Entries in Health Care (57)


Healthcare Essential to Young Adults, Yet Nearly Half Cannot Afford It

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Healthcare is something we all need, yet millions of Americans don't have it -- particularly young adults between the ages of 19 and 29. But a new report released by a private, charitable foundation that promotes a quality healthcare system says health reform legislation is making a difference.

Nearly 15 million young adults aged 19 to 29 are uninsured and, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report, almost half of them in 2010 could not afford to go to the doctor, get a prescription filled or get other medical care they needed.  

But that's changing, the authors say, due to the Affordable Care Act.

Since becoming a law in March 2010, the bill helped 600,000 young adults to get coverage by allowing them to stay on their parents health insurance until the age of 26.  By the end of 2013, that number is expected to soar to 1.7 million.

The report says uninsured young adults will reap the biggest benefits of health reform in 2014 when they will gain access to subsidized coverage.  An expanded Medicaid program could open the door for more than seven million to get insurance, while another five million may opt for subsidized private coverage through health insurance exchanges.

The authors conclude that health reform is essential for young adults. And while some strides have been made, the Affordable Care Act will ensure nearly all of them have coverage by 2014.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Care Costs Hit Women Harder Than Men, Study Finds

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women, particularly Hispanic and low-income females, have been hit harder than their male counterparts by the weak economy and higher health care costs, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Nearly one-in-three women between the ages of 19 and 64 -- about 27 million of them -- did not have insurance in 2010, the Commonwealth Fund's 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey found.  Nearly double that number, 45 million, said they delayed or avoided health care coverage because of costs.

Young and Hispanic women, and those with low and moderate incomes, were particularly hard hit.  Half of the women whose incomes fell below 133 percent of the poverty line were uninsured last year, while more than half of all Hispanic women fell in that category.

Nearly 50 percent of working-age women surveyed said that because of cost considerations, they could not fill a prescription, skipped a recommended test, treatment or follow-up and did not visit a specialist when they needed to.

The report found that young women specifically face heavy barriers when looking for coverage.  Few plans offer maternity coverage and, overall, most insurance plans have higher premiums for women than they do for men of the same age.

Insurance costs have risen steadily.  Average premiums for family coverage have increased 114 percent since 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Insurance companies attribute the rise in costs to medical technology, new medicines and more expensive prescription drugs.  The overall aging of the population and administrative costs also play a significant role.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Takes No Action Regarding Health Care Challenge

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court has taken no action regarding a request from Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, to step in early and hear a challenge to the Obama administration’s health care law. The Justices discussed the issue at their closed-door conference last Friday.
While there could be a number of explanations for the court’s action, it would be very unlikely for the Court to step in at this juncture. The justices like to hear from appellate court judges on issues of national importance. Furthermore, appellate courts have already expedited the cases and will hear arguments this spring.

In court papers, Cuccinelli argued that “given the importance of the issues at stake to the States and to the economy as a whole, this Court should grant certiorari to resolve a matter of imperative public importance.”

Under normal circumstances, the Court taking no action after Friday's meeting means the issue will come up again at their next conference, set for April 22.

We can expect to learn either at the end of this week or early next week if the Court will grant Cuccinelli’s request to take up the issue before it goes to the appellate court.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


HHS in Campaign to Cut Hospital Errors

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday announced a national program to help save 63,000 lives and up to $35 billion in health care costs over the next three years by preventing hospital-related injuries.

"Americans go the hospital to get well, but millions of patients are injured because of preventable complications and accidents," Sebelius said. "Working closely with hospitals, doctors, nurses, patients, families and employers, we will support efforts to help keep patients safe, improve care, and reduce costs. Working together, we can help eliminate preventable harm to patients."

Sebelius was joined by hospital leaders, employers, insurers, doctors, nurses and patient advocates.

As many as one-third of hospital visits lead to hospital-related injuries, according to an April 7 report in Health Affairs. The missteps range from hospital-acquired infections to deadly surgical mistakes.

Sebelius said under the Partnership for Patients, HHS would invest up to $1 billion in federal funding through the Affordable Care Act.

The Community-based Care Transitions Program pledged $500 million and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will pitch in up to $500 million more to achieve the partnership's two main goals: To reduce preventable injuries by 40 percent; and cut preventable hospital readmissions by 20 percent.

"Reaching those targets would save up to $35 billion over the next 10 years," Sebelius said, adding that $10 billion of that would come from Medicare savings. "That's a return of up to $10 for each dollar we're investing."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Care Appeals Court Date Set

Win McNamee/ Getty Images News (ATLANTA) -- A federal appeals court has set a hearing date to consider a Florida judge's ruling that President Obama's health care overhaul is unconstitutional. The lawsuit under consideration was filed by 26 states.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Florida ruled the federal health care overhaul unconstitutional saying the requirement that all Americans carry health insurance demonstrates an overstepping of authority. Thirteen states, led by Florida, challenged the legislation before Vinson and thirteen more states later joined.

