Health Reform Hits the Campaign Trail
Tuesday, November 2 marks the first election since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Washington, DC, has been relatively quiet as candidates returned home to hit the campaign trail. While many issues are being brought up around the country, health reform remains center stage. Here is what some politicians said this week:
"Insurance companies want the ball back," Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), who is running for Senate, said in an MSNBC interview. "I'm not willing to give it back to them. I think it's important that we no longer walk around with noodle backs when it comes down to standing up on behalf of healthcare."
"I want to reform it and fix it and make sure that it works for small businesses and their families," said Alexi Giannoulias on Meet the Press. Giannoulias is a Democrat seeking President Barack Obama's old Senate seat.
"I supported the passage of the bill, but I think we need to recognize that this was really health insurance reform and not healthcare reform," Oregon's Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber told CNN on Tuesday.
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Sebelius Tackles Pre-existing Conditions
On Wednesday, October 13, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners concerning discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions. The elimination of this type of discrimination was an early provision in the Patient Protection and Affordability Act. Sebelius' concern is that many insurance companies "reneged on a previous commitment to make pre-existing condition exclusions a thing of the past." A number of states, including Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont, already have laws in place to prevent discrimination against children and others with pre-existing conditions.
Find out more.
CDC's Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer
On Friday, October 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the nomination of 15 individuals to serve on a federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer. This advisory board was established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These invitees, who represent researchers, clinicians, advocates, and breast cancer survivors from across the country, will assist CDC in developing evidence-based approaches to advance understanding and awareness of breast cancer among young women.
Read the full CDC news release and check out invitee bios.
Health Research Technologies
On Thursday, October 21 the National Institute of Health (NIH), through the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), awarded $300 million that will enable more health scientists to have access to state-of-the-art research devices and promote breakthrough discoveries in preventions, treatments, and cures for diseases. In total, NCRR awarded more than 450 Recovery Act instrumentation grants to groups of NIH-funded scientists in 42 states and the District of Columbia. Grants ranged from $100,000 to $8 million, which will enable purchase of technology that is vital to promising research projects.
Read NIH News Release
Find more information on NCRR's Recovery Act instrumentation grants.
Health Reform Challenge Proceeds
On Thursday, October 14, Judge Roger Vinson ruled that a Florida challenge to the Patient Affordability and Protection Act could move forward on the condition that the individual mandate is determined to be constitutional. The individual mandate requires all Americans to obtain health insurance, with some exceptions. The 20 state officials who filed the suits claimed "that requiring people to carry insurance or pay a fine exceeds Congress's powers under the Constitution to regulate economic activity."
The lawsuit is one of more than 15 filed across the country challenging the new law. Other federal judges have already thrown out such suit against the individual mandate. The Florida case now proceeds to a full hearing on the constitutional issues on December 16, 2010.
Read the court order.