Category Archives: Health Care

The Affordable Care Act: Healthy Communities Six Years Later

The Affordable Care Act made it possible for young people, striking out on their own with their own entrepreneurial enterprises, to get affordable health insurance © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
The Affordable Care Act made it possible for young people, striking out on their own with their own entrepreneurial enterprises, to get affordable health insurance © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

I’m so sick of Republicans, especially those who would be President and promise to repeal every word of the Affordable Care Act, lying about how Obamacare has harmed jobs creation, and destroyed American freedom. Such a crock. The White House has just issued a fact sheet appraising the Affordable Care Act six years after. Republicans are a fact-free zone, but here are the facts: 

FACT SHEET: The Affordable Care Act: Healthy Communities Six Years Later

President Obama promised that he would make quality, affordable health care not a privilege, but a right. After nearly 100 years of talk and decades of trying by presidents of both parties, that’s exactly what he did.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, putting in place comprehensive reforms that improve access to affordable health coverage for everyone and protect consumers from abusive insurance company practices. Because of the ACA, 17.6 million previously uninsured people had gained coverage prior to this year’s open enrollment period, and the law has driven the uninsured rate below 10 percent for the first time since we started keeping records. The ability to buy portable and affordable plans on a competitive marketplace is giving Americans the freedom to move, leave an unsatisfying job and start businesses which is especially important as more consumers become entrepreneurs. And thanks in part to the law’s focus on reducing costs and inefficiencies, health care prices have risen at the slowest rate in 50 years since the law passed, which will benefit all of us for years to come.

These access gains are due in large part to the efforts of local and state elected officials, community organizations and leaders, and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help their neighbors find access to quality, affordable coverage. During the most recent open enrollment period from November 1 through January 31, the Administration and its partners on the ground nationwide undertook an unprecedented local and regional effort to sign up the remaining uninsured who are eligible for Marketplace coverage.

As part of this effort, the White House launched its “Healthy Communities Challenge” to engage 20 key communities with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured in states across the country where strong federal, state, and community collaboration can have a meaningful impact on reaching the uninsured. Last month, the White House announced that the winner of the challenge is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Under the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele, about 38,000 people in the Milwaukee area newly selected a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace during this open enrollment period. Together with returning Marketplace consumers, about 89,000 people in the Milwaukee area selected a 2016 Marketplace plan. Nationwide, nearly 13 million Americans signed up for 2016 Marketplace coverage, including people who were previously uninsured, as well as Americans finding coverage as they go through changes in life such as being in between jobs or aging off their parents’ plans.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, This is What Health Care in America Looks Like Today:

  • 17.6 million consumers have gained health insurance thanks to the ACA, prior to this year’s open enrollment period.  From 2010 through the first nine months of 2015, the uninsured rate has fallen by more than 40 percent and, for the first time ever, more than 9 in 10 Americans now have health insurance. In Wisconsin, Gallup recently estimated that the adult uninsured rate in 2015 was 5.9 percent, down from 11.7 percent in 2013.
  • As many as 129 million Americans who have some type of pre-existing health condition, including up to 19 million children, are now protected from coverage denials and reduced benefits – practices that were routine before the law’s enactment.
  • 105 million Americans, including 39.5 million women and nearly 28 million children, have benefited from annual limits on out-of-pocket spending on essential health benefits – and the elimination of lifetime and annual limits on insurance coverage. These are protections that did not exist before the ACA.
  • Americans now have access to critical preventive services at no cost, like flu shots, yearly check-ups, and birth control. These are benefits that did not exist before the ACA.
  • Over 14 million more Americans have received coverage through Medicaid since the ACA’s first open enrollment period in 2013. States have an option to expand Medicaid to all non-eligible adults with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level, and to date, 31 states and the District of Columbia have chosen to expand the program.  In these states that have already expanded Medicaid, 4.4 million uninsured people will gain coverage.  If the remaining states expand Medicaid, over 4 million more uninsured people would gain coverage.
  • The ACA has provided new transparency in how health insurance plans disclose reasons for premium increases and requires simple, standardized summaries so over 170 million Americans can better understand their coverage information and compare plans. These consumer protections did not exist six years ago.
  • 2.3 million young Americans gained coverage between 2010 and October 2013 because they could now stay covered on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 26 – a benefit that did not exist before the law.
  • The ACA created tax credits that, as of September 2015, have helped 7.8 million Americans who otherwise often could not afford it purchase health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  • Health insurers are now required to provide consumers with rebates if the amount they spend on health benefits and quality of care, as opposed to advertising and marketing, is too low.  Last year, 5.5 million consumers received nearly $470 million in rebates.  Since this requirement was put in place in 2011 through 2014, more than $2.4 billion in total refunds will have been paid to consumers.
  • Out-of-pocket costs have been eliminated for preventive services like immunizations, certain cancer screenings, contraception, reproductive counseling, obesity screening, and behavioral assessments for children. This coverage is guaranteed for more than 137 million Americans, including 55 million women.
  • Out-of-pocket costs have been eliminated for 39 million Medicare beneficiaries for preventive services like cancer screenings, bone-mass measurements, annual physicals, and smoking cessation.
  • The ACA expands mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to over 60 million Americans.
  • The ACA phases out the “donut hole” coverage gap for nearly10.7 million Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries, who have saved an average of $1,945 per beneficiary.
  • Accountable Care Organizations now exist, consisting of doctors and other health-care providers who come together to provide coordinated, high-quality care at lower costs to their Medicare patients. Over 477 ACOs are serving nearly 8.9 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.
  • Overpayments through the Medicare Advantage system have been phased out, while Medicare Advantage plans are required to spend at least 85 percent of Medicare revenue on patient care.  Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown by 50 percent to over17.1 million while premiums have dropped by 10 percent since 2009.
  • Hospitals in Medicare now receive incentives to reduce hospital-acquired infections and avoidable readmissions.  A collaborative health-safety learning network, the Partnership for Patients, includes more than 3,200 hospitals to promote best quality practices.

