In 2014, Catherine Horine developed a persistent cough that would not go away. Within three months of first seeking treatment for the cough, even though her doctors had been unable to find a cause for her cough, they told her she would not live to see the end of the year without a lung transplant. At that time, Catherine was diagnosed with idiopathic bronchiolitis obliterans, a rare and irreversible disease that is extremely difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The condition causes inflammation and blocks airways in the lungs.
In the past several weeks we have seen different types of abortion bans moving through state legislatures, and in some cases getting signed by governors into law. It is important to note that none of these bans have taken effect; abortion is still legal in all fifty states. But these bills point to a troubling trend in reproductive rights. The national conversation on abortion access seems to have swung wildly in the direction of the anti-choice movement.
The Utah Senate approved a bill this week that would repeal and replace the voter-approved Medicaid expansion ballot initiative, Proposition 3, which passed with 54 percent of the vote in Utah’s election this past November. Proposition 3, if implemented, is poised to bring health care coverage to over 150,000 Utahns with annual incomes below $17,236 for an individual and $29,435 for a families of three.
This blog’s readers know that President Trump’s termination of federal cost-sharing-reduction (CSR) payments in late 2017 had unexpected effects. Intended as a deadly blow to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) health insurance exchanges, the step instead provided increased financial assistance to many low- and moderate-income families. This yielded coverage gains that offset losses triggered by other administration policies.
High and rising prescription drug prices force consumers to skip doses or even avoid filling their prescriptions for life-saving medications altogether. Now is the perfect time for Congress to finally begin to take action by passing the bipartisan CREATES Act.
The Cadillac Tax is a classic “policy zombie,” retaining support despite a transformed environment. In today’s world, policymakers should incentivize employers to strengthen rather than cut their support for workers’ and dependents’ health insurance.
One of the strangest chapters in the Affordable Care Act’s history began a few hours after midnight on October 13, 2017. At 2:36 am, a Presidential tweet announced the end of cost-sharing-reduction (CSR) payments to insurers: “The Democrats [sic] ObamaCare is imploding. Massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has [sic] stopped. Dems should call me to fix!” Later that morning, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services explained that the federal government would soon stop reimbursing insurers to cover the cost of giving low-income consumers legally-required reductions in out-of-pocket cost-sharing.
Anyone with compassion for others will find the anti-abortion efforts and rhetoric underway in Alabama and other states disgraceful. Having a woman walk into a health clinic or doctor’s office and not being able to receive the care she needs or being able to make her own reproductive choices is profoundly wrong, problematic and a huge step in the wrong direction for the future of health care.
Throughout our nation’s long and complicated history, the experiences and achievements of past generations of African Americans have formed an indelible part of the tapestry of American life. Their threads are the traditions we embrace during Black History Month. From the life-saving pediatric innovations pioneered at Johns Hopkins by Dr. Vivien Thomas, to the groundbreaking research of Dr.
NOTE: This blog was orginally published in Health Affairs on January 24, 2019.