supreme Court struck down the individual mandate. [Striking down the entire law] is less likely as that would be a clearer case of aggressive judicial activism. The law has thousands of different provisions, many of which have nothing to do with the individual mandate." — Adam Winkler, UCLA constitutional law professor
"Right now I’d say it looks like there are clearly four justices in favor, three opposed and [Justice Anthony M.] Kennedy somewhere in between, and Chief Justice [John G.] Roberts with leeway to go either way…. I think on the individual mandate the chances are better that it will survive than go down. I would be surprised if Justice Kennedy wanted one of his most memorable acts to be this. Is this how he wants to be remembered? Look at his record on gay issues. I think he cares about his legacy." — Henry T. Greely, Stanford professor of health law and policy
The link is courtesy Steve Lopez, who writes about exorbitant emergency room fees in his latest column. Important stuff, even if you have insurance.
Blogged this last night, but putting it back on your radar re: the Supreme Court’s consideration of the healthcare law this week.
test reblogged from latimes
Because key provisions of the law have yet to kick in, relatively few people have benefited from it thus far, making Democrats’ defense of it a tough sell.
If you’re self-employed, unemployed or work for a company that doesn’t offer medical coverage, you may have to find your own insurance. Here are some tips to get you started.
Today in painful irony: A woman who is symbolically fighting against Obama’s health-care law in court (specifically the requirement to purchase health insurance) went bankrupt … partly because her medical bills were too high.
Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama’s healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.
Brown “doesn’t have insurance. She doesn’t want to pay for it. And she doesn’t want the government to tell her she has to have it,” said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation’s case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.
But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address.
Brown chose not to buy health insurance … and the result is that she owes thousands of dollars in medical bills that she can’t pay, bills that now have to be absorbed by the hospital where she got the medical care. Yikes.
test reblogged from shortformblog