Tag Archives: Health Care

President Obama Explains Healthcare.gov

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Macon Phillips

It’s not every day that the President takes time out of his schedule to record a video about a website. But that’s just what happened with HealthCare.gov, the new consumer-oriented website from the Department of Health and Human Services. In the video, he shows how anyone can learn about new rights and benefits available to them as a result of health reform law, and, for the first time ever, see all their insurance coverage options in one place. Check it out:

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Making useful, easy-to-use information available online is a priority for this Administration. And putting power back into the hands of Americans is a primary focus for the President. HealthCare.gov accomplishes both. So, take a moment and check it out.

And don’t forget to leave your feedback in the yellow boxes throughout the site. The team at HHS is reviewing them on a regular basis and it’s a great way to help make HealthCare.gov a better resource for all of us.

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First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Promote Health Care and Preventive Services

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

Starting in September, insurance plans will be required to pay the entire cost of recommended, preventive services. That means that, without paying a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance, many Americans will be able to take the preventive steps needed to keep themselves and their families healthy. To help raise awareness about this important issue, The First Lady and Dr. Biden recorded this video message:

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The newly-launched HealthCare.gov not only provides information about the new rule for prevention and what services will be included, it also lets you compare hospital data and shows you a comprehensive list of the insurance options available to you, your family, or your small business.

And a little background on the importance of these new preventative care benefits.  Chronic conditions are impacting America’s men, women and children every day.  Nearly one-third of kids are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and 12% of children have not had a doctor’s visit in the past year. About 210,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will occur among women in the United States during 2010, and an estimated 40,000 women are expected to die from breast cancer this year. But the good news is that, as devastating as these illnesses can be, many of these conditions are preventable.   With expanded access to preventive services, individuals can get the information they need to make the health decisions that are right for them.  Preventing illness before it starts is key to keeping America healthy but it is also an important step in reducing health care costs.   Each year chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending.

To learn more visit HealthCare.gov.

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Filed under Childhood Obesity, Dr. Jill Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama, Health Care Reform, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Attend Affordable Care Act Event

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden attend an event about the Affordable Care Act at George Washington University Hospital July 14, 2010 in Washington, DC. Hospital employees also attended this event, including Inger Mobley, left, Clinical Manager of the Breast Care Center. Obama pointed out new regulations in the Affordable Care Act that will require new health plans to cover the cost of preventive screenings for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

Today, too many Americans today aren’t getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn’t adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven’t visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed — we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to — colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes — we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

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Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie’s son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It’s a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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President Obama’s Saturday YouTube Address 05/08/10

Posted by: Audiegrl

white house gov logoWhiteHouse.gov~Health Reform Starts to Kick In~The President goes through the benefits in health insurance reform that are already kicking in for young adults, retirees, and families, and says more benefits are coming down the pike.

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Filed under Change, Health Care Reform, Pres. Barack Obama, Uncategorized, Weekly YouTube Address

Speaker Nancy Pelosi Threatened: California Man Arrested For Health Care Reform Threats

Posted by: TheLCster

AP~The FBI arrested a California man Wednesday for allegedly making threatening and harassing phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over health care reform, law enforcement officials said.

Gregory Lee Giusti, 48, was arrested at his San Francisco home shortly after noon, said Joseph Schadler, spokesman for the FBI’s San Francisco office.

Schadler did not disclose the charges against Giusti, but said he’s due before a federal magistrate Thursday morning.

Several federal officials said the man made dozens of calls to Pelosi’s homes in California and Washington, as well as to her husband’s business office. They said he recited her home address and said if she wanted to see it again, she would not support the health care overhaul bill that since has been enacted.

One official said the man is believed to have spoken directly with Pelosi at least once.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

A call to a Pelosi spokesman was not immediately returned.

On Monday, the House Speaker told a reporters in San Francisco that “people have been active in expressing their disagreement.”

Sometimes those expressions have risen “to the level of threats or violence,” Pelosi said, explaining that she was not allowed to comment on her own situation.

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Flip Flopping on Obama: Democrats are Wimps

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dr. Jeff Schweitzer


We fully expect rats to abandon a sinking ship, but even those readily disloyal rodents wait for a leak to spring before contemplating a swim. In contrast, Democrats scramble frantically to jump overboard at the first whiff of a moist towel.

Nowhere was this unpleasant characteristic more glaringly evident than during the health care debate. Because Obama did not deliver the perfect bill instantly, the punditry immediately labeled the president “ineffective” and “passive” and “drifting” and “lost” and horror-of-horrors, “another Jimmy Carter.” Obama was criticized repeatedly because he “leads more from the head than the heart” and “relies more on listening than preaching,” as if those qualities were actually somehow negative. And those were the liberal talking heads. Obama was written off as a loser by his own team simply because he could not change 50 years of social inertia in his first year in office.

