December 28, 2014
In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a set of modest reforms to the Medicare program proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan. In response, Democrats charged that Republicans were seeking to “end Medicare as we know it,” a claim that even liberal organs like PolitiFact called “the lie of the year.” But there’s a greater irony to Democrats’ Medicare rhetoric. In 1993, nearly 100 congressional Democrats introduced a bill that would have repealed Medicare altogether.
It all goes back to the last time Hillary Clinton lived in the White House, as the wife of President Bill Clinton. President Clinton had tasked Hillary with leading his effort to achieve universal coverage. In anticipation of that proposal, 97 Democrats—93 in the House and four in the Senate—introduced a single-payer bill called the “American Health Security Act.” The bill was co-sponsored by numerous Democratic stalwarts, including John Conyers (Mich.), Xavier Becerra (Calif.), Barney Frank (Mass.), Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).
via Democrats, Including Nancy Pelosi, Proposed Repealing Medicare In 1993.
December 27, 2014
The fatal flaw in this methodology, however, is that in order to “draw down” federal Medicaid dollars, actual medical services need to be provided to Medicaid patients. It is only when doctors actually treat Medicaid patients that the federal government pays those providers for the services.
For instance, the NCIOM study assumes that more than 500,000 North Carolinians will not only enroll in Medicaid under expansion, but each would receive on average roughly $4,300 in medical services each year. As these services are rendered, the doctors and hospitals are paid by the federal Medicaid program, which injects the money into the state’s economy and spurs the job creation, according to the studies.
But here’s where the studies’ jobs claims fall apart: North Carolina already suffers from a shortage of doctors.
via Why Medicaid expansion won’t boost N.C. jobs | Other Views | NewsObserver.com.
December 24, 2014
although a pure repeal vote might gain a majority in the new Republican Senate for the first time, it remains extremely unlikely to overcome the 60-vote minimum for a procedural cloture motion that would end Senate debate and permit a floor vote on its merits. Even a vote for full repeal by both houses of Congress would still have to muster two-thirds of the vote in both the House and Senate to override a predictably immediate veto by President Obama. So, as a practical matter, the votes on Capitol Hill just are not there for a successful enactment of full repeal in the new Congress, even after last November’s elections.
via What should the new Congress do about Obamacare?.
December 22, 2014
Last week, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug on his four-year quest to impose single-payer, government-run health care on the residents of his state. “In my judgment,” said Shumlin at a press conference, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.” The key reasons for Shumlin’s reversal are important to understand. They explain why the dream of single-payer health care in the U.S. is dead for the foreseeable future—but also why Obamacare will be difficult to repeal.
via 6 Reasons Why Vermont’s Single-Payer Health Plan Was Doomed From The Start.
December 18, 2014
Republicans clinched their 247th U.S. House seat on Wednesday when GOP challenger Martha McSally officially unseated Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), bringing to an end the final unresolved congressional election of the midterms and handing the GOP its largest majority in the chamber since the Great Depression.
McSally’s narrow win, which came after a recount, means that House Republicans will begin the 114th Congress with a 247-188 advantage over Democrats. It is the largest GOP majority since Republicans claimed 270 seats in the 1928 election.
via McSally win gives GOP historic majority in House – The Washington Post.
December 18, 2014
One of the most perverse consequences of the feverish backroom deals used to get Obamacare past the finish line was the funding formula for the law’s Medicaid expansion, which started with the infamous Cornhusker Kickback, a sweetheart deal for Nebraska alone to get 100 percent federal funding for Medicaid expansion that was used to get then-Senator Ben Nelson’s vote.
When the whistle was blown on that dirty deal, Nelson implausibly explained that the Nebraska-only provision was intended to be a “placeholder” for higher Medicaid funding for all 50 states. And that’s what ended up ultimately passing: if a state expands Medicaid to able-bodied adults, the new population is eligible for 100 percent federal funding through 2016, phasing down starting in 2017 until it reaches 90 percent in 2020 and permanently thereafter.
Yet states continue to receive an average of 57 percent federal funding for the pre-expansion Medicaid population of needy families and people with disabilities. In short, under current law, states are given a huge financial incentive to favor able-bodied adults over the truly needy. It’s shameful and it should be fixed.
via Fix Medicaid’s Perverse Funding Formula | American Commitment.
December 17, 2014
Washington, DC – December 11, 2014 – NIHCM Foundation is introducing a new Health Care Digital Media Award, which will recognize excellence in digital media that improves understanding of health care through analysis grounded in empirical evidence.The winner, selected by an independent panel of experts, will receive a $10,000 cash prize.“We have been so impressed by the influence of digital media on health care issues,” said Nancy Chockley, President and CEO of NIHCM Foundation. “We want to recognize those bloggers who are a cut above, who are changing the way we look at health care.”
via New $10,000 Award for Best Health Care Blogging.