The hearing will take place June 8 in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The scheduling grants the Obama administration motion for an early hearing which would allow the Supreme Court to hear the case as early as the fall.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Reform Will Face Important Test at June 8 Hearing

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A Florida appeals court has scheduled oral arguments on June 8th to hear the Obama administration’s appeal to a lower court ruling that threw out the entire health care law. The hearing will take place in Atlanta at 9:30 a.m. before a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Significantly, former Solicitor General Paul Clement, one of the best Supreme Court advocates in the country, has signed on to argue the case for Florida and the 25 other states challenging the law. Clement served in the Bush administration.

For those keeping score, three federal judges have upheld the constitutionality of the health care law, and two have struck down its main provision, the individual mandate.

No appeals courts have ruled on the issue so far.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Federal Funding for LGBT Research

Medioimages/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- In a landmark moment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, the Institute of Medicine on Thursday published a report for the National Institutes of Health emphasizing the need for more federally funded research on LGBT health problems.

Those in the LGBT community face rampant discrimination and misinformation when it comes to getting adequate health care. Gaps in practitioner education and overall gaps in available data on the needs, risks and concerns of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender are identified in the IOM report.

The purpose of the report was to inform the National Institutes of Health on research needs, but many hope it will motivate a range of health care professionals to start collecting data and looking at the specific health problems facing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and lesbians, says Brian Moulton, chief legislative counsel of the Human Rights Campaign.

The report identifies dozens of health findings regarding LGBT health disparities, synthesizing more than 100 studies from the past decades on this topic.

Poor access to health insurance because of discrimination among employee-provided health care to spouses and domestic partners, high rates of mental health problems, including substance abuse, depression and thoughts of suicide, and increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases are just a few of the more pressing concerns identified in the report, says report committee member Judith Bradford, director of the Center or Population Research in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health at the Fenway Institute.

Less publicized health problems include a lack of LGBT training in medical schools, the special health risks experienced by elder LGBTs and a dearth of research into almost all areas of the transgender experience.

Many who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender recognize the IOM report as an enormous step in the direction of health care parity.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former WH Aide: Health Care Anniversary a 'Sweet Day'

Siri Stafford/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama's health care law turns one year old this week, and polls continue to suggest that it's not a birthday worth celebrating for the law's proponents.

But Neera Tanden, who helped shape the law as a top adviser in the president's Department of Health and Human Services, insisted to ABC News the law will grow more popular as its benefits continue to kick in.

"It's obviously a sweet day because the law is actually delivering benefits -- so it's a great day," said Tanden, now chief operating officer of the liberal group Center for American Progress.

"I think it's unfortunate that there's been so much partisan give and take around the bill and that it continues to this day. But I think over the long haul, this bill will be seen as a crowning achievement for the president. And that's why he's going to defend it and he will defend it in the budget negotiations going forward.”

Much of the disapproval of the law, Tanden said, is because elements of the law "are confusing."

The president and many of his fellow Democrats will campaign heavily on the new law, she said.

"I think the president will have to campaign on this. He's going to take attacks from the right on this, and he's going to have to defend the legislation, and I think he's prepared to do that."

Nationwide polls are revealing the opposite of Tanden's claims: that the more time passes, the less a majority of Americans like the bill that its critics have dubbed Obamacare. A recent Rasmussen poll revealed  53% of likely voters at least "somewhat favor" repeal of the new health care law, including 43% who "strongly favor" it. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Checking In: What Do Americans Think Of Health Care Reform?

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(WASHINGTON) -- According to the results of a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which has been tracking the attitudes of Americans toward the health care reform law, 42 percent of the public said they view it favorably and those who think it will improve their own quality of care, costs or ability to get insurance are at all time lows.

The poll found that 23 percent of Americans say the law will make their health care costs better compared to 42 percent who say costs will grow.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Researchers: Americans Are Sicker Than People in the UK

Comstock/Thinkstock(PRINCETON, N.J.) -- A Princeton University study finds that despite spending more on healthcare in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease across all age groups.

The study compared health indicators in the U.S. and England from childhood through old age for conditions such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol levels. Americans had higher rates for most chronic diseases.

The authors conclude that Americans are at a health disadvantage compared to the English. One reason for this difference may be that the health care system in United Kingdom is targeted towards preventive health care compared to American health care.

But critics of the study found some problems. They say that the researchers did not compare the same years, and the samples sizes were different.

The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio