Yes, it’s a mess. No, I’m not talking about 17-year-old’s bedroom (the mounds of laundry on the floor and 15 empty Gatorade bottles on his desk are fodder for another blog) but, of course, healthcare.gov, the web site that is the gateway to individual insurance for millions of Americans but which, unfortunately, is working about as well as Congress.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a pretty big advocate of healthcare reform and, despite its many flaws, the Affordable Care Act. Which is why I feel like curling up in a fetal ball in the recesses of the teenager’s (scary) closet and not coming out until an entire day goes by without a story on NPR about healthcare.gov.
Unfortunately, I still have to earn a living so the closet is not an option.
I just finished teaching a class at the College of William and Mary on the US healthcare system. Of course it included a session on the Affordable Care Act. But before I could teach about the ACA, I had to teach about our system itself and its problems. After all, how can you understand the need to improve things if you don’t understand the underlying problem in the first place? So here is the Cliff Notes version.
We spend more per capita than any other industrialized nation and yet are at the bottom on nearly every indicator of quality.(1) As the Institute of Medicine noted: “Much of health spending does little to improve health and. . .may be associated with poorer health outcomes.”
Before I get into the questions, I want to invite you to visit the Health Care Reform page for Prevention magazine. I’m now the editor-at-large for healthcare reform for Prevention, and have a story on the ACA in the October and November issues.
You can also participate in a Twitter chat with me on Monday, September 30, from 1-2 p.m. eastern. Join in using hastag #PVNHealth. My handle is @debragordon2012.
Plus, I have a couple of questions of my own:
– When people say that Americans “hate” the ACA and that the ACA is “destroying” the country, what do they mean, exactly? I think most Americans don’t understand the Act. . . how can you hate something you don’t understand? And I really want to know how it is destroying the country. Really.
I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take the lies and misinformation out there about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare reform. Nearly ever time I tell someone something about the Act, or answer a question, they are surprised at how the truth differs from what they’ve heard.
To that end, I put out the word to friends and others to send me their questions about the ACA. Here’s the first batch. If you have any questions, send them on. I’ll keep answering them until we run out.
Question: Are the insurers currently participating in the system locked in on Jan 1st? Can they decide to pull out during the year?
Answer: If they decide to participate in the exchanges they must provide coverage for the year so no, they can’t pull out during the year. …Continue reading…
Can you feel the excitement in the air? Yes, it’s fall. Yes, it’s football season. Yes, wrestling is back in the Olympics. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the launch of the state and federal health insurance exchanges–the cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act–on October 1.
I don’t know about you, but I can barely sit still I’m so excited!
Ok, I admit that I am a health policy addict and I’m looking for a 12-step program. But seriously, these exchanges have the potential to revolutionize how we get health care in this country, provide an important burst of energy to the development of small businesses and entrepreneurship, and impact the health of a large chunk of the population.
These are grand goals, I know. So let’s swoop down from the 50,000-foot view that …Continue reading…
UPDATE: The Justice Department appealed the New York ruling tomorrow and asked for a stay on the order to make Plan B available to all women over-the-counter. Another epic fail!
I’m not happy with the front-page news that greeted me this morning: The FDA has agreed to make Plan B, aka, emergency contraception, available over the counter for girls as young as 15, although all women will have to show an ID. Previously, you had to be 17 to access it without a prescription and even older women had to ask a pharmacist for it, which is not only embarrassing, but the pharmacist could refuse to provide it and, if the pharmacy was closed, she was out of luck.
So I do have to (grudgingly) applaud the FDA for at least getting rid of the pharmacy requirement. …Continue reading…
I have a friend who is so beautiful you want to suggest that she model. She is also very overweight. She is well aware of her weight problem and it makes her miserable. This, in turn, sets up an awful feedback loop in which she feels terrible because of her weight, which drives her to eat, which leads to weight gain, which makes her feel terrible.
Last week, she had horrific abdominal pain that kept her in bed for days. Why didn’t she go to the doctor? I asked. Because, she answered, she feared what the doctor would say about her weight and how she’d be treated–like a pariah who didn’t deserve medical care until she loses weight. The doctor will lecture her, look at her in disgust, and treat her disrespectfully, she said. She knows …Continue reading…