Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Quiet Triumph of Obama Care

By Harold Pollack and Greg Anrig

... surprising even to many advocates of health care reform, evidence is emerging that the ACA is already improving life for millions of average Americans. It is promoting long-overdue fundamental changes in our dysfunctional medical system. Moreover, because those reforms are starting to directly address heightened economic insecurities of average families - the personal financial conditions that will largely determine this year’s election outcomes - President Obama would be wise to more forcefully and more specifically explain how his health care bill is already helping millions of vulnerable families and the country as a whole.

Sure, financially-pressured families will celebrate the derring-do of Seal Team Six. They should directly appreciate the immediate impact of improved insurance coverage and reduced medical costs. Here are five concrete realms in which the Affordable Care Act, which won’t even take full effect until 2014, has already had an impact:

The Affordable Care Act brings greater fairness, transparency, and integrity to private insurance. The ACA changes the basic business model of private insurance. Firms will no longer prosper by cherry-picking healthy consumers or denying coverage for basic care. The federal government now partners with states in scrutinizing large insurance plan rate increases. Such heightened public exposure and regulatory scrutiny has already induced major plans to moderate or to reverse large rate increases. Patients also are now entitled to greater due process, including external review, when their health plan fails to cover medical therapies. Because of “medical loss ratio” regulations, insurers are now required to devote the lion’s share of their premium dollars to patient care.

President Obama’s health care reform has radically transformed the status quo and provoked such bitter political battles with moneyed interests. His political advisers and pollsters can be forgiven if they feel some skittishness about attracting further controversy related to the ACA. They understandably and rightly wish to focus on issues of jobs and economic security. Yet secure access to affordable health care is intimately related to these latter economic concerns. The ACA’s full benefits won’t be felt until 2014. Yet the measures now in place are proving more important and more valuable than even many ACA supporters realize.

Health reform has already improved the humanity and effectiveness of our health care system. President Obama is entitled, and obliged, to embrace his own signature domestic policy accomplishment.

see also:
Iconic skier's death points out U.S. health gap
"The irony is that had the accident occurred in Canada… her care would have been covered because, unlike the U.S., Canada has a system of universal coverage," wrote Wendell Potter, an insurance executive-turned-whistleblower who writes for iWatch at the Center for Public Integrity. "No one in Canada finds themselves in that predicament, nor do they face losing their homes as many Americans do when they become critically ill or suffer an injury..."

An estimated 700,000 American families file for bankruptcy every year because of medical debt, Potter said.

White House Proves GOP Wrong - Health Care Law Saved Medicare Money
The Obama administration announced Wednesday that the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to receive health coverage through a private insurer, is enjoying lower costs and more customers as a result of the health care reform law.

Medicare Advantage enrollment has risen 10 percent over the last year while average premiums have fallen by 7 percent, said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She also pointed out that similar improvements were seen the previous year.

The figures bolster President Obama’s defense of his signature achievement, and for Democrats it has the added bonus of refuting earlier Republican warnings that “Obamacare” would gravely undermine the choice provisions in Medicare.

“At the time the Affordable Care Act was passed, Republicans in Congress said the bill would virtually end the Medicare Advantage program,” declared senior White House staffer Nancy-Ann DeParle. “Those predictions turned out to be wrong. Medicare Advantage is stronger than ever — offering more seniors better benefits, higher quality care and lower costs.” http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/did-health-care-reform-hurt-medicare-advantage-apparently-not.php?ref=fpa

Just the Facts: Churches and the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate


Health care reform saves Michigan Medicare recipients $49M on prescriptions
More than 84,000 Michigan residents receiving Medicare benefits saved nearly $49 million on prescriptions in 2011 under health care reform, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said Thursday.
Health care reform provided seniors with Medicare a 7 percent discount on covered generic medications when they hit the prescription drug coverage gap called the donut hole. This year, health care reform provides Medicare recipients a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescriptions and a 14 percent discount on generics.
"The Affordable Care Act is already saving money for millions of Americans with Medicare," Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary, in a statement. "As we move forward, we will close the donut hole completely and save even more money for everyone with Medicare."
Last year, Michigan residents who hit the donut hole saved an average of $582 on prescriptions, and nationally 3.6 million Americans with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on prescriptions, according to the federal government.

No comments:

Post a Comment