ACA Ends Lifetime Limits For 105 Million Americans | At least 105 million Americans have benefited from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that eliminates lifetime limits on health benefits, a report released by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finds. Although some plans already provided coverage without dollar limits on lifetime benefits, millions of Americans were enrolled in programs that did not. In fact, in 2009, 89 percent of people covered under individually purchased health insurance plans had a lifetime limit on their benefits, while 59 percent of all workers covered by their employer’s health plan had some limit placed on their benefits. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 39.5 million women and 27.8 million children will benefit from the changes:
By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Mar 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm
In her appearance on ABC’s The View today, Sandra Fluke continued to push back against false information about President Obama’s mandate that employer-provided insuranace plans cover contraception. Contraception like birth control pills should be treated exactly like any other drugs, Fluke told the shows’ hosts:
FLUKE: I want to correct the misperception, which Mr. Limbaugh and a lot of other commentators have been putting out there to confuse the public, the idea that this is about taxpayers or the government paying for contraception. It is absolutely not. This regulation covers private insurance and it wants to have this type of medical drug treated in a way that’s similar to how other medical drugs are treated. And it is health care.
During a town hall in Ohio this morning, Mitt Romney responded to claims that he has previously called for Massachusetts health care reform to serve as a template for expanding coverage nationwide and emphatically denied the allegations. “Very early on, we were asked — is what you’ve done in Massachusetts something you would have the entire government do, the federal government do? I said no, from the very beginning,” Romney explained.
The claim is simply untrue. Since he signed reform into law in 2006, the former Massachusetts governor repeatedly urged the federal government to follow suit:
– 2006 — Q: Is this something you think Washington should consider for the whole country? ROMNEY: Well, there are some aspects of what we’re doing that could be applicable to the rest of the country.
– 2007 — ROMNEY: Our program is based on a private model health insurance program and that model will work for the nation.
– 2008 — Q: Although, you backed away from mandates on a national basis…? ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work.
– 2009 — Q: Should the President be looking at Massachusetts as a model for lowering health care costs? ROMNEY: Massachusetts is a model for getting everyone insured.
For a full run-down of Romney’s evolving position on the federal government’s role in health care, click here.
Miranda Norman (who is a VoteVets.org Senior Advisor), Kayla Williams, and Robin Eckstein, all Iraq War Veterans, and Katherine Scheirman, former chief of medical operations in the U.S. Air Forces, released the following statement:
Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.
AFN is owned and operated by the Department of Defense, funded with taxpayer dollars, and accessible to troops serving overseas. Pentagon spokesman George Little says the military’s network will continue to air Rush Limbaugh’s radio program and is “unaware of any plans to review that decision.”
Illinois Bill Would Require Men To Watch ‘Horrific Video’ On Side Effects Of Viagra |
An Illinois lawmaker is fighting back against the GOP’s onslaught of ultrasound mandates and other abortion restrictions by introducing an amendment that would require men to watch a “horrific video” about the side effects of Viagra before receiving a prescription for the erectile-dysfunction drug. “They need to see a visual depiction of the treatment for the most common side effect to Viagra use, which is priapism, and it’s not a pretty procedure to watch,” said Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), who added that she is tired of politicians deciding that “women are incapable of making their own decisions.” “If we are going to do this, we need to do it in a way that is applied equally.” Watch a local news segment:
Back in February, lawmakers in Oklahoma introduced a bill that poked fun at the rash of “personhood bills” giving zygotes the same rights as American citizens by offering an “every sperm is sacred” amendment. Under the measure, “any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.”
Last week, a local Delaware council in Wilmington voted 8-4 for a similar “tongue-in-cheek” resolution “that asks state legislatures and U.S. Congress to enact laws that forbid men from destroying their semen“:
Two weeks ago, at the last City Council meeting, Walsh railed against Virginia lawmakers pushing to require women to undergo ultrasounds before having an abortion. So upset over the issue, Walsh said, she stayed up until 3 a.m. drafting her resolution. [...]
“I am standing up for women in this city, I am standing up for women in this state and I am standing up for the women in this country,” Walsh said. The resolution, designed to address “equality” issues, said that lawmakers have not introduced similar legislation regarding men in the United States. If some lawmakers believe the female egg is “bestowed with all the rights of personhood,” government should think the same of sperm, the resolution notes.
“[E]ach ‘egg person’ and each ‘sperm person’ should be deemed equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian,” according to the resolution. “What’s good for the gander is good for the goose,” Walsh said.
