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Changes and Rescission of “Conscience Clause”

February 21, 2011 in Doctors, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists

Changes and Rescission of “Conscience Clause”

By Ashley Ahle
February 21, 2011

In 2008, former President Bush put into act during his final days the 2008 Final Rule. This law aimed to further protect health-care employees, including Doctors, who chose not to perform certain medical procedures or assist with them due to religious or moral convictions. In January of 2009, President Obama sought to rescind this rule and further clarify the need to protect workers in these situations. What some opponents don’t realize is that for the past 30 or so years, the “Conscience Clause” has already been in effect.

Bush’s final rule, however, was never permanently enacted because it used “too broad of language” for the workers in the health care industry. Here is a little background into why this is a current issue with health care reform.

The “Conscience Clause,” originally known as the “Church Amendments,” were enacted in the 1970’s to clarify that federally funded health care facilities wouldn’t require their employees to perform medical procedures, like abortion or sterilization, if it went against their moral or religious beliefs. It also protected those people from being fired or wrongfully terminated because of those actions. On the very basic level this was essential in retaining the credibility of the Medical Field.

This original law went to include, beyond abortions and sterilizations, biomedical research, behavioral study programs and health study programs. Essentially, any person or entity receiving federal funding (grants, loans etc.) had the ability to opt out of providing certain medical services without recourse, if it went against their beleifs.

Under the new Affordable Care Act, no health plan offered in the health exchanges is allowed to discriminate against any provider or facility because of their unwillingness to provide, pay for, cover or refer for abortions. Obama moved to rescind part or all of the 2008 Final Rule because it’s power was thought to be too broad and unclearly written.

In order for protection of these individual’s beliefs, and for the 2008 Final Rule to work, there had to be some form of enforcement in place. These regulations included clear education of the “Conscience Clauses” to the public, working with state and local governments receiving federal funding to make sure they comply, and if compliance is deemed unsuccessful, non-discriminatory laws would be enforced by Department mechanisms to ensure Federal money is not going to supporting discrimination.

Obama’s original proposal to rescind or replace the ’08 Rule received over 300,000 public comments both for and against the changes. Many comments supporting Obama stated that the main fear with Bush’s rule is that patients would lose their right to receive services and that this blanket law would allow Doctors to easily refuse any kind of care.

Rescinding this rule allows patients the right to make unbiased informed decisions about their choices of treatment. If the ’08 rule stays the way it is, one runs the risk of letting informed decision making fall by the way side.

Everyone deserves the right to their beliefs and it goes both ways. Homosexual couples should be allowed to receive fertility treatments, and women who need life saving abortions should be able to receive them. Doctors and health care providers deserve their right to deny treatment, but they shouldn’t walk away form these patients either. Their duty as a Doctor, and one of their first oaths upon entering into their chosen field, is to ‘Do No Harm.’ Do No Harm. That’s what we all strive for.

Health Insurance Exchanges, Part 2

February 9, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, College Students, Dependants, Doctors, Employer Sponsored Plans, Grandfathered Health Plans, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists

Health Insurance Exchanges, Part 2

By Ashley Ahle
February 9, 2011

Last week we left off talking about some of the costs related to insurance exchanges. What will directly cause insurance premiums to rise and how will exchanges help manage and keep them down?

Government money will be provided to help get the exchanges running, but what about after that? Well, subsidies will also be in place to help lower income families and individuals acquire coverage and pay for premiums.

The main reason people believe premiums will drop in price after the exchanges are in place, is because companies will be forced to have really competitive prices. These exchanges will need to be in the interest of the buyers, forcing the insurance companies to be very transparent about any rise in costs.

Insurance companies will still be setting their own prices, but within each state they can be rejected. Though the states can not set the premiums, they can however, reject certain plans if they think there is not enough justification for their cost.

Small businesses are concerned that exchanges will only complicate the process of insuring their employees because they would have to diversify their actual premium payments, rather than just writing one check. Though there will be significant tax deductions available for small businesses who opt into the exchange, the fear is that those deductions will not offset the cost of insures needing to meet certain plan standards.