George Packer of The New Yorker loudly proclaimed “Obama’s Lost Year.” Robert Parry of The Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel lamented “How Obama Lost His Way.” Piling on were House Democrats who snidely disparaged the health care bill in February, but who now bask in the glory of its passage. These House members quickly toweled off after a premature dunk then tried to pretend they never panicked.

To place this cowardly behavior in context, remember that Republicans stuck stubbornly and loyally to George Bush for eight years in the face of illegal wire taps, disastrous wars, huge deficits, torture, economic collapse, environmental calamity and a terrible butchering of the English language. Democrats did not last eight months before whipping out the chains of self-flagellation because the president did not perform miracles or give us the public option (yet). That easy disloyalty is even more discouraging given that Democrats held the largest majority that either party has held in the Senate since Watergate and a 40-seat majority in the House.

Tackling legislation that has eluded every president for the last five decades is a delicate, tricky, complicated dance of nuance, strategy and hard-ball politics. The best analogy for what Obama has done, and how he achieved victory, is Dwight Eisenhower’s civil rights battle. In fact the recently-passed health care reform bill will likely prove to be similar to early civil rights legislation in many ways — breaking old barriers, creating significant social change, remapping political alliances and creating a better world with legislation that was initially deeply flawed or ineffective. Old Ike fired the first shot of civil rights legislation across the bow of a nation largely hostile to the idea. He faced fierce, nasty and sometimes violent opposition from southern Senators who wielded power far greater than anything we see today.

Consequently the resulting Civil Rights Act of 1957 was weak, flawed and largely impotent but miraculous in its passage nevertheless. The bill became law only after enduring the longest single-senator filibuster in our history. That paragon of racial intolerance, Strom Thurmond, read non-stop for more than 24 hours in a final but ultimately futile attempt to thwart passage. Ironically he read from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, desecrating both in doing so. As with Obama and health care, what Ike did was important beyond the specific bill that passed; he breached a barrier that seemed impenetrable; he set the stage for progress.

He laid the foundation on which Lyndon Johnson built the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without Eisenhower’s pioneering legislation, no matter how weak, Johnson would have never passed his landmark bill. Likewise, the public option, which is the end-game of true reform, will eventually become law because of the foundation created with this first attempt at health care reform.

In this light, and with this history, we should be embarrassed by our impatience with Obama as he marshaled health care legislation through a reluctant legislature and a populace confused by a vitriolic misinformation campaign. We lost temporal perspective, focusing on the moment to the exclusion of the future. Obama deserved our support and instead we bickered and told tales of woe because the bill was imperfect and not implemented quickly enough for our taste for the immediate. And the opposition nearly slaughtered us because we were unable to unite.

We argued passionately about the minutiae of specific language while the GOP was plotting a grand strategy of our destruction. Our impatience and immaturity aided and abetted that effort. Many Democrats I know and respect simply gave up on the president because he did not produce fast enough or give them everything they wanted. In the euphoria of electing one of our own, we forgot that ideological purity is not a recipe for pragmatic governance. We once again almost let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and were only saved from ourselves by strong leadership which ignored our plaintive and pathetic cries. Thankfully Obama was playing chess while we were trying to figuring out how to go from one to square to another in checkers.

Well, now that the first health care bill has passed we at least learned our lesson, right? One would think, but one would be wrong. The cycle begins anew with Obama’s announcement that he will allow off-shore oil drilling. Oh the humanity!

As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “There you go again.” And we’re off and running, so predictably. Here is a typical response to Obama’s announcement, this from Frank Tursi from the North Carolina Coastal Federation: “To garner support for a bill that is intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the administration is willing to expand the very substance that causes those emissions in the first place. Pandering for votes that rely on a polluting fuel of the past is not the kind of change many of us expected.”

Sound eerily familiar to the dialogue on health care before the bill passed? Once again we fail to see the big picture and instead focus narrowly on our immediate interests and concerns. Passing meaningful climate change legislation will be every bit as difficult as health care reform, and will require the same type of unpleasant and disconcerting compromise. We must again choose between the easy comfort of ideological purity and the pragmatic necessity of governing if we actually want to do something about global warming. Saving the planet is probably the better option, even if less satisfying emotionally.

Obama did not choose drilling in a vacuum; the decision is part of his broader energy strategy. Yes, we must emphasize conservation and efficiency, and we must do everything possible to promote renewable and clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. We must cut greenhouse gas emissions. But as we transition to a green economy, we have to keep the lights on and refrigerator running. That is the reality. The energy must come from somewhere, and even as we promote renewables many conservation groups are opposing wind energy, one of the most viable alternatives. Wind turbines disrupt migratory patterns, kill birds and bats and threaten certain species like the sage grouse. So should we support or oppose wind energy?

