First Edition: June 30, 2010
Today's headlines highlight the results of a new tracking poll that indicate that the health reform law has gained popularity among Americans while implementation advances for overhaul initiatives such as high-risk pools and the early retiree reinsurance program.
Want To Know What A Hospital Charges? Good Luck
Kaiser Health News staff writer Christopher Weaver reports: "When Bill Rose broke his leg in a motorcycle accident, he knew he'd end up paying for surgery himself-- he was temporarily uninsured. So he asked the hospital for an estimate and negotiated a 30 percent discount, bringing the price down to $8,260 in exchange for paying up front. But a month after the operation, the hospital told Rose, an insurance salesman from Defiance, Ohio, that the price had soared: He owed $10,000 more" (Kaiser Health News).
Poll: Favorable Views Of Health Reform Law Increasing Among Americans
The health-care overhaul gained popularity from May to June, according to a new tracking poll. The results suggest that the Obama administration's promotion of the legislation may be paying off or that the public may be warming to the law as early provisions take effect (The Washington Post).
New Coverage For Uninsured People In Poor Health
The Obama administration is launching a special coverage program for uninsured Americans with medical problems this week, the most ambitious early investment of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul (The Associated Press).
HHS Begins Accepting Applications For Early Retiree Reinsurance Program
The Department of Health and Human Services announced today it has begun accepting applications for the early retiree reinsurance program created by the healthcare reform law. The law sets aside $5 billion that businesses, unions and state and local governments can use to cover the healthcare costs of their retirees - and their spouses and dependents - who are older than 55 but don't yet qualify for Medicare (The Hill).
Lawmakers Are Putting Economic Recovery At Risk
Seldom has the policy conflict between recovery and reform been presented as starkly as in the last two weeks. On the one hand, there is last week's congressional agreement on a historic reshaping of the financial regulatory system. On the other, there's the failure of Congress (thanks to the threat of a Republican filibuster in the Senate) to extend unemployment coverage for more than 1 million Americans and to provide about $24 billion in Medicaid assistance for state budgets (Los Angeles Times).
With Federal Stimulus Funds Running Out, Economic Worries Grow
In addition to infrastructure improvement, about $18 billion of California's share of stimulus funds has been spent on social programs such as Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps. Billions more flowed to schools and job centers. But with those funds now gone, officials are preparing for another round of belt-tightening (Los Angeles Times).
Federal Judge Rules For Merck In State Vioxx Suit
Drugmaker Merck & Co. on Tuesday won the first trial over withdrawn painkiller Vioxx brought by a state trying to recoup what it paid for residents to take the drug, arguing it wouldn't have been covered had its risks been better known (The Associated Press).
Organ Donation: An Opt-Out Policy?
A suburban New York assemblyman whose daughter is a two-time kidney transplant recipient wants to flip New York's organ-donation system on its head by presuming people are donors unless they indicate otherwise (USA Today).
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