Checking Up on Health

Health  Policy Briefs: March 13, 2012

Compiled by Benita Dodd

Georgia Health Care Update event: The deadline is approaching and seats are filling quickly for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s next Leadership Breakfast, 8 a.m. Thursday, March 22, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. State Attorney General Sam Olens and health care expert Ronald E. Bachman will give the “Georgia Health Care Update,” just days before the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in the challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Georgia is one of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business that filed the challenge to the law. The cost to register for the Leadership Breakfast is $25. Register here: Find out more here:

Federal health care strategy uncovered: What you’re going to hear from the advocates of the federal health care law as the Supreme Court hearing approaches, according to a memo the Heritage Foundation uncovered:

  • “Remind people that the law is already benefiting millions of Americans by providing health care coverage, reducing costs and providing access to healthcare coverage. This message will include the ideas that these are benefits that politicans/the Court art (sic) are trying to take away from average Americans.”
  • “Frame the Supreme Court oral arguments in terms of real people and real benefits that would be lost if the law were overturned. While lawyers will be talking about the individual responsibility piece of the law and the legal precedence, organizations on the ground should continue to focus on these more tangible results of the law.”

The full memo includes plans for an anniversary celebration, media filing center and more. (Fair and balanced? Can’t help but wonder whether the media will also be covering Americans for Prosperity’s “Hands Off My Health Care Rally” in Washington, D.C., on March 27, the second day of arguments at the Supreme Court.)

Someof what you can expect to hear from the opponents of the law:

  • Health INSURANCE is not the same as health CARE.
  • Adding more patients without adding more medical professionals will REDUCE access to health care.
  • Expanding Medicaid to cover 16 million more patients is also likely to reduce access to health care, because physicians are underpaid by Medicaid – about half that of private insurance. And physicians tend to get more of the fee from uninsured patients paying out-of-pocket than they do caring for Medicaid patients.

Health insurance exchanges: On Monday, the Obama administration released more than 600 pages of guidelines for health insurance exchanges, highlighting the “flexibility” of the framework for how states should go about enrolling uninsured Americans in new insurance exchanges under the president’s health-care overhaul.

If you build it, they will come: If you believe a health insurance exchange administered by a state will ensure the state has greater flexibility than if the federal government administers the exchange, think again. Although the state exchange would be run by state officials, the state would have no more freedom or flexibility than under a federally imposed exchange. Federal rules will dictate virtually all aspects of the exchange’s operation, Jonathan Ingram writes for the Illinois Policy Institute. Read more here:

Read the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s commentary on Georgia’s decision about a health care exchange here:

App for accountability: Do you receive the Government Accountability Office’s daily digest of reports and testimony? Now GAO’s making access and accountability even easier for you with a free app for iPhones and iPads to provide direct, simple mobile access to new reports, testimonies, videos and podcasts. (Note: That’s the access that’s easier, not necessarily the reading!) The GAO app joins other GAO digital initiatives that include podcasts, online videos and report graphics, and a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Download the app from the Apple app store, GAO also hopes to launch a similar application for android devices in the coming months.

Quote of Note: “President Obama is doubling down on one of the most dangerous provisions in his 2010 health overhaul law, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will become Medicare’s rationing board. In his proposed budget, the president plans to give greater powers to the panel to cut Medicare spending even more deeply than his health overhaul law already does.” – Grace-Marie Turner

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