Something has to give, some compromise must be reached; we live in an imperfect world. Demanding perfection leads to paralysis — and victory for the opposition. Withdrawing support from Obama because he proposes a solution that does not meet our every wish makes little sense, particularly in light of what the other Party has to offer.

By no means do I propose that we blindly accept Obama’s proposed solutions or draft legislation. Debate, modify, argue, disagree: all of that is healthy. But do so knowing that ugly compromise is necessary, and that in a messy democracy no result will be perfectly satisfactory. Democrats need to learn from their Republican colleagues, who seem to know when to argue among themselves and when to coalesce into a unified bloc.

Whenever you feel disappointed or angry at Obama, just close your eyes and think of George W. Bush. Then, rally around, because no matter how imperfect Obama is, he’s better than the alternative.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer served at the White House during the Clinton Administration as Assistant Director for International Affairs in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Schweitzer was responsible for providing scientific and technological policy advice and analysis for Al Gore, President Clinton and President Clinton’s Science Advisor, and to coordinate the U.S. government’s international science and technology cooperation. He worked with the president’s cabinet and 22 U.S. Government technical agencies, and with countries throughout the world, in a broad range of fields including biology, physics, chemistry, geophysics, agriculture, oceanography and marine sciences. He was instrumental in establishing the permanent Global Forum on Science and Technology at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to promote greater international scientific collaboration.

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States To Sue Over Health Care Bill

Posted by: Bluedog89

CNN~Several states plan to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new health care reform bill, Florida’s attorney general announced this week.

Bill McCollum, the Republican attorney general up for reelection under fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, told a news conference that the lawsuit would be filed once President Obama signs the health care bill into law. He said he’ll be joined by his counterparts in Alabama, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

All of the attorneys general in the states mentioned by McCollum are Republican, but McCollum said the lawsuit would be about the law and not politics.

On Monday, Virginia’s Republican attorney general said his state would file a lawsuit challenging the health care bill. It was unclear if Virginia would join the other states or proceed on its own.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Sunday night, and President Obama signed it into law on Tuesday.

McCollum said the lawsuit would challenge the bill’s provision requiring people to purchase health insurance, along with provisions that will force state government to spend more on health care services.

“This is a tax or a penalty on just living, and that’s unconstitutional,” he said of the mandate to purchase health coverage. “There’s no provision in the Constitution of the United States giving Congress the power to do that.”

McCollum also said that portions of the bill would force states to spend money they don’t have, which he called a violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.*

“There’s no way we can do what’s required in this bill and still provide for education, for foster care, for the incarceration of prisoners, all the other things that are in this bill,” he said.

McCollum said he expected the lawsuit to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Later Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the Obama administration expected to win any lawsuits filed against the health care bill.

*The Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, restates the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the national government nor prohibited to the states by the constitution of the United States are reserved to the states or the people. However, there are clauses in which the federal government have intervened on behalf of the states.

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Conservatives Ridicule Child Over Health Care

Posted by: Bluedog89

HP ~ Conservative talk show hosts and columnists have ridiculed an 11-year-old Washington state boy’s account of his mother’s death as a “sob story” exploited by the White House and congressional Democrats like a “kiddie shield” to defend their health care legislation.

Conservative talk show hosts and columnists attack child whose mother died after losing her job and health insurance benefits.
Photo courtesty of Rod Lamkey Jr. / MCT.

Marcelas Owens, whose mother got sick, lost her job, lost her health insurance and died, said Thursday he’s taking the attacks from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin in stride.

“My mother always taught me they can have their own opinion but that doesn’t mean they are right,” Owens, who lives in Seattle, said in an interview.

Owens’ grandmother, Gina, who watched her daughter die, isn’t quite so generous.

“These are adults, and he is an 11-year-old boy who lost his mother,” Gina Owens said. “They should be ashamed.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told Marcelas Owens’ story to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at the White House health care summit last month. Murray also has spoken about it on the Senate floor. Last week, Owens was in the nation’s capital to speak at a health care rally and to meet with Senate Democratic leadership.

Limbaugh, Beck and Malkin are skeptical about the story, saying there were other forms of medical help available after Owens’ mother, Tifanny, lost her health insurance. They lambasted Democrats for using the story.

“Now this is unseemly, exploitative, an 11-year-old boy being forced to tell his story all over just to benefit the Democrat Party and Barack Obama,” Limbaugh said on March 12, according to a transcript his show. “And, I would say this to Marcelas Owens: ‘Well, your mom would still have died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.'”

Beck, according to a transcript of his March 15 show, pointed out that Owens’ recent trip to Washington was paid for by Healthcare of America, a group that has been lobbying for a health care overhaul.

