The American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the Catholic Health Association agreed with the Obama administration on July 6 to accept $155 billion less in reimbursement from the federal government over the next 10 years. According to the Washington Post for July 7, a hospital negotiator said, “This is our attempt to act in good faith.”
General Electric is entering into a venture with Geron Corp to commercially develop products from human embryonic stem cells, including developing sample human cells that drug companies can use to test the toxicity of new drugs. The use of embryonic stem cells to develop other types of human cells entails the destruction of human life.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on July 1 released preliminary data for insurance coverage in America during 2008. According to the data, the percentage of Americans with private health coverage has fallen to its lowest level in 50 years. The percentage of Americans with private insurance in 2008 was 65.4 percent, a drop from 66.8 percent in 2007.
President Barack Obama on July 1 continued to push his healthcare reform plans at a town hall meeting at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia. The meeting included online participants who asked questions via YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. A transcript has been posted at the White House website, and a video is available on YouTube.
On June 24, ABC TV gave President Barack Obama interview time with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, a prime-time special with both Sawyer and Charles Gibson at the White House called Questions for the President: Prescription for America, and the whole Nightline program after the local news.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is at the center of a growing controversy over the improper treatment of veterans at VA hospitals. On June 16, CNN noted that a report released in June by the VA’s Office of Inspector General showed only “about 42.5 percent of 42 VA facilities inspected without warning in May had standard operating procedures in place for the equipment being used and could demonstrate that their staffs had been trained to use the devices.” In other words, more than half of the institutions (57.5 percent) had improper procedures or training.
President Barack Obama signed legislation on June 22 granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration broad powers to regulate many aspects of tobacco product manufacturing, marketing, and sales. Known as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the bill allows the FDA to ban candy- and fruit-flavored tobacco products and to prohibit companies from labeling their products “light,” “mild,” or “low tar.” The act requires larger warning labels on tobacco product packaging, restricts the advertisement of tobacco products, and forces companies to lower the levels of nicotine in cigarettes.
If ever there was a textbook example of why a free people should think twice before tasking government with a job (much less dedicate an entire agency to it), the Food and Drug Administration’s latest goofball maneuver to classify the breakfast cereal “Cheerios” as a drug is it!
Details of the various proposals for healthcare reform are beginning to emerge. House Democrats and Republicans are each formulating their own plans, while two Senate committees are taking different approaches. The Bipartisan Policy Center, a group composed of former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, and Bob Dole, has proposed a plan meant to gain support from both political parties. Yet another perspective is being offered by Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), a doctor whose lifelong practice of medicine gives him unique insight.
President Obama devoted his June 13 weekly address to outlining cost savings to offset the massive price tag for his proposed healthcare reform. Supposedly an additional $313 billion can be saved during the next 10 years through "common-sense changes" to Medicare and Medicaid that will "rein in unnecessary spending, and increase efficiency and the quality of care."
As part of his efforts to promote healthcare reform, President Barack Obama attended a town hall meeting at Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on June 11. The president was introduced by Laura Klitzka, a 35-year-old mother of two who is battling breast cancer. Klitzka spoke about the thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills her family has incurred and how devastating this has been. President Obama thanked her for sharing her story and noted that she is not unique; millions of Americans worry not just about their health, “but whether they can afford to get well.”