The satirical measure does prove a serious point: only about half of fertilized eggs develop into a pregnancy. If Republican lawmakers are willing to declare every cluster of cells with the potential to become a fetus a person, why stop at fertilized eggs? Why not sperm as well?
Mitt Romney is coming under renewed attack from prominent conservatives for previously advocating for a federal individual mandate and supporting government efforts to lower health care spending. While the former Massachusetts governor has publicly insisted that health reform should be left to the purview of the states, a recently unearthed USA Today editorial from 2009 and a long stream of past comments urging Obama to use elements of Romneycare as a template for the Affordable Care Act have sparked the ire of Republican and conservative leaders — just as the GOP presidential candidate heads into the all-important Super Tuesday contest tomorrow.
This morning, during appearances on Morning Joe and Fox & Friends, Grover Norquist and Rick Santorum both slammed Romney for saying that his Massachusetts health care law should be a model for national reform, while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) — who endorsed Romney’s candidacy yesterday — conceded that the former governor has flip flopped on the issue. This is the Cantor exchange from this morning:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (Co-host, Morning Joe): It’s clear that he has flipped on the issue and it’s hard for some to understand where he stands.
CANTOR: Well, listen if the process that he has gone through, he has arrived at the conclusion that what he felt was appropriate in Massachusetts is not now appropriate for federal level, I take him at his word on that.
Watch a compilation of the comments:
Norquist was far more direct in his criticism, saying that while Romney was wrong to argue that Obama should copy his plan, he is smart enough to change his position on the issue. “He shouldn’t have, the good news is that he shifted on that and he’s running against a guy who has actually passed it into law,” he said. For a complete timeline of Romney’s changing positions on the government’s role in health care, click here.
Santorum went on to slam Romney for his past comments during a town halls in Miamisburg, Ohio this morning:
Since announcing his second bid for the presidency, Mitt Romney has argued that health care reform should be left to the individual states and criticized President Obama for enacting a “one-size-fits all” solution through the Affordable Care Act. But that position — which seeks to establish a clear distinction between Romney’s signature health care reform law in Massachusetts and the ACA — is belied by Romney’s repeated suggestions that the federal government should play a key role in expanding access and lowering costs.
ThinkProgress has chronicled the evolution of Romney’s position on health care, from his belief that the Massachusetts should serve as a model for the nation to his support for a federal individual mandate. And now, a 2009 op-ed unearthed by Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed offers yet another contradiction between Romney’s state-centered position on reform and his past support for greater federal involvement in the health market:
Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation.
At the core of our health cost problem is an incentive problem. Patients don’t care what treatments cost once they pass the deductible. And providers are paid more when they do more; they are paid for quantity, not quality. We will tame runaway costs only when we change incentives. We might do what some countries have done: Require patients to pay a portion of their bill, except for certain conditions. And providers could be paid an annual fixed fee for the primary care of an individual and a separate fixed fee for the treatment of a specific condition. These approaches have far more promise than the usual bromides of electronic medical records, transparency and pay-for-performance, helpful though they will be.
In 2007, Romney told Newsweek that his state model could in fact serve as a template for federal reform. “I’m proud of what we’ve done. If Massachusetts succeeds in implementing it, then that will be a model for the nation,” he said and reiterated the same point to NBC several days later. For a timeline of Romney’s changing positions on the government’s role in health care, click here.
Santorum argued for more government involvement in health care in 1993: During a fiery debate in 1993, “Santorum said it would be a mistake to allow the delivery of health care services to be determined only by the market. He asserted that Republicans were ‘wrong’ to let the ‘marketplace’ decide how health care works. He instead argued that government should play a “proactive” role in shaping the health care marketplace ‘to make it work better.’” [Mother Jones]
Health care jobs on the rise in Kansas: The healthcare sector continues to be a boon to the Kansas job market, according to a report from the state hospital association (PDF). The report found that the Kansas healthcare sector employs 11.4% of job holders there, or a total of 212,252 workers—making it the fifth-largest producer of income and sales in the state.” [Modern Healthcare]
‘Gang of 10′ working on secret deficit plan: “A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers in both the House and Senate are secretly drafting deficit grand bargain legislation that cuts entitlements and raises new revenue. [The Hill]
When states abuse women: “Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen.” [NYT]
Abortion bill imperils NH’s $1.4B Medicaid program: “A House bill aimed at cutting off taxpayer funding to hospitals, clinics, doctors and others who perform elective abortions could put New Hampshire’s $1.4 billion annual Medicaid program in jeopardy.” [AP]