Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miscounting with Obamacare

The Obama administration’s overcounting of the number of people enrolled in Affordable Care Act health plans reveals how all the glitches in the government’s computer system have yet to be worked out.

Instead of the 7.3 million people that the government reported were enrolled in health insurance plans in September, congressional investigators discovered that the number was 6.97 million. A more recent estimate of 7.1 million should have been 6.7 million, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services, acknowledged Thursday.

The story behind the misstatements highlights the significance of continuing problems with invisible parts of the health law’s enrollment system, and the challenges the administration is likely to face in reporting enrollment numbers in the months ahead.

The inaccuracy, first reported Thursday by Bloomberg News, resulted when administration officials included enrollment in stand-alone dental plans in its count of people covered by the law. According to the department, 393,000 people had signed up for both types of plans, and thus were double-counted. 

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brooklyn Hospital Is Told to Keep Girl, 2, on Life Support Amid Organ Donation Fight

A judge on Monday ordered a Brooklyn hospital to keep a 2-year-old girl on life support for at least another day, as her parents argue over whether her organs should be donated.

Yet whether the child's organs will ultimately go to other children, as her mother wants, or be buried with her, as her father wants, poses a classic ethical issue: how to resolve conflict among the people who loved her and knew her best.

For now, everything is in a holding pattern. The hospital issued a brief statement on Monday, indicating it was providing “medical care, support and comfort to the family at this time of tremendous grief.”

Dr. Mayer, the critical-care expert, said that typically, in cases of conflict, doctors and ethicists tried to get everyone in a room talking. But he said that approach could be difficult in this case. “When it comes to donating organs, you need consensus,” Dr. Mayer said.

When the family does not reach consensus, he said, the organ donation does not go forward. “It’s not worth the amount of pain and agony and suffering that everyone will go through,” he said.

Read about this in the New Yok Times at http://ntti.ms/11ebPqX in a story wriiten on November 17

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Think Twice Before Choosing Knee Replacement

There’s no doubt that knee replacements are increasingly popular. More than 600,000 such surgeries were performed in 2012, compared with about 250,000 just 15 years ago. But some new studies suggest that people may be electing to have the procedure prematurely and, perhaps worse, gaining limited benefit from it. According to figures from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the number of knee replacements in people between 45 and 64 soared by 205 percent between 2000 and 2012; among people 65 and older, the increase was only 95 percent.

The message is not that people should wait until their knees break down completely before replacing them. But they should question the need for surgery. “Ask your doctor how advanced your arthritis really is,” Dr. Riddle advises. If you do not have bone-on-bone arthritis, in which all of the cushioning cartilage in the knee is gone, think about consulting a physical therapist about exercise programs that could strengthen the joint, reducing pain and disability, Riddle says. Losing weight helps, too.

Read about this in the New York Times at http://nyti.ms/1v9ziW in a story written by Gretchen Reynolds.

William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Medicare Defers Request To Pay Doctors For End-Of-Life Counseling

Medicare has signaled a willingness to consider paying doctors who counsel patients on end-of-life decisions, though it's putting the issue on hold for now. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rejected a request from the American Medical Association to adopt new billing codes for such advance care planning in a 2015 physician payment rule the agency released last week. Counseling people about what choices they would face for care when terminally ill was portrayed as a government effort to establish “death panels” during the bitter debate over the health care overhaul. (Young, 11/4

The American health care system is poorly equipped to care sensitively for patients at the end of life, a recent report from the Institute of Medicine found. But it is possible, through careful planning, for individuals to choose the kind of death they want. Consumer Reports has released a guide to end-of-life planning for families. The report offers tips for caregivers and individuals and profiles one man’s “beautiful death” at home. KHN staff reporter Jenny Gold interviewed author Nancy Metcalf about the report. (Gold, 11/14)

Read about this at http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/ in an article written by Jenny Gold at Kaiser Health News


William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

 


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WHY SCRATCHING AN ITCH MAKES IT WORSE

Researchers have figured out what’s behind a vicious cycle: why scratching an itch makes you itch even more.

A new study with mice finds that scratching causes the brain to release serotonin, which intensifies the itch sensation. The same is believed to occur in people.

Scientists have known for decades that scratching creates a mild amount of pain in the skin, says senior investigator Zhou-Feng Chen, professor of anesthesiology, of psychiatry, and of developmental biology and director of the Center for the Study of Itch at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We always have wondered why this vicious itch-pain cycle occurs,” Chen says. “Our findings suggest that the events happen in this order. First, you scratch, and that causes a sensation of pain. Then you make more serotonin to control the pain. But serotonin does more than only inhibit pain. Our new finding shows that it also makes itch worse by activating GRPR neurons through 5HT1A receptors.”

Read more about this research in Washington University in St. Loius written by Jim Dryden.

 William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com 

Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.

Employer Health Care Plans will need to provide hospital coverage

Closing what many see as a loophole that could trap millions of people in sub-standard insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday that large-employer medical plans lacking hospital coverage will not qualify under the Affordable Care Act’s toughest standard. It also offered relief to workers who may be enrolled in those plans next year.

The administration will rule that plans without “substantial coverage for in-patient hospitalization services” do not meet the law’s “minimum value” threshold, the Treasury Department said in a notice Tuesday morning. It will issue final regulations saying so next year, it said.

“It’s good news for employees,” said Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. “They shouldn’t be stuck with subpar coverage.”

Read about this at http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/ in an article written by Jay Hancock at Kaiser Health News



William Wombacher, your Central Illinois Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and Social Security Disability Specialist. I'll help you!   http://www.wombacherlaw.com
 
Serving Peoria, East Peoria, Peoria Heights, Pekin, Dunlap, Chillicothe, Morton, Washington, Metamora, Canton, Galesburg, Lacon, Henry, Bloomington, Normal and surrounding cites and counties of Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton and  Knox Counties in Central Illinois.