For the small business owners, it may be difficult to make the change, however these exchanges would help make available millions of dollars for low-income and uninsured or un-insurable people. Not only will this help the US citizens, but the money will also help health insurers, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and physicians by reducing the amount of money each state spends on uncompensated care.

Rising Healthcare Costs, and the Introduction of Accountable Care Organizations

January 27, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Doctors, Employer Sponsored Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists

Rising Healthcare costs, and the Introduction of Accountable Care Organizations

By Ashley Ahle
January 27, 2011

While most of the buzz around Health Care Reform seems to be about keeping costs down by holding insurance companies accountable for rising premiums, there is one area that, more often than not, is overlooked by many. Who is holding Doctors and Hospitals accountable for their rising costs?

One part of the Health Care law that is not too often talked about, is the inclusion of Accountable Care Organizations. In the law, ACO’s take up only seven pages. What are ACO’s you may ask? It’s basically a new model of incentives for hospitals and doctors who provide quality care while also keeping costs down.

When basic procedures are done, instead of the doctor recommending many more unexplained tests and visits they merely do it right the first time therefore cutting costs. If they succeed in treating patients while cutting costs, there are incentives, such as savings bonuses available. Other benefits of ACO’s are the melding of all parts of care for patients. Currently one patient can have many specialists providing treatment, without working with each-other. ACO’s would bring all of these components together so that patients have easy access to quality care.

Now, this may sound similar to HMO’s, however with ACO’s the patient may not even know they are in an ACO. Also, the patient still has the freedom to choose who treats them. Conversely, with HMO’s patients are penalized for going out of network.

Accountable Care Organizations come with their own downfalls. Many people worry that the rush to be a part of and ACO will have a huge effect on market share, and give the hospitals too much leverage, therefore back lashing and actually driving health costs up. Also in more rural areas the fear is that independent providers will disappear completely, stifling all competition.

Like it’s all encompassing partner, Health Reform, Accountable Care Organizations still need to be tweaked. They have yet to decide who will run them, insurance companies, hospitals or doctors. There is growing enthusiasm for ACO’s and once the finer points are ironed out, we could potentially see great savings.

Why Health Reform Won’t be Repealed

January 20, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, College Students, Dependants, Doctors, Employer Sponsored Plans, Grandfathered Health Plans, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists

Why Health Reform Won’t be Repealed

By Aaron Carroll, Special to CNN
January 19, 2011 1:05 p.m. EST

Editor’s note: Dr. Aaron E. Carroll is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the university’s Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research. He blogs about health policy at The Incidental Economist.

(CNN) — This week, the House of Representatives plans to vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It will succeed….”

Another Lawsuit Against ObamaCare Survives a Preliminary Challenge

January 20, 2011 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, Doctors, eHealthInsurance.com, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Care Reform, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Health Insurance Reform, Individual Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Permanent Life Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists, Term Life Insurance, Uncategorized, Whole Life Insurance

Another Lawsuit Against ObamaCare Survives a Preliminary Challenge
October 14, 2010 6:32 pm

The rulings keep rolling in on the constitutionality of the federal reform law. On Thursday, a federal judge in Florida refused to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a group of state attorneys general( led by Florida’s Bill McCollum), although he threw out several of the suit’s lesser claims. (Here’s the ruling, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.) That’s the second such decision; a federal judge in Virginia held in August that the Commonwealth’s attorney general could proceed with a similar lawsuit. On the flip side, a federal judge in Michigan ruled earlier this month against a lawsuit that had been brought by the Thomas More Law Center, declaring that the law’s requirement to buy was constitutional….

— Jon Healey

Health Reform News & Updates – Health Insurance Quotes & Affordable Health Insurance Plans – Compare Health Insurance Rates

June 9, 2010 in Affordable Health Insurance, Child(ren) Only Health Plans, Doctors, eHealthInsurance.com, Group Health Plans, Health Care, Health Care Costs, Health Insurance Agent, Health Insurance Exchange, Health Insurance Quotes, Individual Health Insurance, Life Insurance, Permanent Life Insurance, Primary Care Physician, Specialists, Term Life Insurance, Whole Life Insurance

Health Reform News & Updates – Health Insurance Quotes & Affordable Health Insurance Plans – Compare Health Insurance Rates.

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