In addition, other legislation and executive actions build on this progress and advance the cause of effective, affordable and accountable health care. This includes:

  • Advancing innovative care delivery models and value-based payments in Medicare and Medicaid.  The Administration set ambitious goals of tying 30 percent of traditional Medicare payments to alternative payment models by the end of 2016 and 50 percent by the end of 2018.
  • Proposals to invest in targeted research and technologies to advance the BRAIN InitiativePrecision Medicine Initiative, and cancer research.
  • A funding pool for Community Health Centers to build, expand and operate health-care facilities in underserved communities.  Health Center grantees served 23 million patients in 2014 and received $11 billion under the health care law to offer a broader array of primary care services, extend their hours of operations, hire more providers, and renovate or build new clinical spaces.
  • Health provider training opportunities, with an emphasis on primary care, including a significant expansion of the National Health Service Corps.  As of September 30, 2015, there were 9,600Corps clinicians providing primary care services, compared to 3,600 clinicians in 2008.

To learn more about the Healthy Communities challenges, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/12/fact-sheet-announcing-winner-healthy-communities-challenge. For more on the President’s overall record on providing quality, affordable health care for Americans, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-record/health-care.

 

White House Issues Fact Sheet on Administration’s Efforts to Respond to Zika Virus

The White House has issued a Fact Sheet:  Preparing for and Responding to the Zika Virus at Home and Abroad:

 

Since late last year, the Administration has been aggressively working to combat Zika, a virus primarily spread by mosquitoes that has recently been linked to birth defects and other concerning health outcomes.  The Federal Government has been monitoring the Zika virus and working with our domestic and international public health partners to alert healthcare providers and the public about Zika; provide public health laboratories with diagnostic tests; and detect and report cases both domestically and internationally. 

 

The Administration is taking every appropriate measure to protect the American people, and today announced that it is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to enhance our ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus, both domestically and internationally.  The Administration will submit a formal request to Congress shortly.

 

The Pan American Health Organization reports 26 countries and territories in the Americas with local Zika transmission.  While we have not yet seen transmission of the Zika virus by mosquitoes within the continental United States, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories in warmer areas with Aedes aegpyti mosquito populations are already seeing active transmission. In addition, some Americans have returned to the continental U.S. from affected countries in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands with Zika infections.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 50 laboratory-confirmed cases among U.S. travelers from December 2015- February 5, 2016.   As spring and summer approach, bringing with them larger and more active mosquito populations, we must be fully prepared to mitigate and quickly address local transmission within the continental U.S., particularly in the Southern United States.

 

The requested resources will build on our ongoing preparedness efforts and will support essential strategies to combat this virus, such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs; accelerating vaccine research and diagnostic development; enabling the testing and procurement of vaccines and diagnostics; educating health care providers, pregnant women and their partners; improving epidemiology and expanding laboratory and diagnostic testing capacity; improving health services and supports for low-income pregnant women, and enhancing the ability of Zika-affected countries to better combat mosquitoes and control transmission. 

 

There is much that we do not yet know about Zika and its relationship to the poor health outcomes that are being reported in Zika-affected areas. We must work aggressively to investigate these outbreaks, and mitigate, to the best extent possible, the spread of the virus. Congressional action on the Administration’s request will accelerate our ability to prevent, detect and respond to the Zika virus and bolster our ability to reduce the potential for future infectious disease outbreaks.

 

Department of Health and Human Services – $1.48 billion

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – $828 million.  The request includes funding to support prevention and response strategies through the following activities:

·         Support Zika virus readiness and response capacity in States and territories with mosquito populations that are known to transmit Zika virus, with a priority focus on areas with ongoing Zika transmission;

·         Enhance mosquito control programs through enhanced laboratory, epidemiology and surveillance capacity in at-risk areas to reduce the opportunities for Zika transmission;

·         Establish rapid response teams to limit potential clusters of Zika virus in the United States;

·         Improve laboratory capacity and infrastructure to test for Zika virus and other infectious diseases;

·         Implement surveillance efforts to track Zika virus in communities and in mosquitoes;

·         Deploy targeted prevention and education strategies with key populations, including pregnant women, their partners, and health care professionals;

·         Expand the CDC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, improve Guillain Barré syndrome tracking, and ensure the ability of birth defect registries across the country to detect risks related to Zika;

·         Increase research into the link between Zika virus infections and the birth defect microcephaly and measure changes in incidence rates over time;

·         Enhance international capacity for virus surveillance, expand the Field Epidemiology Training program, laboratory testing, health care provider training, and vector surveillance and control in countries at highest risk of Zika virus outbreaks; and

·         Improve diagnostics for Zika virus, including advanced methods to refine tests, and support advanced developments for vector control.

 

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – $250 million. The request seeks a temporary one-year increase in Puerto Rico’s Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to provide an estimated $250 million in additional Federal assistance to support health services for pregnant women at risk of infection or diagnosed with Zika virus and for children with microcephaly, and other health care costs.  This request does not make any changes to Puerto Rico’s underlying Medicaid program, and the additional funding will not be counted towards Puerto Rico’s current Medicaid allotment. Puerto Rico is experiencing ongoing active transmission of Zika. Unlike States, Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding is capped, which has limited capacity to respond to these emergent and growing health needs.

 

Vaccine Research and Diagnostic Development & Procurement – $200 million. The request includes $200 million for research, rapid advanced development and commercialization of new vaccines and diagnostic tests for Zika virus. It includes funding for the National Institutes of Health to build upon existing resources and work to develop a vaccine for Zika virus and the chikungunya virus, which is spread by the same type of mosquito.  Funding will accelerate this work and improve scientific understanding of the disease to inform the development of additional tools to combat it. The request also includes resources for the Food and Drug Administration to support Zika virus medical product development including the next generation diagnostic devices.

 

Other HHS Response Activities – $210 million.  The request includes funding to establish a new Urgent and Emerging Threat Fund to address Zika virus and other outbreaks.  This funding would be available to support emerging needs related to Zika, including additional support to States for emerging public health response needs should mosquito populations known to be potential Zika carriers migrate to additional States.

 

In addition, the request includes funding to support Puerto Rico’s community health centers in preventing, screening, and treating the Zika virus, expand home visiting services targeting low-income pregnant women at risk of Zika virus, and provide targeted maternal and child health.

 

U.S. Agency for International Development  $335 million

The request includes investments to support affected countries’ ability to control mosquitoes and the transmission of the virus; support maternal health; expand public education on prevention and response; and create new incentives for the development of vaccines and diagnostics.  The request would also provide flexibility in the use of remaining USAID Ebola funds.  Activities would focus particularly on South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and would:

·         Implement integrated vector management activities in countries at-risk of Zika virus;

·         Stimulate private sector research and development of vaccines, diagnostics, and vector control innovations through public private partnerships and mechanisms to provide incentives such as advance market commitments or volume guarantees;

·         Support training of health care workers in affected countries, including providing information about best practices for supporting children with microcephaly;

·         Support for pregnant women’s health, including helping them access repellant to protect against mosquitos.

·         Establish education campaigns to empower communities in affected countries to take actions to protect themselves from Zika Virus as well as other mosquito-borne diseases; and

·         Issue a Global Health Security Grand Challenge calling for groundbreaking innovations in diagnostics, vector control, personal protection, community engagement and surveillance for Zika and other infectious diseases.

 

U.S. Department of State – $41 million

The funding request includes support for U.S. citizens in affected countries, medical support for State Department employees in affected countries, public diplomacy, communications, and other operations activities.  State would also support the World Health Organization and its regional arm, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), to minimize the Zika threat in affected countries while reducing the risk of further spreading the virus.  These resources will support critical public health actions underway, including preparedness, surveillance, data collection, and risk communication.  Activities would also include support for UNICEF’s Zika response efforts in Brazil; activities to bolster diagnostic capabilities through deployment of equipment and specialized training.

 

For more information on the Zika virus and CDC guidance about how Americans can protect themselves, visit http://www.cdc.gov/zika/.

Hillary Clinton Pledges $2 Billion a Year Investment in Alzheimer’s Research to Make Cure Possible by 2025

Hillary Clinton with Chelsea Clinton and Melinda Gates. Senator Clinton is proposing to spend $2 billion a year on research into Alzheimer's which could potentially yield a cure by 2025. Two out of three Alzheimer's patients are women; 5 million are afflicted now and the number could swell to 15 million by 2050 © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Hillary Clinton with Chelsea Clinton and Melinda Gates. Senator Clinton is proposing to spend $2 billion a year on research into Alzheimer’s which could potentially yield a cure by 2025. Two out of three Alzheimer’s patients are women; 5 million are afflicted now and the number could swell to 15 million by 2050 © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

by Karen Rubin/News & Photo Features

With five million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s today, and nearly 15 million expected to be affected by 2050, Hillary Clinton is pledging a new, groundbreaking $2 billion annual commitment to prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025, if she is elected President.

Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and is the only cause in the Top 10 that we cannot currently prevent, cure, or even slow.

But scientists say that therapies that would prevent, cure or slow the progress are in reach, provided there is adequate, predictable funding for research. There is a “budget constraint, not a knowledge constraint” that is the main obstacle to success, scientists say.

While the incidence of major diseases is falling, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is rising. “Rates of incidence will only go up in future, as the population ages. But cure is at hand, just lacks funding. Impact of disease combined with the nearness of solution is what is causing Hillary Clinton to want to increase funding.”

The $2 billion a year that Secretary Clinton pledges to devote to research – almost quadrupling the $586 million that has been allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – is a figure that comes out of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease which she co-chaired while in the US Senate, and from other professional panels. And the cost is miniscule compared to how much is spent now: Alzheimer’s is one of the costliest diseases in America – exceeding $200 billion in annual costs to the economy from the disease and related dementia. Recent reports suggest that by 2050 the total cost may exceed $1 trillion per year.

Women and communities of color are disproportionately affected by for this terrible disease. Two out of every three Alzheimer’s patients are women, older African Americans are twice as likely than older white individuals to be afflicted and older Latinos are 1.5 times as likely.

In developing this plan, Hillary Clinton has consulted with leading physician-scientists to understand what it would take to rapidly accelerate progress currently being made in the field.

“We owe it to the millions of families who stay up at night worrying about their loved ones afflicted by this terrible disease and facing the hard reality of the long goodbye to make research investments that will prevent, effectively treat and make a cure possible by 2025,” Clinton said. “The best scientific minds tell us we have a real chance to make groundbreaking progress on curing this disease and relieving the pain so many families feel every day. My plan will set us on that course.”

Clinton’s plan will:

  • Dedicate a historic, decade-long investment of $2 billion per year to Alzheimer’s research and related disorders – a fourfold increase over last year’s $586 million. Leading researchers including the research advisory council to the congressionally-authorized National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, have set out this goal of $2 billion a year to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s and make a cure possible by 2025.
  • Ensure a reliable stream of funding for fighting Alzheimer’s between now and 2025. This plan ensures predictability of funding between now and 2025, so that researchers can work consistently towards developing effective treatments and a cure. This gives researchers greater freedom to pursue the big, creative bets – including cross-collaboration with researchers in related fields – that can result in dramatic pay-offs.
  • Appoint a top-flight team to oversee this initiative and consult regularly with top researchers to ensure progress towards achieving the treatment target. At each stage, this plan will embrace a range of approaches to drive new knowledge into effective treatments.

