We've had several good news posts recently on ACA successes now that some of the law's parts are going into effect.
However, over at Physicians for a National Health Program I found this disturbing article :
Posted on: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
List of essential services under U.S. health reforms is ‘skimpy’ and dangerous, say doctors
By Jeanne Lenzer
BMJ, Dec. 5, 2011
In a story reminiscent of the recent allegations that contractors with conflicts of interests hired to issue reports on the Keystone XL pipeline for the State Department, PNHP docs and others attending a meeting off The Institute of Medicine found rules being formulated by folks with clear conflicts of interest.
I was not familiar with teh IFM. Wiki:
The Institute for Medicine:
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental American organization founded in 1970, under the congressional charter of the National Academy of Sciences.
Its purpose is to provide national advice on issues relating to biomedical science, medicine, and health, and its mission to serve as adviser to the nation to improve health. It works outside the framework of the U.S. federal government to provide independent guidance and analysis and relies on a volunteer workforce of scientists and other experts, operating under a rigorous, formal peer-review system. The Institute provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policy-makers, professionals, leaders in every sector of society, and the public at large.
Some PNHP docs and others attended a meeting of the IFM and private security prevented them from passing out leaflets to colleages attending the meeting.
WTF? Private security prevented doctors from passing out leaflets? Guess that's not too surprising given what we have been seeing happening to Occupiers...
Doctors Send Letter to Secretary Sebelius RE: Skimpy Care
Danny McCormick, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a former fellow of the institute, distributed leaflets at the meeting.He has signed a protest letter sent to the U.S. secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, along with more than 2,400 doctors, nurses, and health advocates, stating that the recommendations for “essential benefits” to be provided under the Affordable Care Act will provide “skimpy” care that would endanger the health of many citizens.
Although the report outlines 10 categories of benefits that insurers must cover, such as costs of hospitalization, preventive care, and ambulance transport, it does not prohibit insurers from shifting costs to patients through premiums, co-payments, deductibles, and cost sharing. In the event of a catastrophic illness or injury, patients could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Dr. McCormick said that a serious pitfall of the recommended essential benefits is that they would give patients the illusion that they have “real insurance.”He said, “Most patients, no matter how well informed, have no idea what their insurance policy covers. It’s only when some catastrophic event occurs that they find out that they are not fully covered.”
Regardless of where one stands on the ACA, we should all be able to come together and work for preventing the weakening of beneficial outcomes the bill might have, and prevent insurers from providing crap coverage.
Other groups are also pushing back on the proposed essential services, and have launched a campaign described in the following excerpt from their press release:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 -- AIDS Institute issued the following news release:
A group of patient advocates today launched the "I am Essential" campaign, dedicated to making the voice of the patient heard in the essential health benefits debate and ensuring that all Americans receive proper benefits and health coverage. On Wednesday, December 7 at 10:00AM, members of the campaign - including representatives from The AIDS Institute, the National Minority Quality Forum, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association - will make the case that an essential benefits package drawn too narrowly will risk not adequately covering patient needs, and that access to affordable, high quality care saves lives and lowers health care costs in the long run.
In conjunction with the launch, the campaign is joining with other patient advocacy groups to send a letter to HHS and members of Congress, urging the government to ensure the nation's Essential Health Benefits package provides for all American health care consumers, particularly those who have chronic health conditions.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established and took the first steps in defining a set of core health services, or "Essential Benefits," that all health insurance plans sold through state exchanges must cover. The ACA requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to define the parameters of Essential Benefits with respect to covered treatments, items and services and approximate the scope of benefits provided under the typical employer plan.
Have heard from other kossacks that Secretary Sebelius is a tough cookie, and not likely to let Big Insurance tactics slip by.
Contact info here: