Kathleen Sebelius: Health care in U.S. like ‘a developing country’ – Sarah Kliff – POLITICO.com

March 31, 2011

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says patient outcomes in the United States are like those in “a developing country” – and that they’ll stay that way if the health care reform law is repealed.“The delivery system changes are what will affect underlying costs, and that impacts everybody,” Sebelius said Thursday. “We pay 2 1/2 times what anybody else pays in the world, and our care outcomes look like we’re in a developing country.”

More at Kathleen Sebelius: Health care in U.S. like ‘a developing country’ – Sarah Kliff – POLITICO.com.

A Pound of Prevention Is Worth a Closer Look – NYTimes.com

March 30, 2011

The authors deplore our habit of showering prescription drugs on those unlikely to benefit from them. They trace it directly to the fact that once the experts have drawn the line in the sand that separates “health” from “disease,” we all tend to forget that both entities are etched in shades of gray, not the black and white the terms imply.

Similarly, the line between “normal” and “abnormal” is not the closed border most people envision but a no man’s land of substantial width. And so in our wild enthusiasm for seeking out tiny abnormalities, we often find them — thanks especially to the wondrous eyes of the latest high-priced scanners. Not necessarily the abnormalities we were looking for, but abnormalities nonetheless.

More at A Pound of Prevention Is Worth a Closer Look – NYTimes.com.

» AARP’s Billion Dollar ObamaCare Windfall – Big Government

March 30, 2011

According to this blockbuster report, released today by the House Ways and Means Committee, AARP’s support of ObamaCare and, specifically, the Medicare cuts was entirely rational and self-serving. The Committee found, after an 18 month investigation, that AARP stands to reap an extra billion dollars in profits from ObamaCare. (Yes, that is billion with a B.) Worse, this extra profit is largely BECAUSE of the Medicare cuts.

More at AARP’s Billion Dollar ObamaCare Windfall – Big Government.

Bachmann bill targets ‘ObamaCare’ funds | StarTribune.com

March 30, 2011

Michele Bachmann, pressing her case against the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, announced legislation Wednesday to remove the $105.5 billion in automatic funding that she says was “buried in ObamaCare.”

The bill, which has yet to get any traction with Republican leaders in the U.S. House, would give Congress the authority to take back the funding in future years. It also rescinds all existing unobligated balances in the health care bill, a top target for Tea Party groups across the nation

More at Bachmann bill targets ‘ObamaCare’ funds | StarTribune.com.

Pro-life laws seen as factor in drop in abortions – Washington Times

March 30, 2011

Pro-life laws are part of the reason abortion rates have declined over the past two decades, a study says.

A review of abortion data from 1985 through 2005 provides “solid evidence” that laws restricting but not outlawing abortion “have an impact on the childbearing decisions of women,” Michael J. New wrote in State Politics and Policy Quarterly, a peer-reviewed publication aimed at state policymakers.

Mr. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama, studied the effects of informed-consent laws, Medicaid funding rules and parental-notification laws for minors — rules that existed, by 2005, in dozens of states.

More at Pro-life laws seen as factor in drop in abortions – Washington Times.

NAIC to Study MLR Impact on Compensation and Consumers Before Voting on Changes « The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog

March 29, 2011

Brokers holding their breath to see if their compensation will be removed from the medical loss ratio formula required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be turning a darker shade of blue. The hoped for support from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which was expected to result from a meeting of the NAIC’s Professional Health Insurance Advisors Task Force this past Sunday, has been delayed at least four weeks.

More at NAIC to Study MLR Impact on Compensation and Consumers Before Voting on Changes « The Alan Katz Health Care Reform Blog.

‘The Panic Virus’ Review – Seth Mnookin on Vaccines and Autism – NYTimes.com

March 29, 2011

It is not that these parents buy into some of the more lurid accusations out there, like the one floated by a British doctor that all pediatric vaccinations cause some degree of neurologic damage. It is more that the parents are alarmed by the hubbub and prefer to play it safe — but wind up defining “safe” in exactly the wrong way. In some communities nonvaccination rates have hit the double digits — well into the danger zone.Expert opinion seems to have oddly little influence over these parents, but perhaps an analysis by a peer, rather than an expert, will change some minds. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Mr. Mnookin has put it all together in a readable narrative encompassing celebrity high jinks worthy of Vanity Fair at its snarkiest.

More at The Panic Virus’ Review – Seth Mnookin on Vaccines and Autism – NYTimes.com.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy Strike Down Part Of Health Care Reform? | The New Republic

March 28, 2011

Early in his tenure, Kennedy served as a reliable vote to limit the scope of federal power. In the 1980s, while a judge on the Ninth Circuit, he gave speeches calling for a restoration of federalism as “an underlying essential, ethical, moral value.” On the Supreme Court, Kennedy has voted to limit the reach of federal power to preserve the sovereign immunity and “dignity” of the states, and joined majorities in U.S.v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000) in striking down federal legislation as beyond Congress’s power to regulate commerce among the several states. Yet Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Lopez, which he described as a “necessary though limited holding,” evinced deep tension between his belief in federalism and his recognition of the need for expanded federal authority to regulate a growing economy.

More at Will Justice Anthony Kennedy Strike Down Part Of Health Care Reform? | The New Republic.

GAO Report Outlines Individual Mandate Alternatives – FoxNews.com

March 26, 2011

A new report from the Government Accountability Office suggests the federal health care law could hold together even if the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate.

The report, requested by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., makes clear that the mandate is critical to the health care policy-without it, Americans with health insurance would be on the hook for an estimated $57 billion to cover increasing numbers of uninsured people.

But the report lists alternatives that could potentially hold the health care law intact if the Supreme court rules against the individual mandate.

More at GAO Report Outlines Individual Mandate Alternatives – FoxNews.com.

‘Entitled’ to chains – NYPOST.com

March 26, 2011

The Constitution grants only to Congress the power to legislate. There is no greater threat to our delicate system of government than when federal courts allow unelected bureaucrats to make up their own laws. Yet last week, federal Judge Rosemary Collyer did just that.

The ruling has ominous implications for ObamaCare, enacted one year ago but not yet in full effect: This decision would allow the “health reform” law to become even more Orwellian than it already is, without any action from Congress.

In a case where I served as chief attorney for the plaintiffs, Judge Collyer allowed to stand three internal rules of the Social Security Administration that make receipt of Social Security retirement benefits contingent upon enrollment in Medicare. Plus, a person who withdraws from Medicare would not only have to give up Social Security retirement benefits, but repay all benefits previously received.

More at ‘Entitled’ to chains – NYPOST.com.