Clinton’s new research investment in preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s will yield results not just in the fight against this disease, but for a range of neurodegenerative illnesses, from Parkinson’s disease to Lewy body dementia to frontotemporal dementia. The plan will also help medical professionals understand the intersection of Alzheimer’s with other conditions, including the high rate of individuals with Down syndrome who experience early-onset Alzheimer’s.

This commitment to Alzheimer’s research is only part of Clinton’s overall commitment to a substantial increase in investment at the National Institutes of Health to prevent, treat, and secure cures for the broad array of diseases that afflict Americans.

In addition to investing in research, Clinton announced today new parts of her agenda to support caregivers, like those who give critical care and support to the millions of families struggling with Alzheimer’s. Her plan will fight for Medicare to cover a comprehensive, care-planning session with a clinician following every new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related diseases, work with Congress to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program and direct the Social Security Administration to raise awareness of the Medicare-covered annual wellness visits and their associated preventive and screening benefits, including the cognitive screening – which is especially critical for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other related dementia, by presenting this information alongside Social Security payments that beneficiaries will open and read.

“An Alzheimer’s Epidemic – and No Survivors”

The United States is facing an Alzheimer’s epidemic. And there are no survivors. and while the incidence of other diseases have gone down, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is rising.

But scientists are confident that therapies can be found – “we don’t have a knowledge problem. We have a budget problem.”

“The proposed boost in funding could not have come at a better time – last couple of years, revelations, discoveries in this field that have been unprecedented,” said Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tanzi is Director of the Genetics and Aging Research unit at Massachusetts General, the Chair of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium and was named one of Time Magazines’ 2015 “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

“From a scientific side, it is reasonable, rational that if we can throw enough money into it, we have a chance to dramatically reduce incidence, stave off disease for folks at highest risk,” he said during a conference call hosted by the Hillary for America campaign.

This disease was described 1906 by Dr. Alzheimer after studying the pathology in the brain of a 56-year old patient and found a mutation in the brain, the same mutation as Alice  portrayed in the movie, “Still Alice”.

He said that research into early onset Alzheimer’s has shown common conditions, but most importantly, that people can have the conditions for Alzheimer’s for 10, 15, and 20 years before the first symptoms emerge, but by then, it is too late to do anything about it.

Early research was done on mice brains and yielded incorrect results. The breakthrough came when researchers “grew” Alzheimer’s in a “minibrain” in a dish – a gel-like environment – “and lo and behold, after the amyloid formed, it created the tangles that kill nerve cells. This was the first proof of concept, that if we do the right experiment and use human nerve cells, not mice, the amyloid causes the tangles.”

He added, “We also learned that the third pillar of pathology of Alzheimer’s is inflammation, which is probably the most significant target in a patient who already has the disease, because the inflammation kills many of the nerve cells. Through the Alzheimer’s Genome Project we now know genes control inflammation – so the first drug target is to quell the inflammation in the brain.”

He pointed to research on “resilient brains where we see a person who dies in their 80s or 90s with no cognitive issues, but when we look at their brain, we see the tangles, but they don’t have the inflammation. So if can quell  inflammation, we can better help patients.”

This could be a path to at least slowing the progress of the disease and the severity.

“If we can stave off the conversion of simply having plaques in the brain of a 50-60 years old – a picture like in a colonscopy so the brain would be assessed – for amyloid load, how much plaques – we would know if 10, 15, 20 years away the patient is at high risk of dementia (cognitive problems),” said Dr. Tanzi. “The goal would be that could be given a drug, together with lifestyle, that patient never gets to the point of dementia. You might have  the precursors, but not the three -plaques, tangles, inflammation. If we can stave it off for 5 years, the savings to Medicare, Medicaid treatment, nursing home savings would be in the many, many billions of dollars. Once we have one or two of these drugs to slow down these pathologies.”

“I’m optimistic. The main bottleneck in the field is funding. We discovered the genes in the 1980s, 1990s. We discovered two dozen Alzheimer’s genes, but there has been very little work, including on genes that control the inflammation because there is no budget – the research is considered high risk because so far there has been little success. If we had more money, many more shots on goal, many more genes being studied – because most of what we know comes from studying genes,” he said, he is confident of success.

