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Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

As the ACA Stands Up, Can Programs for the Uninsured Stand Down?

March 25th, 2014

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It is clear that HealthCare.Gov is working better. Enrollment figures are climbing. Over 5 million Americans have selected a plan through the federal and state marketplaces, and another 6.3 million are getting coverage through Medicaid. While problems remain, the level of interest in getting coverage has grown—to as many as 2 million visits to the federal website in one day.

But amid these public proof points will be another less obvious measure of success—a decline in the need for a patchwork of programs designed to help the poor who continue to lack coverage despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

One of those programs, called the 340B Drug Pricing Program, however, shows no signs of slowing down. The 340B program supports clinics and hospitals that serve a high proportion of low-income and elderly patients. 340B requires drug manufacturers to provide discounts to hospitals and clinics that generally serve low-income patients or other groups like HIV-AIDS patients. The program allows hospitals and clinics to dispense the drugs purchased through 340B to their patients who may have their own private insurance coverage and pocket the difference between their deeply discounted purchase price and the amount that a health plan reimburses for the drug. For example, hospitals like Denver Health, which is the public safety-net provider for the city, have used 340B to expand services for at-risk patients. The discounts range from 20% to 50% off the cost of drugs. Those discounts are often bigger than the discounts required of drug manufacturers for Medicaid patients. Federal auditors have found that Denver Health is compliant with program requirements. But they also have found many other facilities to be out of compliance under current federal policy. Moreover, current law and regulations may be inadequate to ensure 340B is truly helping vulnerable Americans.

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Toddler-Care

June 28th, 2012

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I have a two-year old son, and the Affordable Care Act is way too hard for him to pronounce. We’re still celebrating “cookie” and “Elmo”. But today’s Supreme Court decision will have a massive impact on him—and millions of other toddlers who will one day carry forward the American Dream. Read the rest of this entry »

White-hot politics, cool president

January 10th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

Jared Lee Loughner, who has now been charged in the Tucson, Ariz., shootings, has been described as a disturbed young man. Early scraps of evidence suggest his politics are a jumble. His list of “favorite books” veers from far left with “The Communist Manifesto” to far right with “Mein Kampf.” It includes dystopian literature, such as “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World” and “Fahrenheit 451,” rallying cries against authority with “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and fantasies that include “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

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For energy reform advocates, lessons from health care

August 2nd, 2010

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This piece was originally published in The Washington Post.

With the United States struggling to recover from a job-killing recession, a Democratic president asks a Democratic Congress to pass sweeping reform of a major sector of the economy. “We can no longer afford to continue to ignore what is wrong,” he explains. “We must fix this system, and it has to begin with congressional action.” The public, however, rejects this plea. The proposal dies in Congress, and recriminations begin. Chastened and disappointed, advocates regroup and seek a new path forward.

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Key to U.S. growth is building wealth, not entitlements

May 6th, 2010

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This piece was originally published in Politico.

For much of the 20th century, progressives put their political capital into building a safety net to protect Americans against market excesses. They aimed for economic security from cradle to retirement.

Today, many on the left say that health care reform is just one more step in this effort.

But it would be a mistake for Democrats to make expanding the entitlement state the defining goal in the 21st century as well.

Rather, they should focus on a new signature cause: policies that build national and individual wealth.

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Profiling Arizona’s Immigration Law

May 1st, 2010

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This piece was originally published in National Journal.

Politics is about seizing opportunities.

When a California health insurance company hiked individual premiums as much as 39 percent in February, congressional Democrats seized the opportunity to showcase the urgency of health care reform. Last month, when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Goldman Sachs alleging fraud, Democrats seized the opportunity to build momentum for financial regulation.

Now Democrats are warning that the federal government had better pass reasonable legislation to deal with illegal immigration, or else. Or else what? Or else more states could pass Arizona-style immigration laws that threaten to turn America into a police state. The Arizona statute authorizes the police to detain anyone who appears to be an illegal immigrant and isn’t carrying documents that prove otherwise.

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