Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Health Care Law and You‏ (USA.gov Update) & A Commentary

An updated gateway to information about the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) from the US government including

Read this section to learn more about your rights and protections, insurance choices, and insurance costs. Get information on important benefits and programs available to seniors and small businesses.

The Health Care Law timeline

  • Timeline: What’s Changing and When
    The health care law puts in place reforms that will roll out through 2014 and beyond. Use the timeline or a printable list of key features in chronological order to learn what’s changing and when.
  • Implementation Resources
    Find out how the health care law is being carried out across the country. Find links to regulations, authorities, grants, letters, reports, and other information related to the Affordable Care Act.
 Related news items
  • The Supreme Court on health reform: Everybody wins! (KevinMD.com)
  • The Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act—A Bullet Dodged (with a video) (Brookings Institute)

    “…The outcome can be stated simply. People must pay a tax if they fail to carry approved health insurance. States may extend Medicaid coverage as specified in the Affordable Care Act, but if they don’t, none of the funds for previously eligible Medicaid enrollees will be in jeopardy. All other provisions of the Affordable Care Act stand….

    Behind this seemingly simple outcome stand sharp disagreements over constitutional interpretation.

    For starters, by a vote of 5 to 4, the Court rejected the federal government’s argument that it can use its power to regulate interstate commerce to require people to carry insurance. Congress can impose a tax on those who don’t carry such insurance, but the concept of ‘mandate’ really doesn’t arise. …

“The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision today in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) v. Florida. There were four issues before the Court regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA): the applicability of the Anti-Injunction Act; the constitutionality of the individual mandate; the severability of the individual mandate provisions from other provisions of PPACA; and the constitutionality of the Medicaid expansion.”

(Includes a chart explaining the legal arguments for and against each of these issues along with the Court’s ruling)

 “The big surprise, for many, was the vote by the Chief Justice of the Court, John Roberts, to join with the Court’s                              four liberals…Roberts nonetheless upheld the law because, he reasoned, the penalty to be collected by the government for non-compliance with the law is the equivalent of a tax – and the federal government has the power to tax. By this bizarre logic, the federal government can pass all sorts of unconstitutional laws – requiring people to sell themselves into slavery, for example – as long as the penalty for failing to do so is considered to be a tax.Regardless of the fragility of Roberts’ logic, the Court’s majority has given a huge victory to the Obama administration and, arguably, the American people. The Affordable Care Act is still flawed – it doesn’t do nearly enough to control increases in healthcare costs that already constitute 18 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product, and will soar even further as the baby boomers age – but it is a milestone. And like many other pieces of important legislation before it – Social Security, Medicare, Civil Rights and Voting Rights – it will be improved upon. Every Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has sought universal health care, to no avail.

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June 29, 2012 - Posted by | health care | , , , , ,

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