Healthcare Reform

The Obama Administration Is Not Dead Yet

National Memo – Gene Lyons

“Not the headline I’d have written, but then I’m terrible at headlines. To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the Obama administration’s demise are greatly exaggerated.  Absent malice or catastrophic failure, people forgive and forget. What’s more, should the Iran initiative succeed, the U.S. has an opportunity to avoid involvement in an endless succession of wars in the Middle East. Should it fail, we’re pretty much right back where we started. ” ~ Gene Lyons

For a guy whose presidency was supposed to be on life support, Barack Obama has certainly had a productive couple of weeks. With his poll numbers sinking toward George W. Bush territory — 53 percent in a recent CNN survey said he’s not a strong or decisive leader — Obama took action on two important issues that dramatized the power of the presidency.

One was about getting Congress to act; the other about preventing World War III.

But first, a few words about Obama’s political fortunes: With reports surfacing about great improvements in the Healthcare.gov website’s performance, what many have described as the nadir of Obama’s presidency may prove a short-term phenomenon.

Stone partisans aside, Americans want their presidents to succeed. With strong majorities saying they continue to like Obama personally, and to believe that he cares about people like them, he retains a reservoir of good will to sustain him until the positive effects of the Affordable Care Act become clearer.

However, if people doubt that Obama has the wherewithal to manage the gigantic enterprise that is the federal government, well, no wonder. Like many intellectuals and nearly all writers — his Dreams from My Father is a real book, not a ghostwritten campaign bio — Obama confuses saying something with doing something. He also has a terrible time admitting error — another occupational trait, I assure you.

His failure to make sure that somebody with real-world management skills supervised the Healthcare.gov rollout is the most incomprehensible blunder of his presidency. Had the site run properly, Obama’s ballyhooed “lie” about people keeping their insurance coverage — more of an opportunistic campaign exaggeration, actually — wouldn’t have caused a great ruckus, because most people whose insurance companies dumped them would have been mollified to learn that they’re getting a better deal.

People took Obama’s falsehood personally, unlike, say, George W. Bush’s deceptive assurances that he’d received “no warning” about 9/11 or his phony certitude about Saddam Hussein’s imaginary WMDs. That’s because nothing touches them more directly than health insurance. (Although talking about botched White House initiatives, how about the bleeping Iraq War?)

Also because it’s personal, they’re apt to forgive Obama when the law starts working for them. But slowly, one at a time, like the way they forgave Bill Clinton.

Most also see that if Obama has weaknesses, he also has formidable strengths. Agreeing with Senator Harry Reid to do away with Senate rules allowing Republicans to filibuster White House appointees took real political courage. Will Republicans retaliate when they get the chance? Probably. And that would be worse than total congressional paralysis how?

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Huckabee Opposes Insurance For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Mike Huckabee giving a speech following the So...

Image via Wikipedia

 So much for Christian compassion and the age old Christian concept of “Faith, Hope and Charity”.  It seems the ultra Conservative Christian “Reich” feel that the above tenets are not a requisite to be a member of their version of “Christianity.  Every now and then I have to repeat Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi words:  I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.  

TPM DC  

When Republicans attack health care reform, Democrats like to counter by accusing Republicans of wanting to repeal a law that requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. According to Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, that’s exactly right. People with pre-existing conditions, he explains are like houses that have already burned down.  

“It sounds so good, and it’s such a warm message to say we’re not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition,” Huckabee explained at the Value Voters Summit today. “Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle [to] our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, “I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.” He’d say, “Tell me about your house.” “Well sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.” And he’ll say “I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.” Well, no preexisting conditions.”  

A moment of candor from the evangelical former Arkansas governor. Hard to say how that comports with voting on values, though.  

It’s worth pointing out, too, that the health care law’s individual mandate is in large part meant to make sure people don’t wait until they get ill until they buy insurance. But Republicans want to do away with that part of reform as well.  

Health Reform Begins In Earnest Today

Daily Kos - DemFromCT

Not only in earnest, but in 21 states that agreed to let the feds organize their high risk pools. The states that wanted to do it themselves are lagging (and that includes big states like IL, CA and NY) but even they expect to start taking applications over the summer. From the LA Times:

The Obama administration and some state governments will begin accepting applications Thursday for new insurance programs designed to cover people who have been denied insurance because they have pre-existing medical conditions.

These so-called high-risk pools were included in the new health care law to provide relief for some of the most desperate uninsured Americans between now and 2014, when a provision of the new health care law takes effect requiring insurance companies to cover everyone regardless of medical history.

This piece from Noam N. Levey has some nice basic bullets on where, which states, how much, when and even a piece on the Boehner tax:

Who will have to pay the new tanning tax?

The law levies a 10% tax on tanning services, which salons are expected collect from consumers and forward to the federal government.

