Judge rules Obama healthcare law unconstitutional
The ruling by a federal judge in Florida goes beyond a 2010 ruling that the law's insurance mandate is unconstitutional. Two other federal courts previously ruled the law and its mandate were permissible. The stage is now set for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
By Noam N. Levey and David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
12:39 PM PST, January 31, 2011
Reporting from Washington
A federal judge in Florida dealt President Obama's healthcare overhaul another legal blow Monday, ruling that the entire law is unconstitutional because of a requirement in the legislation that Americans get health insurance starting in 2014.
Reframing the health care debate
Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011, 2:26 PMBy Paul Hochfeld
Nationally, those who fear a government takeover of health care are reconsidering the recently passed reforms. In Oregon, meanwhile, Rep. Mike Dembrow, D-Portland, will be presenting a single-payer bill to to legislators in the upcoming session of the Legislature. I suggest we reframe the discussion by focusing on "value"and "risk pools."
Here are some facts. First, on health care, Americans spend twice as much per capita as the rest of the world's developed democracies. Second, by almost any measure of population statistics, our health outcomes are poor. Third, not only does 60 percent of our total health care spending flow through the government, but all private health insurance premiums are inflated by 10 to 15 percent to cover the cost of those who can't afford insurance. Additionally, since most health care coverage is employer-based, the prices we pay for virtually all of our domestically produced goods and services are inflated by a hidden health fee, which reimburses businesses for the cost of health insurance premiums for their employees. Undeniably, we're all paying for everybody already, and we aren't getting much value for it.
Mexico’s Universal Health Care Is Work in Progress
YAUTEPEC, Mexico — When her twin girls were born seven weeks early, Azucena Mora Díaz did not have to worry about how she would pay for expensive hospital care, even though her husband has only a low-wage job as a construction worker’s assistant.
Under a government insurance plan for the poor, the girls were treated at the Women’s Hospital here and continue to receive follow-up care to monitor their development. The couple pays nothing.
“We owe everything to this,” Ms. Mora said as one of the twins, now 13 months old, squirmed in her arms, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a single word: “Smile.”
Jumping into the high-risk pools
|Health reform’s high risk pools, so far plagued with lackluster enrollment, are showing signs that they are starting to turn around — just as House Republicans are launching an investigation into the program.|
Within the past 75 days, enrollment in the federally run high risk pools has just about doubled. Approximately 10,000 Americans are currently being covered between the state and federally run insurance plans, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters.
States May Face Showdown With Feds Over Cutting Medicaid Rolls
Financially strapped governors, Congress and the Obama administration could be headed for a showdown over the Medicaid health care program that covers 48 million poor, disabled and elderly people nationwide.
Arizona's governor has already asked for permission to drop people from the joint federal-state program, which states say is eating up huge portions of their budgets. But to do so, they need the green light either from Congress or the Obama administration.
If they don't get one? States warn they may need to slash payments to doctors and hospitals and make deep cuts in other programs such as education. They could even thumb their nose at the law and cut eligibility, which would force the Obama administration to decide whether to cut all federal Medicaid funding to those states.