Hospital patients waiting in an emergency room or convalescing after surgery are being confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside. This and other aggressive tactics by one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debts, Accretive Health, were revealed on Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general, raising concerns that such practices have become common at hospitals across the country. To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all. The attorney general, Lori Swanson, also said that Accretive employees may have broken the law by not clearly identifying themselves as debt collectors...
Tag Archives | Health Care
To some longtime observers of the Supreme Court, the surprising part of yesterday's oral argument wasn't that Justice Anthony Kennedy critically questioned the individual mandate; it was the harshly skeptical tone from Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia, one of the court's most outspoken characters, has long been an originalist villain to those on the left, but there was a distinct strain of thought, at least among some constitutional scholars, that he might be inclined to look favorably upon the Affordable Care Act. That idea rested primarily on his concurrence in Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 case out of California, in which the court found that the federal government's power to regulate interstate commerce extended to marijuana that was grown at home solely for personal consumption...
Today, the anti-Obamacare protest is happening in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is hearing arguments as to why the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) should be thrown out. Dave Lindorff writes on Counterpunch on why “Obamacare” should be repealed to instead force Americans to decide that Medicare should be available to everyone as it would reduce our costs substantially:
… Read the rest
The US Supreme Court has a chance to do the people of America a big favor, perhaps atoning at last for its shameful betrayal of the electoral system in 2000 when a conservative majority stole the Florida, and national election, for George W. Bush, and for the liberal-led and equally shameful betrayal of fundamental property rights in the Kelo v New London case that, in 2005, upheld the public theft of private homes in Connecticut on behalf of a government-backed resort development. The court can atone for these betrayals by declaring the ramshackle, corrupt, hugely expensive and cynically misnamed Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional.
At the national level, the Republicans seem to be going for broke by shifting even further rightward on social issues. The Obama for America tumblr imagines what your birth control coverage permission form would look like were legislation such as the recent Blunt-Rubio bill to pass:
A shocking statistic, made worse when you learn that 60% of the mentally ill did not receive any treatment. From MedPage Today:
… Read the rest
About 20% of American adults reported having had a mental illness during the preceding year, a government survey found.
The figure rose to almost 30% of those in the 18 to 25 age group, compared with 14.3% of patients 50 and older, according to researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
And of the nearly 46 million U.S. adults who reported having had a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder when surveyed in 2010, some 60% didn’t receive any treatment for the condition.
The most common reason for not getting mental healthcare was not being able to afford it.
The researchers noted that although the 20% figure is “relatively high,” just 5% reported having serious issues that interfered with their normal activities.
Although more of those with serious mental illness reported receiving treatment, a large proportion — 39% — didn’t receive any mental health services.
In an arresting moment at Monday’s Republican presidential debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul about the hypothetical case of an uninsured young man who needs medical care, and whether “society should just let him die.” The debate audience cheered in approval, and Paul more or less agreed.
Gawker writes that the question wasn’t so hypothetical. Kent Snyder is credited with convincing Paul to run for president, and served brilliantly as his campaign manager, raising an astonishing $19.5 million. In 2008, just two weeks after the campaign ended, Snyder died at age 49 from pneumonia. He did not receive insurance through Paul, and was unable to afford it on his own due to a preexisting medical condition. His death left his mother with $400,000 in medical bills. (She is now in debt.) Say what you will, but he exemplified the free-market libertarian principles that he worked for while healthy:
… Read the rest
After Snyder’s death, Paul posted a message to the website for his Campaign for Liberty — a pre-Tea Party organization which served Paul as both presidential marketing tool and platform to promote his non-interventionist, free market ideals.
Call for solidarity from the UK! Poverty pimps and well known corporate slime Atos Origin have taken their harassment of disabled people one step further by using flaky legal threats to censor and close down websites in the UK which have been critical of them. At least three websites have now been hit by legal threats attempting to censor online criticism of the company.
The Carer Watch forum, which is an online meeting place for hundreds of disabled people and carers has been taken offline by the hosting company after legal threats made by Atos Origin regarding unspecified comments made on the forum. Atos Origin’s involvement in the condemn Government’s notorious health and disability testing has made them a target of fury amongst many disabled people, which has led to a fierce campaigning against them both on and offline. Atos are fighting back with the CarerWatch forum being only the latest website hit by Atos legal threats.… Read the rest
Via Modern Mythology:
(Update: Since writing this entry, I recently discovered a Mother Jones article informing me that the Republican/Tea Party Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, founded a company called SOLANTIC that specializes in drug testing, among other “public services” … Could it be that this legislation stands to benefit the people who are passing it financially? Hrmm … Jigsaw falling into place.)
Recently, as many of you may have heard, Florida senators successfully passed a bill requiring welfare recipients to receive mandatory drug screenings. It is doubtful the legislation will stop there. In what seems to me to be an instance of VERY OBVIOUSLY blatant racial discrimination and discrimination of the haves towards the have-nots, they are now finding another way to invade all of our lives and rob us of more of our privacy. One gradual erosion of civil liberties at a time. The cruel and hilarious irony of the situation is that although at the moment these measures are now only being taken against those who have already slipped through the cracks, it is only a matter of time before all of our privacy and civil liberties will be up for grabs.… Read the rest
Note to Obama: Don’t take ideas from plutarchist Massachusetts governors (I do not expect him to take my advice…) Reuters reports:
… Read the rest
An appeals court ruled Friday that President Barack Obama’s healthcare law requiring Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty was unconstitutional, a blow to the White House.
The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also ruled that the rest of the wide-ranging law could remain in effect.
The legality of the so-called individual mandate, a cornerstone of the 2010 healthcare law, is widely expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The Obama administration has defended the provision as constitutional.
The case stems from a challenge by 26 U.S. states which had argued the individual mandate, set to go into effect in 2014, was unconstitutional because Congress could not force Americans to buy health insurance or face the prospect of a penalty.
It’s a good time to be a woman. Via Reuters:
U.S. health insurance companies must offer women free birth control and other preventive health care services under Obama administration rules released on Monday, a historic decision supported by family planning groups and opposed by conservative groups.
The rules from the Health and Human Services Department are part of the nation’s healthcare overhaul and largely follow recommendations from an advisory group released last month.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, commissioned by the Obama administration, recommended that all U.S.-approved birth control methods — including the “morning-after pill,” taken shortly after intercourse to stop a pregnancy — be added to the list of preventive health services.
[Continues at Reuters]