“That’s the George Soros-funded Obama-approved group fighting for health care,” Beck said. “Since all of the groups are so concerned and involved now, may I ask where were you when Marcelas’ mother was vomiting blood?”

Beck, who’s from Mount Vernon, Wash., said there were plenty of programs in Washington state that could have helped Tifanny Owens.

Malkin dismissed Marcelas Owens as “one of Obama’s youngest lobbyists” who has been “goaded by a left-wing activist grandmother,” promoted by Murray and has become a regular on the “pro-Obamacare circuit.”

Malkin also suggested there were other programs that could have helped Tifanny Owens, adding, “It’s not clear that additional doctors’ visits in the subsequent months would have prevented her death.”

Tifanny Owens died in June 2007 of pulmonary hypertension, which is described as high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that can lead to heart failure. The disease is considered rare. While there’s no cure, it can be treated.

The treatments can cost as much as $100,000 a year and must be “consistent and constant,” said Katie Kroner, the director of advocacy and awareness for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association.

“It’s extremely important to have health coverage,” she said.

Owens was an assistant manager at a fast food restaurant when she became sick in September 2006. As she became sicker, she missed work and was eventually fired, leaving her without health insurance. She was treated twice in an emergency room and died at age 27 after a week of unconsciousness. Gina Owens has custody of Marcelas and his two younger sisters.

Gina Owens said her daughter didn’t qualify for Medicaid. State officials said that without knowing the details, it was impossible to speculate on whether Tifanny Owens would have qualified.

Tifanny Owens might have been eligible for Washington state’s basic health care plan, which is aimed at the working poor. The plan has had a long waiting list for some time, said Sharon Michael of the Washington state Health Care Authority.

“Right now, we have 100,000 people on the wait list,” Michael said.

Limbaugh has gone after young people before. In 2007, he told listeners that Democrats were exploiting an 18-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo and that her congressional testimony of global warming made him want to “puke.”

Murray said she was appalled at how vicious the health care debate has become.

“The mom in me is getting really mad,” she said. “You don’t tear apart an 11-year-old because his mom died.”

Marcelas Owens said he’ll never know if his mother might have lived if she had health insurance.

“At least if she had it she would’ve had a fighting chance,” he said.

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Ohio Tea Partiers Mock Parkinson’s Patient

Posted by: Bluedog89

ProgressOhio ~ In a scene reminiscent of non-violent civil rights confrontations from the 1960s, Ohio Tea Partiers quickly turned ugly when facing off with health care advocates in front of Ohio Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s office Tuesday.

In shocking video taken by a Columbus Dispatch reporter Doral Chenowith yesterday, Tea Party protestors mock a seated counter-protestor with a sign indicating he has Parkinson’s disease. They then proceed to hurl wadded up bills at him shouting, “I’ll decide when to give you money!”

“This has gone way too far,” said Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director of ProgressOhio.

“All of these candidates that pander to the Tea Party, whether it is Steve Stivers, John Kasich or national leaders like John Boehner, need to disavow the behavior these bullies exhibited in the video.”
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Newswire: BofA repays $45B in government bailout funds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Bank of America says it has repaid the entire $45 billion it owes U.S. taxpayers as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Bank of America funded the repayment through a combination of cash on hand and the sale of $19.29 billion of securities that would convert into common stock. The stock increase remains subject to shareholder approval.

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Heath Care breakthrough: Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said that he was happy with where the talks had gone.
“I’ve got a smile on my face. I don’t smile naturally,” he said.

Senate negotiators emerged from a full day of meetings Tuesday saying they had made genuine progress toward a deal on health care reform.

They declined to outline the specifics of the agreement, but said that the measures they had been discussing will be sent to the Congressional Budget Office for cost estimates. Once the estimates are returned, the final deal will be put together.

“We have made a lot of progress. There’s a lot of agreement. We have decided to take the next step and that is to ask the CBO to score what we’ve been discussing,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of five conservative Democrats negotiating with five liberals.

The discussion has focused on abandoning or greatly narrowing the public health insurance option. In exchange, people 55-64 would be able to buy in to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to people within 150 percent of the federal poverty line. And people within 300 percent of poverty would be eligible for a program pushed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) modeled on her state’s Basic Health. Cantwell is not one of the ten in the meetings but has stopped by to brief negotiators.

Senators, after the meeting, would not confirm which elements of the discussion were sent to CBO. Much will depend on the results of the CBO analysis.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), one of the liberal members in negotiations, said that he was happy with where the talks had gone.

“I’ve got a smile on my face. I don’t smile naturally,” he said.

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Reid: “about access to health care, not abortion.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has rejected an effort to stiffen abortion restrictions in the health care bill.

The vote was 54 to 45.

Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wanted to ban any insurance plan that gets taxpayer dollars from offering abortion coverage. The stronger restrictions mirrored provisions in the House-passed health care bill.

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