Complex. Complicated. Confusing. Beyond comprehension. Two prominent Democrats used these words this week to describe the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."
One of those Democrats, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), was one of the key architects of the law. The other, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is in charge of implementing the law.
"I believe that the Affordable Care Act is probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress. Tax reform obviously has been huge too, but up to this point it is just beyond comprehension," Rockefeller said Tuesday at a Senate Finance confirmation hearing, according to The Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard. more >>
A friend went in for his Medicare free "wellness visit," compliments of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He assumed it was like a doctor's annual check-up. After all, when he took his dog to the vet for a wellness visit, little Sparky was examined and tested for worms. So my friend made the mistake of asking the doctor to listen to his heart and lungs – just because that is what we expect physicians will do. Then he got a bill. Neither my friend nor his physician realized that if the patient was actually touched during the free wellness visit, it ceased to be free.
Medicare's annual free wellness visit includes a review of medical and family history; making a list of current "providers" and prescriptions; measuring height, weight, body mass index, and blood pressure; and giving the patient a schedule and/or referrals for appropriate preventive services. The visit is "free"-the doctor must take "assignment" (be paid by Medicare, not by the patient) and waive the usual 20 percent "copayment." The Medicare Part B deductible does not apply.
Physicians and a host of others, including "health educators," can furnish the visit. Indeed, the California legislature is considering authorizing pharmacists and optometrists to serve as primary care providers. It is likely, since we are struggling with a shortage of physicians, that most offices have nursing assistants furnish the free wellness visit. Or if a physician in a smaller office with fewer personnel chooses to conduct the interview, he is relegated to the role of a scribe. more >>
Dr. Ben Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., maintained his opposition to same-sex marriage this past Friday, but also apologized for previous comments he made on the subject, which Carson argues were misinterpreted by many as comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality or pedophilia.
Carson offered a "sincere and heartfelt" apology for his previous comments in a Friday email reportedly addressed to the Johns Hopkins community.
In the wake of this past weekend's tragic death of Matthew Warren, son of Pastor Rick Warren and wife Kay, Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, stressed the need for the church to address mental illness.
Along with shedding the shame and stigma that often accompanies mental illness, Stetzer recently wrote that he believes Christians need to address the issue of medicine relating to mental illness in the church.
The numbers are in – and they are not good. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report stating there were more than 110 million sexually transmitted infections among men and women nationwide as of 2008. That's 110 million lives impacted forever.
The CDC data reveals that the Human Papillomavirus or HPV accounts for the majority of the STIs in the United States. There is no treatment for the virus and the infection sometimes leads to cervical cancer. In a rather dismissive way, the government report states that "most sexually active men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives."
Incredible, the federal government is simply raising the white flag of surrender and promoting the notion that "everyone is at risk." Their solution? Vaccinate children as young as 11 or 12 and keep vaccinating until they reach their mid-twenties. more >>
The Virginia House and Senate voted Wednesday to ban abortion coverage in insurance plans sold through the health care exchange that will be set up in compliance with the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The amendment was proposed by the state's governor, Bob McDonnell.
Senate Democrats were hoping to block the measure, but failed when two Democrats joined Republicans to move the amendment forward, according to NBC Washington.
The state had already passed a similar amendment in 2011 but a new amendment was necessary because Virginia opted to let the federal government set up the exchange rather than set up the exchange itself. The amendment was added to bills setting up state oversight of the exchanges. more >>