The law exempts phototherapy services provided by a medical professional for the treatment of dermatological conditions, sleep disorders and other conditions.  

Continue reading…

Poll: Favorable views of health reform law increasing among Americans

A few months ago, right after the Health Reform bill  passed, I re-produced a list of 10 Immediate Benefits Of health Care Reform.  That list has been around the internet for months.  Perhaps people from all walks of life have read the list and see where they can benefit from health care reform.

The Washington Post -  David S. Hilzenrath

The health-care overhaul gained popularity from May to June, according to a new tracking poll.

The results suggest that the Obama administration’s promotion of the legislation may be paying off or that the public may be warming to the law as early provisions take effect.

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 48 percent of the public had a favorable view of the law in June while 41 percent had an unfavorable opinion. A month earlier, the split was 41 percent favorable to 44 percent unfavorable.

The latest survey results were not much different from those in March, shortly before the law was enacted. Then, at the end of a bitter year-long battle, 46 percent said they supported the proposed legislation while 42 percent opposed it.

Since President Obama signed the law, Democrats and Republicans vying for advantage in the fall elections have been fighting to shape how the public perceives the historic legislation. The administration has been spotlighting potentially crowd-pleasing elements as they are phased in, including a provision that will allow many parents to keep young adult children on their insurance policies until age 26, and another provision that is helping some Medicare beneficiaries narrow a gap in their prescription drug coverage.

“Overall, roughly a third of voters say that a candidate who voted for the health reform law will be more likely to get their vote, a third say less likely, and a third say it doesn’t really matter,” said the foundation, which studies and distributes information about health-care policy.

When voters were pressed to choose the issue most important to them, “economic concerns came out on top, with 29 percent naming either the economy or unemployment,” the foundation said. Thirteen percent mentioned dissatisfaction with government, 12 percent mentioned health care, and 9 percent each pointed to the Gulf Coast oil spill and the budget deficit, the survey found.

The full impact of the health-care legislation will not be felt until 2014, when some of the most far-reaching and controversial elements take effect. Those include an end to discrimination by insurers based on preexisting conditions and a requirement that everyone carry health insurance.

The Kaiser tracking poll was conducted June 17 through 22 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, the foundation said.

Bush’s daughter Barbara ‘glad’ ObamaCare passed: Health care ‘should be a right for everyone.’

Yesterday, President Bush’s 28-year old daughter Barbara was named Fox News Sunday’s “Power Player of the Week” for her work as co-founder of Global Health Corps, a group of young professionals promoting global health equality. During the interview with Fox, Barbara Bush’s comments on health care sounded like, as host Chris Wallace put it, “a mission statement from the Obama White House”:

BARBARA BUSH: Why do basically people with money have good health care and why do people that live on lower salaries not have good health care? You know, health should be a right for everyone. [...]

WALLACE: What do you think of Obama health care reform?

BUSH: That is a good question. And obviously, the health care reform bill, you know, was highly debated by a lot of people. And I guess I’m glad that, you know, a bill was passed.

While his daughter appears to value the passage of health reform, former President Bush hasn’t been nearly as complimentary. Before the passage of the new law, he told the Washington Times last year, “I worry about encouraging the government to replace the private sector when it comes to providing insurance for health care.”

Fox News Suggests That Bill Clinton Wouldn’t Have Received Treatment Under Healthcare Reform – Huh?

I should never be surprised at the propaganda that Fox News peddles on any given day, but I am.  This one defies all logic and rationale, in my opinion, but then again…THATS Fox News’ agenda for their dumbed down viewers:

Think Progress:

This morning, Fox & Friends covered President Bill Clinton’s hospitalization by asking if the President would have been treated for his heart problems “if the health care reform had gone through.” “Would he have gotten those stents?” host Brian Kilmeade asked in-house health reform expert Peter J. Johnson Jr.

Johnson admitted that “under a lot of protocols he would have gotten those stents,” but suggested that if the government adopted best practice methods using comparative effectiveness research, “perhaps hundreds of thousands of people like the president” would receive a cheaper, less effective, treatment:

JOHNSON: If the government decides to adopt the Peter Orszag, budget director, architect of health care, method and put in regulations that say there is a gold standard, there is a best practice based on the literature, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people like the president, I’m not going to make a determination…if the new standard is save money, best practices, does President Clinton or you or I who needs it get the stent under the new regimen of health care effectiveness?

Conservatives have long used comparative effectiveness research (CER) to further their claim that health care reform would ration treatments based on cost, impose a one-size-fits-all standard for medicine, and keep doctors from prescribing more expensive and effective procedures. But this line of thinking misunderstands the purpose of CER and ignores legislative language that specifically prohibits the government from applying research findings to coverage decisions. CER is a recommendation, not a mandate. (See pg. 1652 of the Senate bill or pg. 769 of the House bill).   More>>>