Tag Archives: law

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicaid expansion and costs

Medicaid is the largest health insurance program in the United States.  Presently, Medicaid provides health and long-term care coverage to 59 million individuals.

Under the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), Medicaid is set to expand its eligibility for coverage to include persons with income levels at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Best estimates place the increase in additional enrollees at 16 million to 18 million.

The purpose behind the expansion of Medicaid under the PPACA is to reduce the number of uninsured in the U.S., an estimated 46 million.  Using analyses provided during the debate leading up to passage of the PPACA, 32 million of the 46 million will gain access to insurance under the new law, half of which will do so via Medicaid.

Assuming a somewhat equal replacement trend (those that fall off Medicaid due to death or change in economic status are replaced by approximately the same number of new eligible enrollees) over the phase-in period set for Medicaid expansion (by 2014), Medicaid will ultimately cover nearly 70 million people.  Per the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of expansion between 2010 and 2019 to the federal government is $434 billion with an additional $20 billion allocable as states’ costs.

 

ViaHealth Reform and Medicaid Expansion

 

 

With an additional 16-18 million people on Medicaid, cost becomes a big issue. Estimates have the total cost of the whole bill (Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) at $828 billion. Take away from that $575 billion in savings from Medicare, and a bevy of new taxes.

Including higher taxes for those making more than $200K, taxes on luxury medical plans, on drugs, on high-cost medical equipment, on indoor tanning salons, and an annual fee to all insurance providers.

Added all together and the Congressional Budget Office estimates a reduction in the Federal Budget deficit, meaning that the PPACA and its increased Medicaid coverage pays for itself and saves money.

Of course, these are all estimates and subject to endless debate.

 

Source: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Amended (pdf)

Continue reading

Learn more about the Affordable Care Act – summary of Medicare reforms

A summary from the White House:

 

*Note: Medicare is for the elderly and Medicaid is for the poor. Most of the controversy and supreme court discussion is around Medicaid, not the below Medicare.

 

Strengthening Medicare

Nearly 50 million older Americans and Americans with disabilities rely on Medicare each year, and the new health care law makes Medicare stronger by adding new benefits, fighting fraud, and improving care for patients. The life of the Medicare Trust Fund will be extended to at least 2024 as a result of reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, and slowing cost growth in Medicare. And, over the next ten years, the law will save the average person in Medicare $4,200. People with Medicare who have the prescription drug costs that hit the so-called donut hole will save an average of over $16,000.

Lower Cost Prescription Drugs: In the past, as many as one in four seniors went without a prescription every year because they couldn’t afford it. To help these seniors, the law provides relief for people in the donut hole – the ones with the highest prescription drug costs. As a first step, in 2010, nearly four million people in the donut hole received a $250 check to help with their costs. In 2011, 3.6 million people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount worth a total of $2.1 billion, or an average of $604 per person, on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. Seniors will see additional savings on covered brand-name and generic drugs while in the coverage gap until the gap is closed in 2020.

Free Preventive Services: Under the new law, seniors can receive recommended preventive services such as flu shots, diabetes screenings, as well as a new Annual Wellness Visit, free of charge. So far, more than 32.5 million seniors have already received one or more free preventive services, including the new Annual Wellness Visit.

Fighting Fraud: The health care law helps stop fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. Thanks in part to these efforts, we recovered $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in 2011, the second year recoveries hit this record-breaking level. Total recoveries over the last three years were $10.7 billion. Prosecutions are way up, too: the number of individuals charged with fraud increased from 821 in fiscal year 2008 to 1,430 in fiscal year 2011 – nearly a 75 percent increase.

Improving Care Coordination and Quality: Through the newly established Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, this Administration is testing and supporting innovative new health care models that can reduce costs and strengthen the quality of health care. So far, it has introduced 16 initiatives involving over 50,000 health care providers that will touch the lives of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in all 50 states.

Providing Choices while Lowering Costs: The number of seniors who joined Medicare Advantage plans increased by 17 percent between 2010 and 2012 while the premiums for such plans dropped by 16 percent – and seniors across the nation have a choice of health plans.

 

More from this series:

Egypt’s president to choose woman, Christian VPs

Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, will appoint a woman as one of his vice presidents and a Christian as another, his policy adviser told CNN.

“For the first time in Egyptian history — not just modern but in all Egyptian history — a woman will take that position,” Ahmed Deif told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday. “And it’s not just a vice president who will represent a certain agenda and sect, but a vice president who is powerful and empowered and will be taking care of critical advising within the presidential Cabinet.”

“The role of women in Egyptian society is clear,” Morsi told CNN weeks before the runoff election. “Women’s rights are equal to men. Women have complete rights, just like men. There shouldn’t be any kind of distinction between Egyptians except that … based on the constitution and the law.”

 

More on this storyEgypt’s new president to pick woman, Christian VPs

Continue reading

144 places to educate yourself online for free

The most extensive listing of free online education I have ever seen. Bookmarking for later.

12 dozen places to education yourself online for free

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.

  • Science/Health
  • Business/Money
  • History/World Culture
  • Law
  • Computer Science/Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • English/Communications
  • Foreign/Sign Languages
  • Multiple Subjects/Miscellaneous
  • Free Books/Reading Recommendations
  • Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
  • Online Archives
  • Directories of Open Education

Click to start browsing

 

// Photo – Ed Yourdon

Facts and statistics on the coming plastic bag ban in California

Plastic bags contribute to the pollution of California’s ocean and beaches.

