Houston Chronicle: Fighting Health Care Fraud Pays Dividends
Today, our departments released a report showing that the Obama Administration's historic efforts to go after criminals who steal from Medicare and Medicaid are paying off, especially in hotspots like Houston. The report shows that last year, we recovered a record $4.2 billion from those who prey on our health care system. In total, our efforts returned $14.9 billion over the last four years, more than double what was returned in the previous four years (U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 2/11).
The New York Times: The Conscience Of A Corporation
David Green, who built a family picture-framing business into a 42-state chain of arts and crafts stores, prides himself on being the model of a conscientious Christian capitalist. His 525 Hobby Lobby stores forsake Sunday profits to give employees their biblical day of rest. … And the company's in-house health insurance does not cover morning-after contraceptives ... This has put Hobby Lobby at the leading edge of a legal battle that poses the intriguing question: Can a corporation have a conscience? And if so, is it protected by the First Amendment (Bill Keller, 2/10).
Los Angeles Times: Catholic Bishops Won't Take 'Mostly Yes' For An Answer
[Cardinal] Dolan's statement reiterated that the Roman Catholic Church is equally adamant that nonreligious employers should be free to ignore the mandate. ... But do the bishops really believe that owners of hardware stores and coffee shops have a right to opt out of Obamacare -- or other laws -- because of their personal religious convictions? (Michael McGough, 2/8).
The Washington Post: Mr. Cantor Looks For Middle Ground
[Medicare's] structure, [House Majority Leader Eric Cantor] noted, is still rooted in the standard Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan of 1965, with an "arbitrary division" between insurance for hospital services and for doctor services. Each side has its own premium, deductible and co-pay rules, which creates expensive complexity, sometimes inadequate protection against catastrophic costs and powerful incentives to seek supplemental "Medigap" insurance. Mr. Cantor suggested unifying the program and revising the cost-sharing rules to create "reasonable and predictable" out-of-pocket expenses (2/8).
The New York Times: The Ignorance Caucus
Mr. Cantor's support for medical research is curiously limited. He's all for developing new treatments, but he and his colleagues have adamantly opposed "comparative effectiveness research," which seeks to determine how well such treatments work. What they fear, of course, is that the people running Medicare and other government programs might use the results of such research to determine what they're willing to pay for. Instead, they want to turn Medicare into a voucher system and let individuals make decisions about treatment (Paul Krugman, 2/10).
Philadelphia Inquirer: A Costly Rebuff To Medicaid
One in six Pennsylvanians lacks health insurance. ... The Affordable Care Act would make 631,000 more Pennsylvanians eligible for Medicaid coverage next year. ... Last week, Gov. Corbett called it "financially unsustainable for the taxpayers," and strongly suggested he was saying no to Medicaid expansion. He is the first governor of a blue state to reject the coverage for now. He is brutally wrong to do so (Karen Heller, 2/10).
The Washington Post: Virginia Can't Afford Not To Embrace Obamacare
Gov. Bob McDonnell and some fellow Republicans in the legislature are considering blocking one of the (health overhaul's) key reforms: extending Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the working poor. That would be a costly mistake, for two reasons. First, it would mean a missed opportunity to help hundreds of thousands of Virginians struggling to make ends meet (Robert McCartney, 2/9).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Medicaid Expansion Is A Wise Investment For Wisconsin
Many people think of Medicaid or BadgerCare as programs that provide health care coverage to the poor, but few know that Wisconsin is home to an estimated 170,000 uninsured, many of whom are working adults who do not qualify for Medicaid even though they have little income. These include people ages 50 to 64 who have lost their jobs or are struggling to find work. They are not yet eligible for Medicare and have paid into the system all their lives. As aging adults they are facing the onset of health conditions that, if left untreated, will inevitably increase their need for and use of health and long-term care (Lisa Pugh and Helen Marks Dicks, 2/10).