“We have budget constraint, not knowledge constraint. Hopefully with $2 billion a year, we finally can do the work we can do to stop the disease by 2025.”

The $2 billion a year that Clinton would allocate, compared to the $586 million that came from NIH last year, amounts to $20 billion commitment over 10 years.

“Our experts would validate that the predictability of funding is almost as important as the money itself,” said Robert Egge, the Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement. Mr. Egge previously served as Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Study Group – a blue ribbon task force of national leaders co-chaired by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey. “$2 billion is the amount we know will make a difference and is what was recommended … to help get us over the finish line. We know that, but we haven’t seen the will in Congress to match the recommendation.”

The $2 billion annual commitment is part of larger plan that Senator Clinton is unveiling today at an event in Fairfield, Iowa. Other elements would bolster Medicare so a physician could follow every diagnosis of Alzheimers, working with Congress on a patient alert program (which has lapsed) and a  tax credit proposal that would allow caregivers to take 20% up to $6000 in care-related costs a year.

The focus on Alzheimer’s is the first piece of a larger commitment to increase the research investment that Hillary Clinton would  seek. In addition to investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, she is proposing a plan to dedicate funds for research to help innovate and lead the world in next-generation cures of diseases that are ravaging Americans. This commitment for Alzheimer’s is just the first piece of that.

The campaign also noted that plan announced today “build on Hillary Clinton’s long and strong record of advocating for patients and families who bear the burden of Alzheimer’s disease. In the U.S. Senate, she consistently pushed for greater funding for Alzheimer’s research, including federally-funded stem cell research, and she co-chaired the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease. She also introduced legislation to restore funding for the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Contact Center and for Alzheimer’s disease demonstration grants. And she forged links across the aisle on the issue, appearing with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to promote a new study group on Alzheimer’s research. This record reflects her long-time understanding that this disease not only represents a physical, psychological, and financial burden to millions of Americans, but an overwhelming economic and budgetary threat to our country that we must address.”

A full fact sheet on the new plan is available here.

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© 2015 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com,  email krubin723@aol.com. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

 

OMB: Obama Would Veto Latest Effort to Dismantle Obamacare, McConnell’s ‘Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act’

 

They’re at it again! For like the 60th time, Republicans are pushing to dismantle Obamacare. 

The latest is the sickly named “Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015” sponsored by none other than that Darth Vader of anything that actually helps people, the Senate Leader himself, Sen. Mitch McConnell. 

The only thing standing in the way is President Obama’s veto, which the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) says he would. 

Here’s how the OMB explains the Administration’s position:

The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of the Senate amendment to H.R. 3762.  By repealing numerous, key elements of current law, this legislation would take away critical benefits and health care coverage from hard-working middle‑class families.  The bill also would remove policies that are expected to help slow the growth in health care costs and that have improved the quality of care patients receive.  The Senate amendment to H.R. 3762 detracts from the work the Congress could be doing to foster job creation and economic growth.

The Affordable Care Act is working and is fully integrated into an improved American health care system.  Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions is a thing of the past.  And under the law, health care prices have grown at the slowest rate in 50 years, benefiting all Americans.

Repealing key elements of the Affordable Care Act would result in millions of individuals remaining uninsured or losing the insurance they have today.  An estimated 17.6 million Americans gained coverage as several of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions have taken effect – 15.3 million since the beginning of the first open enrollment in October 2013.  The Senate amendment to H.R. 3762 would roll back coverage gains and would cost millions of hard-working middle-class families the security of affordable health coverage they deserve.

Repealing the health care law would have implications far beyond these Americans who have or will gain insurance.  More than 150 million Americans with employer-based insurance would be at risk of higher premiums and lower wages, or losing their coverage altogether.  It would raise taxes on certain middle‑class families.  The Senate amendment to H.R. 3762 also would defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund, limit women’s health care choices, and disproportionately impact low-income individuals.

This legislation is being considered by the Senate just days ahead of the December 15 deadline for Marketplace coverage that starts on January 1, 2016. Rather than refighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, Members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle‑class families, and create new jobs.

If the President were presented with H.R. 3762, as amended by the Senate amendment, he would veto the bill.