  • Californians use approximately 16 billion plastic bags per year – more than 400 annually per person.
  • Less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled. Instead, they end up sitting in landfills, littering streets, clogging streams, fouling beaches, or floating out to sea.
  • Plastic trash threatens ocean ecosystems.
  • The city of San Francisco estimated that the taxpayer cost to subsidize the recycling, collection, and disposal of plastic and paper bags amounts to as much as 17 cents per bag. Applied to California as a whole, that adds up to more than $1 billion per year.

 

More than 80 national and local governments around the world have taken action to protect the ocean by reducing the use of plastic bags.

  • At least 20 nations and 47 local governments have passed bans on distributing specific kinds of throw-away plastic bags, including the nations of Italy, Kenya, Mongolia, Macedonia, and Bangladesh; the states of Maharashtra, India and Buenos Aires, Argentina; and the cities of Karachi, Pakistan and Telluride, Colorado.
  • Approximately 26 nations and local communities have established fee programs to reduce plastic bag use and/or increase the use of reusable alternatives, including Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Wales, Ireland, Israel, Canada’s Northwest Territories, Toronto, Mexico City, and Washington, D.C.

 

Bans and meaningful fee programs effectively reduce plastic bag pollution.

  • Bans and fee programs quickly reduce plastic bag distribution.
    • Fee – In 2002, Ireland established a 28 U.S. cents per bag fee, and saw plastic bag use drop by 90 percent within the first year.
    • Fee – Washington, D.C., implemented a much smaller 5 cent tax on plastic bags, the number of bags distributed by food retailers fell from 22.5 million per month to 3.3 million per month.
    • Ban – San Francisco, the year after banning plastic bags at pharmacies and supermarkets in 2007, businesses distributed 127 million fewer plastic bags, and cut overall bag waste reaching the city landfill by up to 10 percent.

 

Fourteen city and county governments in California have taken successful action to reduce plastic bag pollution.

  • Fourteen California cities and counties have bans on plastic bags in effect, including Long Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, San Francisco, and Pasadena.
  • Five of these communities, including Marin County and San Jose, have also authorized mandatory charges on paper bags to encourage citizens to use reusable bags.

 

Much more progress can be made to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and transform our throw-away culture.

  • Education and recycling cannot keep pace with the generation of plastic bag pollution. Despite a 2006 law requiring retailers to place bag recycling bins in front of their stores, less than 5 percent of bags are recycled.
  • To make a real impact, all California cities and counties should restrict the use of plastic bags, and advocate for similar action at the state level.

 

From the Frontier Group.

California wants 15% of all cars to be electric by 2025

Less than a year after everyone seemed to agree that 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025 was a properly attainable goal, the California Air Resources Board has decided to change things up a bit.

In addition to CAFE requirements of a 54.5-mpg fleet average, at least 15.4 percent of all cars sold by any major automaker doing business in California will have to be either fully electric, a plug-in hybrid or be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell by 2025.

According to Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, 15.4 percent is “actually a relatively modest goal, but that’s all that we’re mandating.”

Most automakers are on board, says Nichols. “Probably the most heartening aspect of this whole rulemaking was the level of cooperation that we received from the industry… Overall, the degree of support for the package was just extraordinary.”

At least 10 more states are likely to follow California’s lead, reports Automotive News.

via Patrick Roanhouse

Happy New Year – 760 new laws for California – gays in textbooks, fruity drinks, and maternity leave

I must be a wonk because I find all these new laws fascinating. From a bill that allows infused drinks to another that requires schools to include the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in history lessons.

For the record, an infused drink is not a Mojito where mint is added when the drink is made. Instead the fruit is added to the alcohol and then sits on the shelf, infusing, and served at some later point.

There are also laws that ban selling puppies on the street and another allowing near unlimited clean needles for drug users. Beer with caffeine is banned and so is using a credit check during the hiring process. There is also a new permit that allows wine to be sold online and some extra money for investigating a San Diego to Los Angeles high-speed rail.

It feels like all the budget cuts from Governor Brown are rearranging everything, hopefully saving some money and maybe, just maybe improving our lives.

Here are a few more and a link at bottom for the full list.

Saving parks: allows nonprofits to take over the operation of state parks that otherwise would be closed because of budget problems.

Recycling: establishes as state policy that 75% of solid waste should be diverted from landfills to recycling and other processes by 2020.

Presidential primary: moves the state’s presidential primary election from February to June and consolidates it with the statewide primary election to save $100 million.

Iran: mandates that the state’s pension boards divest their funds from companies that are part of the defense or nuclear industries in Iran.

Autism: requires health insurers to include coverage for autism.

Foster care: allows foster care for eligible youths to extend beyond age 18, up to age 21, when the Legislature provides the money. Another measure requires California State University campuses and community colleges to give foster youths priority to enroll in classes.

Maternity leave: requires employers to maintain and pay for health coverage while women are on maternity leave.

Marijuana: gives cities and counties clearer authority to regulate the location and operation of medical marijuana dispensaries. Another law creates new penalties for the possession of synthetic cannabis products, which have been sold in convenience stores and tobacco shops.

Lying politicians: forces elected officials to forfeit office if convicted of falsely claiming they have been awarded military decorations.

Dream Act: The portion of the California Dream Act taking effect this year makes illegal immigrants accepted at California public universities and community colleges eligible for privately funded scholarships administered by the schools.

view the full list at LA Times