Daily Health Care News – 3/29/10

NEWS

Coverage Now for Sick Children? Check Fine Print New York Times

Just days after President Obama signed the new health care law, insurance companies are already arguing that, at least for now, they do not have to provide one of the benefits that the president calls a centerpiece of the law: coverage for certain children with pre-existing conditions.

Health-care overhaul leaves Democrats in stable condition Washington Post

After steering the landmark health-care reform bill through Congress, the Democratic Party’s leaders have emerged mostly unscathed, according to a new Washington Post poll, but they have not received a notable boost in approval ratings.

Closing Medicare Drug Gap Helps Democrats Sell Reform Kaiser Health News

Now that the health overhaul has passed Congress, Democratic lawmakers are hoping to highlight its most immediate benefits. Chief among them: a plan to help millions of elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries pay for their medications by gradually eliminating a drug-coverage gap commonly known as the “doughnut hole.”

Health care law becomes personal for Dallas-area familiesDallas Morning News

Even among families that stand to benefit from last week’s passage of the health care law, opinions are split.

Like many Democrats, some Dallas-area families see the overhaul as a historic achievement that will lead to better health care for millions of Americans.

GOP views Supreme Court as last line of defense on health reform The Hill

Republicans view Chief Justice John Roberts and the Supreme Court as a last line of defense against the new healthcare reform law.

OPINION

Cows on the TrackGerald McEntee

Michael Steele, the hapless chairman of the Republican National Committee, was asked a while back by Fox News how he would stop health care reform. "I will be the cow on the track," he answered. Steele believed that President Obama’s historic effort to end the ongoing abuses of the insurance industry could be stopped even after it had passed both the House and the Senate. As a video posted on the DailyKos website makes clear, cows can’t stop trains. Yet this hasn’t stopped Republican officials all across the country from stepping up to be cows on the track now that health care reform has been signed into law.

The Legal Assault on Health Reforms New York Times

No sooner had President Obama signed comprehensive health care reform than the attorneys general of 14 states scurried to the federal courts to challenge the law. Their claims range from far-fetched to arguable and look mostly like political posturing for the fall elections or a “Hail Mary” pass by disgruntled conservatives who cannot accept what Congress and the president have done.

Now What?Atul Gawande

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law. In public memory, what ensued was the smooth establishment of a popular program, but in fact Medicare faced a year of nearly crippling rearguard attacks. The American Medical Association had waged war to try to stop the program, and doctors weren’t about to abandon the fight against “socialized medicine” simply because it had passed into law. The Ohio Medical Association, with ten thousand physician members, declared that it would boycott Medicare, and a nationwide movement began. Race proved an even more explosive issue. Many hospitals, especially in the South, were segregated, and the law required them to integrate in order to receive Medicare dollars. Alabama’s Governor George Wallace was among those who encouraged resistance; just two months before coverage was to begin, half the hospitals in a dozen Southern states had still refused to meet Medicare certification.

A Rumor That Won’t Die Jon Cohn

Just now on CNN, the hosts will reading recent viewer e-mails about health care reform. Among them was an e-mail attacking the new law. If health care reform is so good, the writer wanted to know, why are politicians exempting themselves from it?

I’ve heard critics of the bill, from Republican senators to random internet writers, say this many times. And it’s frustrating, because it’s not true.

Are Democrats Better Off for Having Passed Health Care? Yes — and No.FiveThirtyEight

More polling data is starting to pour in on health care reform and it generally contains decent, but not great, numbers for Democrats. Most of the polls show a bump of some kind in approval for health care reform — but it’s not as large as that implied by the USA Today/Gallup one-day poll that was released on Tuesday. If we take an average of the four polls that have been conducted entirely after the health care bill passed the House, rather (those from Gallup, Rasmussen, Quinnipiac and CBS), they average out to 43 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. Those are numbers that I think Democrats would gladly take relative to where health care has been in the past, but it’s not exactly as though the bill has become wildly popular — nor is it likely to do so in advance of the midterms.

(compiled for Health Care for America Now)